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Healthy joints are crucial to soundness. Here is expert advice for keeping your horse moving well.


Horses are made to move—and they do so magnificently. We take their innate talent and fine-tune their abilities to suit our purposes in a wide range of riding sports, and joint health plays a major role in a horse staying sound over the years.

Steve Fisch, DVM, who owns and practices at AVS Equine Hospital in Tallahassee, Fla., particularly enjoys the challenges of diagnosing and treating equine lameness and practicing equine sports medicine. For a lifetime of well-managed equine soundness, he shares his advice on what you can do to protect your horse’s joints.

Soundness Starts Early

Fisch points out that soundness (or lameness) really begins at conception, starting with how the mare is fed. Later, once young foals are eating their own ration, a diet formulated for growing horses at their particular stage of life is required. Many problems that are a result of inadequate nutrition from these earliest times won’t show up until the resulting foal is in training as a 2-year-old or older.

In addition to early nutrition, it’s important to pay close attention to the foal’s leg conformation and evaluate it regularly. Some angular limb deformities can be completely corrected with proper trimming when the foal is young. If not addressed, even slight deformities can compromise soundness and/or performance when the horse is an adult.

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Horse Illustrated November 2018, How to Stay FOREVER YOUNG in the SADDLE, Riding through LOVE&LOSS, And More......