3 Steps To Evaluating Your Horse For Potential Problems

Identify Potential Problems In Your Horse, Minimize Vet Bills AND Feel Good About Your Horse Health Care Decisions!

 

Have you ever had your horse travel completely freely on a circle to the right, but fights you tooth and nail when you ask for the other direction? 

Does your horse have a contracted heel on one foot that won't get any better despite the best efforts of your hoof care professional? 

Have you been battling performance or lameness issues with your horse and don't know what to do next?

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

These are very common problems for many horse owners.  Issues like these can be very frustrating when you can't tell what the underlying cause of the problem is. 

There are three simple steps that every horse owner can follow to evaluate their horse for potential problems.  What you find after you follow these steps will provide you with the necessary clues to determine what action you need to take to address them.

3 Steps To Evaluating Your Horse For Potential Problems - www.heavenlygaitsequinemassage.comAre you ready to get better results with your horse?  Put your equine health care team to work so you and your horse can be doing what you were meant to!

Get help NOW with this step-by-step report on evaluating your horse from a "whole horse" perspective, which I'm sharing with you for FREE!

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

debi moore March 2, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Have a 7 year old rocky mountain spotted saddle horse. she seems listless and does not move out well when we are on trail. i have a hard time figuring out whats the best diet for her to be on for optimol health. Any suggestion?

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Lisa Carter Lisa Carter March 4, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Hi Debi,

When it comes to feeding our horses, I think most people tend to over do it – over supplementing, over feeding and giving way too many complex carbs. I tend to take a “less is more” approach when it comes to feeding my horses. They really don’t need to have all that sweet feed or oats for the most part, and as we’ve learned with humans, just because something might be good for you in small amounts doesn’t mean that more of it is better. My horses get free choice hay, have limited grazing access but enough that they get some good vitamins/minerals from live plants, and get between 1-2 pounds of a low starch feed that I add some apple cider vinegar and vitamin/mineral supplements to. They also have a himalayan salt block that they love. You can find great information on horse nutrition at http://safergrass.org/. I would start there to help you determine the best diet for your horse. Good luck with your horse and I hope the information there will help you:)

Blessings,

Lisa

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Kim Jossart June 24, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Hi Lisa,

I was using Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar (the good stuff) with my horses feed every day.  1/2 cup of the vinegar and 1/2 cup of water to help dilute a little.  I was doing this for digestion.  My Equine Chiropractor said there have been recent studies done where they are finding that the Apple Cider Vinegar causes ulcers in horses.  She was very insistent that I stop using it, so I have.  What are your thoughts on this and have you read any of the recent studies regarding this.

Sincerely,

 

Kim

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Lisa Carter Lisa Carter June 24, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Hi Kim,

I am unfamiliar with the studies mentioned by your chiropractor.  All I can tell you is that I’ve been feeding it as a topdress on my own horse’s feed for several years now (about 2 ounces per day) and take it myself.  Neither of us have had any issues at all with it.  I also know a number of people that feed it to there horses and am unaware of any problems that have occurred with their horses.  That is not to say that some horse’s might have problems.  That is something that you would just need to do your own research and decide for yourself.  Read these studies, talk to other people that have been feeding it long term to see what their experiences are and weight the pros and cons.  As we all know, with all things there will be mixed results or something that we thought was bad for us was good, and vice versa.  When looking at these studies, it is also VERY important to note what brand is being used in the study.  All products are not created equal.  We see this in essential oils as well.  When someone does a study on an oil and it causes a problem, they fail to take into account that it was synthetic or was adulterated. 

Hopefully this answers your question? 

Blessings,

Lisa

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Angie Rowe November 1, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Thank you so much Lisa for the feeding info this is what I was going to ask as well 🙂

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Lisa Carter Lisa Carter November 1, 2014 at 9:08 pm

You’re very welcome Angie 🙂

Blessings,

Lisa

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Nicole May 5, 2013 at 5:00 am

Hi Lisa, I have a 20yr old arab-quarter mare that I adopted about 5 months ago. She has alot of issues. I have gotten her diet on track, I use young living essential oils, I am also a massage therapist so she gets a massage about once a week and stretches almost everyday. She has very sensitive feet, carries more weight in the front, is very girthy when cinching up no matter how slow, even with the bareback pad. She is also a cribber. She is very tight on th right side of her neck almost refusing to stretch for carrots. I am at a loss as to how to help her, what is your oppinion?

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Lisa Carter Lisa Carter May 6, 2013 at 12:22 pm

Hi Nicole.  I had a horse with very similar issues.  I found that chiropractic and acupuncture were very helpful in alleviating some of this.  He was very compressed through his withers and always carried his ribs to the right.  He was always very reactive under saddle, probably some of it due to pain issues, but a lot of it was emotional.  Once I got the physical issues addressed, I was then able to focus on the emotional issues and made huge progress.  I wrote 2 articles about him, one addressing the physical things we did and the other the emotional.  You can read them here: 

http://www.heavenlygaitsequinemassage.com/muscle-tension-horse-posture-height/

http://www.heavenlygaitsequinemassage.com/horse-bipolar-right-left-brained/

I’ve also read that horses with a first rib out can have these very serious cinchiness issues.  Because of the location, it is very hard to address.  You can try exercises like having your horse stand on a pedetal and get them to hang one foreleg off the pedetal, mobilizing and stretching those muscles around the chest and sternum which can sometimes help. 

I’ve also cover a number of exercises in my eBook that can help your horse become more balanced through the ribcage which you might find helpful here:  http://www.heavenlygaitsequinemassage.com/prescription-parelli-therapeutic-exercises-horse/

Good luck and I hope this helps a little bit. 

Blessings,

Lisa

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Nicole May 7, 2013 at 4:44 am

Lisa, you are awesome 🙂 Thank you

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Lisa Carter Lisa Carter May 7, 2013 at 5:12 am

You are so welcome!  🙂

Lisa

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Alison May 10, 2013 at 10:13 am

I am so frustrated.  I have a 15 yr old Paso Fino mare, since we moved to property with pasture I have had nothing but problems with her.  She became lame eight months ago.  I had xrays done that shows some rotation in both front feet, had my vet and farrier envolved with this, so far we are trimming her feet to take pressure off and she is on phenylbrute 2 blouses twice a day.  I have had her on a low carb diet for some time now, because she gains weight easily, has the cresty neck ect.,  I am also trying a product called Heiro that is an natural remedy for horses with insulin resistance, a Dr. Frank Reilly puts out.  She seemed to be doing much better but now she is steadily getting worse and is in alot of pain, walks very slowly and it just kills me to see her this way.  My farrier wants to put shoes on her front feet but she has never been shod before and I am not sure about it.  I really need to find some other options to help this poor girl.  Anything would be great.  Thanks

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Lisa Carter Lisa Carter May 10, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Hi Alison.  I’m so sorry for your frustration.  I understand as I had similar concerns with my own broodmare.  First off, you may not care for this advice, but my best advice to you is she needs to be taken off the pasture. Period.  Horses with this propensity should be on a dry-lot or very limited pasture access.  It’s just not fair to them, it’s like plopping a recoverying alcoholic in a bar.  My property is very small and therefore my mare had limited access to fresh green grass.  There is pretty much only weeds out there and the little bit of grass that came up in the spring was gone quickly with several horses grazing.  She always did very well under those circumstances.  I kept her on a low carb diet as well, supplemented with free choice coastal hay and some soaked alfalfa cubes once a day.  As soon as I gave her to her retirement home, she had access to much more grass than we had at our place and she immediately started gaining weight in the spring and she started to have problems with her feet. This time of year is just really hard for horses prone to this problem. 

My second suggestion if you absolutely cannot get her off the pasture is to put a grazing muzzle on her so that she cannot have free choice grass.  I know of some people that have had success with this, but others have not.  It depends on the horse and how bad the insulin resistance is.  I don’t believe in secondarily treating the symptoms, but instead the actual problem should be address…the access to the grass.  Putting shoes on your horse is not going to stop her from being insulin resistant nore from foundering, it simply masks the pain that she is feeling by taking the pressure off the coffin bone via the relaxation of the soft tissue on the flexors in the back of the leg.  Shoes may also limit the circulation in the hoof and lower leg, which is also a very bad thing. 

I know that’s probably not what you wanted to hear, but in fairness to your horse, it is the only ethical advice from a “natural” perspective that I can offer you.  These, of course, are only my opinions and based on my own personal experiences with my own and acquaintences horses.  You must do what is right for you and your horse based on gathering all the available information from both your veterinarian and farrier, as well as other resources regarding the underlying causes of laminitis/founder.  All you can do is make as well-informed decision as you can. 

Blessings,

Lisa

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Karen Smith August 6, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Hi Lisa,

I have two horses who have been on the Vitaroyal feed program developed by Linsey McLean for about ten years.  They are on grass hay and have 24/7 turnout to a 3 acre dry lot.  I also turn them out for an hour or so in the early evening on forty high desert acres, which is gramma grass. They have beautiful barefoot hooves, shiny coats and have never had any healthy issues.  However, I recently noticed that my 17 year old Spotted Saddle Horse gelding had a round, hard growth at the top back of his front left leg.  Is this something I should be concerned about?

Namaste,

Karen

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Lisa Carter Lisa Carter August 6, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Hi Karen,

I would recommend you have your vet look at anything that may be remotely suspicious.  It may be nothing, but if it is a tumor of some kind, you will want to have it diagnosed quickly.  Better safe than sorry I always say 🙂

Blessings,

Lisa

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Nancy Parks December 27, 2013 at 4:39 pm

Thanks Lisa

 

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Lisa Carter Lisa Carter December 28, 2013 at 5:13 am

You’re welcome Nancy.

 

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Marina May 31, 2014 at 3:18 am

Hi Lisa

Ive gotten 2 horses  one is pure arab  and the other arab x welsh.

Took the arab out for a ride and noticed her shaking her head while riding the bridle seems to fit fine saddle fits well.  Her left shoulder twiched and went like a spasm and then she shook her whole body like when they get up from a roll, she did this twice within an hour ride.  Who should i get chiropracter, physio or a massager? or dentist maybe

The other one has a hunters bump can this be cured i dont know how long its been there.  I have taken this guy out a few times the first couple of times tryed pig rooting but has been fine the last couple times taken out for a ride. Who can i get for this guy.

I dont know too much about these horses they were at a property and  were left there by agisters who never came back and for them and have no way of finding out about them any advice would be much appreciated i just dont know where to start. 🙁

 

Reply

Lisa Carter Lisa Carter May 31, 2014 at 7:33 am

Hi Marina,

It possible the arab just has really sensitive skin and maybe was being irritated by things tickling.  My mare will do that sometimes if the gnats are out.  She’s quite ticklish.  But it probably wouldn’t hurt to have an evaluation done by a good massage therapist who might be able to identify any trouble spots for you. 

For your other guy, I’ve had good results with making improvements with hunters bump.  See my 2-part series of articles on the subject here – http://www.heavenlygaitsequinemassage.com/hunters-bump-horse/.  I have found the best results with a combination of bodywork and acupuncture. 

I hope this information is helpful to you.  Good luck with your new charges!

Blessings,

Lisa

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Jan Nicholson-Vas September 8, 2014 at 5:41 pm

I have a new, to me, 10 year old thoroughbred gelding with a sore back on the right side. I have gleaned several excercises to help him.  He was doing dressage since he is new I have only hacked him.  I want him to be comfortable and pain free..any suggestions?

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Lisa Carter Lisa Carter September 9, 2014 at 8:21 am

Hi Jan,

First, I would suggest that you have him evaluated by a bodyworker to make sure there isn’t some underlying injury or imbalance contributing to your horse’s discomfort.  And then, if you haven’t read this series on yet? (http://www.heavenlygaitsequinemassage.com/back-pain-horse-part-1/)  You might go through this series on back pain in the horse and see if you can pinpoint anything in particular.  I can’t really offer exercise/therapeutic suggestions without having more specifics as to the underlying issues affecting your horse. 

Perhaps this will offer some clues as to what may be troubling your horse and then we can address what you find.

Blessings,

Lisa

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vickie fuller September 17, 2014 at 2:19 pm

Please provide me with the free evaluation

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Lisa Carter Lisa Carter September 17, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Hi Vickie,

It’s a free report that you get when you fill out the form on this webpage 🙂  It will be emailed to you.  If you already did that step, then you should have gotten an email asking you to confirm your request and then once you do that it’s sent via email as an attachment.  It’s called “3 Steps To Evaluating Your Horse For Potential Problems”.  If you can’t find the email, you should check your spam folder to see if it went there…that happens a lot 🙂

Blessings,

Lisa

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SueAnn September 25, 2014 at 11:59 pm

I'm in fire straits. I've raised, trained, & shown horses for 40+ years. I've started using Parelli techniques. 

My problem is a 17.1H TB mare who is extremely nervous. Unable to relax always fidgeting spooks and bolts easily no history of abuse & no time on the track. I have tried several calming supplements to no avail. I have also started using Peace & Calming & Lavender without much effect. Is there another oils or combination I should be using?

like you I am a vet tech not working in this field anymore. I'm an RN with masters degree. Please help!

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Lisa Carter Lisa Carter September 26, 2014 at 5:36 am

That’s always a tough one SueAnn.  It’s usually a multi-pronged approach needed and really understanding your horse’s horseanality to help develop strategies to build the trust, respect and confidence.  There are SO many different emotional essential oils that beneficial.  Picking one is more intuitive than anything, but it really helps to know what’s driving the behavior (i.e. trauma, fear, unconfidence, defiance etc. – that’s where the horseanality info really helps).  Have you tried Valor yet?  There is also Stress Away, Joy and Relieve It that I’ve had good results with. 

Wishing you the best of luck in helping your horse find her way!

Lisa

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Kaja May 28, 2015 at 1:29 pm

Hi

My name Is Kaja and i live with my parents on a little horse farm. We had horses since i was 6 years old ( thats is when we got our first horse) since then the farm started growing and right now we have 10 horses and hopefully 2 more on the way. Where we live ( withc is Serbia) Vets do not have much expiriance with horses so we had to deal mostly on our own if there was any problem with the horses. Luckyliy our horses are healthy so we did not have much to worry about. But, we once bought a foal that had to go to a slaughter house. Of course i could not let that happen so we got the little guy and he is one of the sweetest horses we have. I ride him the most and we really fit together but he has a problem with his back legs…. They seem to be in a X position ( i think they are called cow hocked? ) He is now almost 4 years old and i never had problmes with riding him, he is actually one of the fastest horses we have and he is really strong ( he is beautiffly built exept for the back legs) he does have muscels so i think thats why i never saw a problem while riding him. But the other day we went on a more difficult trail after a rainy day, we where going down a muddy road and he was going fast as he always does but then he did one wrong step and he slipped and almost fell down, witch is not suprising because of the muddy road, but the problem was that he could not balance himself fore a bit too long i think, he started walking but sliping around for a good few seconds. I got scared that he could break his leg ( but he did not). Non of the other horses slipped on that trail but i think he has a balance problem. What can i do? How bad is it? Can i fix his back legs? Should i stop riding him?
 

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Lisa Carter Lisa Carter May 29, 2015 at 5:26 pm

Hi Kaja,

It’s great to hear from you!  I think that you will find these articles helpful in your horse’s issue.  I have outlined several exercises to help with this problem 🙂

http://www.heavenlygaitsequinemassage.com/exercises-stretches-cow-hocked-horse/

http://www.heavenlygaitsequinemassage.com/15-second-quadriceps-strengthening-exercise-horse/

Hope this helps 🙂

Blessings,

Lisa

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Kelley May 3, 2016 at 7:10 am

hello, I was hoping you could help me with my Arab, JJ. I got him when he was just under two years old. I brought him along slowly and we have been buddies now for about 12 years now. About 3-4 years ago now, I had him go to a trainer who is great in balance and body work and very natural in her approach, because he would buck when riding when we would canter. 75% of the time she had him, she worked on balance because she said his hind end was a mess, all over the place, crossing his legs, and she felt he wasn't really bucking most of the time it was a popping movement that felt like it because he was so unbalanced. So that got figured out, and he came home in amazing shape (she was riding him everyday, I get 1-2 times a week) this winter he went lame with an abscess in a hind hoof, but just wasn't himself all around. He would get grumpy when I would just sit on him in the field to hang out usually not a issue. He has very flat feet, I've kept him barefoot up to this point, but this past winter he was very uncomfortable, but has been fine all spring. He does give the farrier a hard time trimming his hind feet, but typically okay with the front. Lately when we ride, he really wants to run (always has) but his hind end is really out of whack again. He can't pick up the right lead, and he is constant breaking after a few strides because he can't seem to keep his balance and hind end together. I've recently switched from a western saddle to a Austrian saddle, and often will ride bareback. I found you originally after reading about hunters bump and si joint issues, which to me sounds like it could be what's going on the more I read, I'm looking for what is the best for him, regards to what saddle or lack of saddle, and as this seems to be an on going chronic issue  maybe confirmation rather than a recent injury what to do in the way of riding, (let him do what he seems comfortable with, trying to limit him to just walking (or him jigging) I've started doing the tail pull each morning, but with only getting 1-2 riding session times a week, I don't know if I could get his back and hind end strength back with so little time compared to what the trainer was able to accomplish. Thank you for your time, and any ideas or suggestions you may have,

kelley 

Reply

Lisa Carter Lisa Carter May 3, 2016 at 10:42 am

Hi Kelley,

So sorry to hear that your horse has been stuggling so much.  It does sound, based on the symptoms you describe, like there is probably something going on in your horse’s back end and causing him serious discomfort.  Sounds more long-term chronic rather than an acute recent injury.  My best recommendation to you is to have a professional evaluation done by either a chiropractor/vet or bodyworker who can identify the primary source of the pain and help you develop a plan of attack.  These issues will not usually be related to conformation, nor will they resolve themselves by a simple change of saddle.  It usually takes time to resolve/improve, and in many causes requires regular maintenance work with a program of therapeutic exercise to help keep the horse in a comfortable place and overcome the muscle memory that has developed over time.  I would be happy to help you in any way that I can.  I do offer private consultations (http://www.heavenlygaitsequinemassage.com/private-consultation-request/), or you can contact someone in your local area to come do an in-person evaluation of your horse.  But I do feel that if your horse does have issues related to pelvic injury resulting in symptoms like Hunters Bump, then the problem will likely get worse over time if not addressed. 

Blessings,

Lisa

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Kelley May 4, 2016 at 7:02 am

Thank you for responding to me so quickly. I'm going to investigate and see if I can find anybody nearby, and if not, I'll be in touch. Thank you,

Kelley

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Erin August 16, 2016 at 5:33 pm

Hi, 

I have a 14 yr. old horse. he is a paint. Wheb riding he turns in circles to the left but when i try turning him right he refuses and after lots an lots of pulling i can half ways get him to go to the right.

eri 

Reply

Lisa Carter Lisa Carter August 17, 2016 at 7:38 am

Hi Erin,

There are several things that can contribute to this behavior.  It might be a problem with the teeth, or perhaps a simple case of a horse carrying it’s ribs habitually to the right which would make it uncomfortable and difficult for the horse to do circles to the right.  Problems with pelvic imbalances or a hind limb problem can also contribute.  These are the most common things I see.  Try taking a look at the steps outlined in the free report on this page (if you haven’t done so already) to help you narrow down/rule out some of these possibiilities.  You can also check the following articles for additional ways to check for clues once you’ve utilized the steps in the report…

http://www.heavenlygaitsequinemassage.com/prescription-parelli-freeing-up-ribs-on-horse/

http://www.heavenlygaitsequinemassage.com/rib-cage-mobilizing-exercises-horse-part-1/

http://www.heavenlygaitsequinemassage.com/back-pain-horse-part-3/

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Alice Toomey December 29, 2016 at 8:24 pm

Like to learn more about solving problems naturally

Reply

Elizabeth January 15, 2017 at 7:53 am

Hi Lisa,

I have a 12-year-old appendix quarter horse 18.1 hands. March 17, 2014, I turned him out in the pasture in the am and when I returned to bring him in he was in extremely bad shape. His hind leg was 10 times the size of his other leg and moving was very painful. After IV therapy and many medications, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatories and a few months of cold hosing, wrapping, walking, exercising we were able to get the condition under control and pain-free. He has had several relapses over the years but we have been able to keep on top of the problem and get him to a comfortable level rather quickly. He is my daughter's horse and she is currently away at college and in October he flared up again. This time was different as he has been dripping lymphatic fluid from his leg continuously. I have managed to keep the area clean and change his wraps several times a day and finally he stopped dripping lymphatic fluid but now his swelling is really bad. He has remained sound during this whole process but as of yesterday, he is off, no doubt because of the swelling. I have been working with our equine vet over the years and we are now at a point where he cannot have the medications needed because of his sensitivity. Would equine lymphatic massage help at this point in time or is it too late and is his case too extreme. I do have pictures I can share via email if you would like to see.

Thank you,

Elizabeth

Reply

Lisa Carter Lisa Carter January 29, 2017 at 8:15 am

Hi Elizabeth,

I’m so sorry to hear what’s going on with your daughter’s horse.  Do the vet’s have any idea WHY this is happening?  Have they named a condition that would cause this constant flare up?  I can’t say that lymphatic massage will work or not, but it certainly is worth giving it it try if you’ve exhausted all other avenues.  I will also send you via email some other suggestions that you might consider. 

Blessings,

Lisa

Reply

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