I was making a mad dash through my email inbox this morning and stumbled upon an article that was really shocking to me! The study was found that horse owners are bad at detecting lameness in their own horses. Talk about shocking! We should know our own horses better than scientists, right?
60 horses (which is a small sample size, so take this with a grain of salt) were in the study with 73% of the horses exhibiting some form of lameness. Amateur riders were not able to diagnose 8 out of 10 times and professional riders were not able to diagnose 7 out of 10 times. Aside from us doing a poor job at recognizing soreness, I found it interesting that the horses with a higher score of lameness did not perform as well during competition. While this sounds like a no-brainer, surely we should be able to make the connection that a sore horse leads to a worse score? There’s lots to think about with this study. Here’s a link to it if you want to read more!
But, this doesn’t really surprise me. Think about it! So many of our horses move in what we often determine are “idiosyncrasies” when we’re riding, but in reality, it’s some sort of tension. These lamenesses can often be corrected with a holistic health approach. Not only would I strongly recommend seeking veterinary advice, but exploring options to supplement your vet’s recommendations. This can mean things like body work, feed, supplements, or styles of training.
Bottom line: your horse could be sore and you can’t even recognize it.
No one likes to be in pain. I think we should do everything in our power to make sure our horses are comfortable and willing to work, free of tension. So, give it some thought. Improve your lameness recognition. Invest in bodywork, supplements, and training for your horse. Let’s all be the best horsewomen/horsemen that we can be!