Monday, May 4, 2015

Spring Fitness: Health Checkup!

Obviously, if you're going to be bringing your horse back into work after a cozy winter of blankets and time off and/or snuggly easy rides, its a good idea to do at least a basic health checkup to make sure all the pieces are still in the right place and that everything is oiled and ready to roll.
Some people prefer just to get their vet out for spring vaccinations, coggins test, teeth work, etc.  That's all I ever did, when I did anything at all.

This spring, because of my plans to go to an endurance ride, Lady definitely needed her coggins done as well as a health certificate, that way we could.. you know... go somewhere?
Plus the baby horse needed to be gelded, so I just arranged a farm call and decided since I was spending the money, why not? I added a full-blown health/nutrition/flexion exam to the bill for The Mare.

So, two weeks ago, my girl had her first exam in the whole time I've had her. Yeah... we've done all the regular stuff, but I had never had a vet come look at my horse for the sake of looking at my horse.

All the normal stuff was just fine. Her heart is super strong and healthy, all her gut sounds were great, and there was no hint whatsoever of any sand in there, which made me very happy!  (Don't ask me why, but I've always had a vague worry about sand colic or something. Go figure.)

We did some conformational studying, and the vet confirmed what I already knew about Lady's hind end being her "weak link".  It's not something we have to worry about at all, but he did warn me against breeding her without professional guidance.

He spent a lot of time on her hooves, and pronounced all but one to be in very good shape. Her left front hoof has always had issues with flaring and ridging, which I told him about and he did some poking around on it. What he told me is that her heels are underrun on that foot, which is causing a breakover. The angle is actually pretty bad, which he said is causing strain on the tendons/ligaments of that leg. We also figured out that because of that, she is overloading the opposite (right hind) hoof, which just so happens to be the one hoof that she hates picking up and also gets stiff on most often. Mind. Blown. :P
Anyways... he gave me some trimming techniques, as well as some corrective shoeing hints to talk with my trimmer about. She'll be coming out this week to work on Lady's feet. I've got my fingers crossed that she is open to the vet's advice and we can work together as a team to get this resolved. (Hoof professionals in this area... seriously. They're all so closed-minded towards vets.)

Anyways, we went on to do a flexion test, and although she was just barely stiff on all her fetlocks/hocks (as expected), she was definitely sore on that left front leg. Again, due to that problematic hoof!
Dental check was all good. Lady needs her teeth floated within the year, most likely, but nothing to be concerned about, just maintenance.

All in all, he told me I have a very nice, healthy horse and that I'm doing a pretty good job of caring for her. So nice to hear that!!  That hoof is the only issue that I need to take care of, and its not going to be a big deal to fix. It'll just take some time. But I got the go ahead for the endurance ride, and pretty much whatever I want to do this summer.

What do you do before starting back up in the spring?


  1. glad she's doing so well except for that hoof - which will hopefully be an easy fix :)

  2. I bet your farrier will be more open than you think -- just say you want to stop a problem before it ... well.. becomes a problem!