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The horse is three years old turning four. He has been backed four, maybe five times at the date of this video recording. Therefore, it is not a training issue. At three years old, the horse is so lame that he is not capable of trotting with a rider on his back.

Can you figure out which limb is hurt.

The lameness was not identified until the backing process commenced. It became apparent with the horses adaptation to the riders weight. It should be borne in mind that the weight of the rider will increase two- or three-fold during locomotion and also that more energy is required by a mounted horse. This energy must be obtained by increasing the stance phase as to recover more energy during the swing. (Jose Morales)

After a large amount of money spent in photographing, scanning, and injecting every joint of the suspect limb, it was decided that it was a behavior issue since nothing wrong appeared on the medical examination.

As it is the case in 90% of the case studies, it was not a behavior issue but rather the expression of pain. Once we addressed the source of the problem, the horse became sound and perfectly willing to move forward. The reeducation lasted three months.

At the end of the session under saddle, the horse is somewhat better during a few steps. It was the result of a riding adjustment. This detail may help you to figure out where the lameness originates.

This case is extreme but it illustrates a process which, to a lesser degree, limits many horses ability to perform at their fullest potential.

Almost all horses enter life with a morphological flaw, back muscle imbalance, limb kinematics abnormality, or other imperfection that the horses brain learns to protect or compensate for, but does not have the intellectual capacity to analyze and therefore to correct. If a horse is exploited in the show ring without addressing the imperfection, sooner more than later, lameness will be the likely outcome. The gait abnormality created by a specific lesion is the gait abnormality that will cause the lesion. (James R. Rooney) Contact 

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