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Educating Clients On The Arthritic Horse

New owners may not be aware of what can be done for a stiff and sore animal

Novice horse owners may not realize that older horses — and even some horses in their prime — often develop arthritis, or joint inflammation. Painful, stiff joints can be managed to keep most of these horses comfortable enough to continue performing.

While the farrier often can help with proper shoeing, there are tasks an owner can complete to care and manage the horse.

Foot-Handling Challenges

Uniondale, Ind., farrier Troy Price has several clients with arthritic horses, but they aren’t always older horses.

“Some are middle age and still very active, but they’ve had a lot of wear and tear on joints in a strenuous career,” says the owner of the Troy Price Horseshoeing School. “These horses can be difficult to shoe because leg joints are stiff and it’s painful for them to be flexed and held in shoeing positions.”

To make it easier on the horse, Price often has a special request for owners.

“If I’m coming in the morning to shoe their horses, owners often get them in the night before,” he says. “When an arthritic horse is in a stall all night, it will be more stiff and sore after confinement and inactivity. I tell these clients that if they can get the horse out and exercising a little bit before I get there — longe it around or let it out in the arena awhile — this can limber it up before I shoe it. This makes a big difference.”

Farrier Takeaways

Encourage clients to “warm up”…

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Heather Smith Thomas

Heather Smith Thomas is a freelance writer based in Salmon, Idaho. She has been writing books and articles for nearly 50 years.

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