Here’s an epiphany I had the other day about equine lameness.  I was reading again in a text that the horse’s instinct is to show no lameness, even when it hurts.  His life depends on it.
In the wild, as a prey animal, they know that there is always the chance that a predator is watching.  Here’s the epiphany — the cougar, or lioness, or pack of wolves is possibly the best lameness expert on the planet.  Their lives depend on it.
“Was that a limp?”  “Did I just see one stumble?”  “Look, check it out, last one in the herd – I think that may be next week’s meal”.  “Let’s keep an eye on that one.”
This is what I picture one cougar saying to the other.  Truly, they spend their entire lives training their eye to lameness.  And the horse or deer or zebra, on the other hand, spends their entire life hiding any lameness.

Thermal image of horse showing a full body clip (yellow & red). Normal spring length hair on the legs. He was pawing to show us he needed to go outside and urinate.

Horses don’t fake a limp.  By the time they show a lameness, they may have been masking it well for a period of time.  We really don’t know, because they don’t speak.  Yes, they are very expressive, and there are many ways to read them, but they don’t speak to us about the exact location of their problem.  Or what type of pain they are feeling.

What Now?

We can try to find out their pain issues.  We can keep a focused eye on our horses and each other’s horses in the field as they play.  We can educate ourselves, and find competent vets to advise us.  Our horses need us to do this.
Thank you for being one of the owners who are interested in finding out what your horse needs.

Click here to read the Benefits of Thermography for the owner, Vet, trainer & horse.

Topics on this page: lameness | infrared imaging | infrared camera | the horse