On the Trail Lameness

Learn the steps to take if you find yourself out on the trail and your horse becomes lame.

You’re out on the trail and your horse suddenly starts limping. What do you do?

1. Slow to a walk.

2. Find a place where it’s safe to dismount and do so.

3. Check the horse’s hooves, front feet first. You’re most likely to find a problem in the horse’s feet. He may have a stone or thorn in his sole, frog or the cleft of his frog. Check to see if one of his shoes may be loose or twisted.

4. Next, check his legs for signs of heat or swelling, although this may not be apparent for a while after an injury.

5. If you can’t find anything obvious, try walking the horse from the ground for a few minutes. If he seems to walk out of it, it’s probably safe to remount, but only to walk him home. When you’re back at home or base camp, recheck the legs for heat or swelling, and keep a close eye on the horse for the next few days.

6. If the horse doesn’t improve with a little walking, then send a friend or use your cell phone to ask someone to bring a trailer. Slowly walk the horse to the nearest place where you can load him to take him home.

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