Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Leg Injuries... Are they more common today?

The above photo has little to do with the discussion of this post, I just like it!  :)  This horse is at my stable and she is half Friesian like my guy... but the other half is Arab.  My horse is half Quarter Horse.

I honestly don't recall horses getting as many injuries when I was younger as they do now.  Of course, maybe I just didn't pay attention.  But the horses in my immediate circle didn't.  One thing they did all have in common was a long winter rest.  Below is an excerpt from the blog "Two horses":

We then had an interesting discussion about the prevalence of leg injuries. He told me that he sees many more horses with suspensory ligament injuries than he used to. I asked him why, was it due to better diagnostics, but he said it no, it is because horses get overworked nowadays. Horses used to have one job. If they were hunters, they were brought in in September for fittening work, hunted during the winter and spring and then they were given a couple of months off during the summer. Show horses usually got time off during the winter months. He told me that many horses would have minor lesions in the suspensory ligament by the end of the season, but that because they got a couple of months off, these had usually healed by the time the horse was brought back into work. It takes about three months for a suspensory ligament to heal. Nowadays, the season is longer, people might hunt and do show jumping as well and Riding Club activities continue for most of the year. Many leisure riders don’t give their horses a substantial break anymore and their horses’ legs can’t bear the strain. He also said that a lot of people are just not using proper horse sense anymore; slow work to condition horses and a 10 minute warm up seem to have gone out of fashion and horses are getting injured as a result.


What do you think?  

1 comment:

Grey Horse Matters said...

It's true, horses these days are definitely overworked. When we showed (years ago) we did it from spring until fall. The horses weren't totally idle in the winter and there may have been an indoor show here and there but nowhere near as many as there are today. And of course the poor horses that have to do the circuit in Florida in the winter never get a break.

It's also true that most horses don't seem to get a warm up anymore. I've seen this at a lot of barns. They also don't get the proper conditioning (slowly) before they're put into heavy work either. So you can only expect more leg injuries.