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Keeping your horse sound

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  • Keeping your horse sound

    I grew up believing that if I rode on soft surfaces and didn't, for instance, canter on pavement, my horse would stay sound longer. Does anyone know if this is true of footing and soundness? What else can I be doing? I'm mainly talking ring bone and side bone, long term permanent lameness issues.
    Thank you!

  • #2
    Originally posted by prudence View Post
    I grew up believing that if I rode on soft surfaces and didn't, for instance, canter on pavement, my horse would stay sound longer. Does anyone know if this is true of footing and soundness? What else can I be doing? I'm mainly talking ring bone and side bone, long term permanent lameness issues.
    Thank you!
    Well, in short - hard surfaces are more taxing on joints, and deep or soft surfaces taxing on tendons/ligaments.

    Harder surfaces build bone density, but wouldn't be a good choice for an arthritic horse. Horses working in deep footings should be fit for the work to avoid susp & tendon issues. Muscles build quickly, but tendons take much more time.

    I've heard event trainers mention that walking them for 15-20 mins on a hard surface is good for keeping the suspensories in working order, but not sure of the exact science of it.

    For ringbone/sidebone, I would think keeping the hooves in correct balance is going to be your best bet for long term soundness. Lots of horses seem to have sidebone, but don't seem lame from it. If the horse's conformation predispose the horse to this, there's only so much you can do about it though.

    Hopefully someone can comment more on the ringbone specifically....


    • #3
      Ditto - deep footing increases the odds of soft tissue injuries. Hard footing increases the impact/concussion which isn't good for joints. Very wet, slippery footing increases the chances of all sorts of things.

      Use common sense, get your horses feet done by a good shoer or trimmer at the recommended intervals. Make sure your saddle fits your horse well.


      • #4
        I think the most important factor in keeping a horse sound is to have damned good luck.

        Otherwise, keep the feet in balance and address inflammation right away. Fit up the horse appropriately and keep it fit.


        • #5
          Good conformation.


          • #6
            Keep the horse in a bubble...My horse has always been sound until he had Lyme disease.

            Kiwayu & Figiso Pictures:


            • #7
              It is good to walk or even trot on hard surfaces. Builds tiny fibers in the structure to build soundness. That is "legging up". I walk my pony down the road at least once weekly as part of our conditioning.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                I think the most important factor in keeping a horse sound is to have damned good luck.
                No kidding...

                Otherwise, keep the feet in balance and address inflammation right away. Fit up the horse appropriately and keep it fit.
                And feed him properly
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks everybody for your comments. I believe luck is the main factor too. Does anyone know which breeds or family lines are more prone to ring bone? Are jumpers more prone to these long term arthritic changes? Endurance horses who are ridden on hard, uneven surfaces?

                  In terms of conformation, I think short, upright pasterns are more commonly associated with ring bone. Long sloping pasterns are associated with more soft tissue long term damage. So breeds typified by these leg conformations would be more likely to have the corresponding later unsoundness. Are there more quarter horses with ring bone?

                  I have heard about "legging up" as Pricestory describes it. I wonder if this is true for horses that are not still developing. Also glucosamine and adequan are used as preventatives sometimes; I am hoping they help my horses in the long run.