Footcare / lameness
Foot problems are one of the most common causes of lameness in horses. However, care of the horse's feet is often overlooked by owners. Neglected feet can develop many conditions which, if left untreated, can result in severe lameness with loss of use of your horse. Maintaining your horse's feet in good condition is of primary importance. It is also necessary that you are aware of the conditions that can affect your horse's feet and how to recognise them.
Lameness can be a result of pain in areas, such as the feet, back or joints. Common causes include laminitis, foot abscess, degenerative/developmental joint disease or external trauma, such as a kick injury. The extent of a horse's lameness can vary from being hopping lame, where the horse cannot put any weight on the limb at all, to showing just a slight reluctance to move freely on hard or uneven surfaces. You will know your horse's "normal" way of going, so any variance from this could be a sign of an underlying problem.
If you think your horse is lame it shouldn't be ridden or exercised, unless specifically directed by your vet. In most cases it is best to consult your vet if your horse is lame, they will be able to undertake various examinations to assess your horse for lameness, determine the cause of lameness, and recommend treatment.