Once, when I was preparing my heading horse, RJ, for roping practice, I noticed something different when picking his hooves. I saw a small line on the inside of his right front hoof that had a small bloodstain. I picked up the hoof and looked closer. I pressed on each side of this one inch, fine line that ran down the inside quarter about an inch below the coronary band. I could separate each side independently. Finally, I pressed on the coronary band directly above this small defect in the wall, and RJ flinched. The diagnosis was clear: my horse had a quarter-crack.
Because I identified the crack early and knew how to treat it initially, this quarter-crack was going to be only a minor setback. However, there is a possibility that if left unidentified, this relatively minor hiccup could have gone as far as a full-blown, career-stopping disaster and permanent damage.
As an Amateur competitor myself, I understand that we don’t always pay as close attention to small details as the professionals—but we should! Try the following tips to pay better attention to details on a daily basis:
- Have a routine when preparing your horse for any activity. This can remind you to check for and notice subtle changes.
- Pay attention to your horse’s feet. Do you notice any splitting, chipping or cracks on the hoof itself, or any loose shoes or nails that you need to address?
- Give your horse a basic once-over, checking for swollen or weepy eyes, excessive discharge from the nostrils, and any new cuts or swellings.
- If you notice anything that looks different in appearance, size or sensitivity, keep an eye on it. If the look, size or sensitivity increases, get it checked by your trainer, veterinarian or farrier.
- Remain proactive and check things out early so, ideally, you only face a minor setback instead of a lengthy healing process.
I always say, “Preventative medicine is always more productive and rewarding than restorative medicine.” The ounce of prevention is worth more than the pound of cure because it addresses or identifies the little things before they can become big, expensive problems.
Steve Allday is the developer of Lubrisyn joint supplement. Visit the APHA General Store to learn more and enjoy an APHA member-exclusive discount on LubriSyn products.
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Photos courtesy of LubriSyn