Like all animals when they are hurt they tend to try and hide it but this should not stop you from telling if a horse is lame. If you know your horse well which most horse owners do all you have to do is take enough time to check out your horse’s legs and hooves. This means that you have to notice if your horse is avoiding placing the hurt limb completely flat on the ground and avoiding bearing weight on it. Here are a few suggestions to tell if your horse is lame.
When your horse is in his stall check his hooves after he is standing for awhile. This may give you the first indication that there is a problem. If one of his limbs is hurting he will have the hoof just touching the floor without placing any weight on it. This may be a temporary hurt but one that should be checked out. It is easy to spot which hoof or leg it is that is hurting the leg of your horse will be bent up slightly to keep the weight off.
If you suspect your horse is lame you need to remove him from the stall and walk him around outside. You already know the suspected limb that may be causing the problem so watch your horse as he walks. If he is hesitating placing his hoof flat on the ground then he is in pain. He will also display a tilt to his walk as he favors the sore hoof or leg. Your horse will not be moving in his usual gait and will be very easy to detect the wobble.
Perhaps trotting is the easiest way to detect if your horse is lame or going lame. When a horse is lame his head will not follow as it usually does and he will throw his head back in the rhythm of his stride. By trotting him you will easily detect which leg is hurting. His trot will not be the same and he will favor the side that is hurting. Your horse will find some way to take the weight of the leg that hurts. Even though you may pin point the exact place your horse is lame you still need the expertise of your veterinarian to confirm it.
Horses are precious and they can become a lifelong companion. When you know your horse really well it will not take long to detect when something is not quite right. Most of the lameness in horses is very short lived but there are occasions when something serious has taken place. See your veterinarian at the first signs of lameness to help your horse and you as a horse owner.