do Horses Trip?
There isn’t enough room in a short tip to go into
all the possible causes of tripping in any detail. Suffice it to
say, any physical and neurological conditions that affect motion can
contribute to tripping.
If your horse is tripping “more than normal” a
thorough veterinary physical exam focusing on lameness and the
horse’s neurological state is warranted.
All lameness issues will change how a horse moves
his entire body, not just the affected leg(s). While navicular
syndrome and caudal heel pain will often increase tripping, so can
arthritis in the leg or even in the horse’s neck.
Muscle, tendon, and/or ligament injuries should also
be considered a possible cause. A poor fitting saddle could be
impinging the shoulders or crushing the withers (which is part of
the spine). Dental issues that affect the TMJ (temporal mandibular
joint) can interfere with the horse’s proprioception (nervous
system’s knowledge of where the body and limbs are in 3 dimensional
space) and can contribute to tripping and other subtle neurological
Of course, other neurological disorders can cause
tripping, such as EPM (Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis), WNV
(West Nile Virus), Herpes, Viral Encephalitis (EEE, WEE, VEE,
Sleeping Sickness), Wobblers (Cervical Vertebral Instability), and
many more. The horse’s hooves may be too long or imbalanced and a
good trim or shoeing may resolve the tripping. Keep in mind that
some horses are just too lazy to pick their feet up more than they
have to, so they trip more often. These horses may benefit from
trotting cavaletti poles to ‘learn’ where their feet are and to pick
This tip was brought to you by KAM Animal Services, home of KAM’s
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with a question and answer session, so be ready with your nutrition