HANDS ON

EQUUS - - Contents - By Chris­tine Barakat with Melinda Freck­le­ton, DVM

• 'iv­ing legs a look • What’s that sound? • What not to do for a chok­ing horse

Run­ning a hand down each of your horse’s legs is a good habit to de­velop. But what ex­actly are you look­ing for?

Dur­ing the quick passes over your horse’s legs, you’re learn­ing what his nor­mal con­tours feel like. Most ma­ture horses have a col­lec­tion of bumps and lumps that don’t af­fect sound­ness, and you’ll want to be fa­mil­iar with their lo­ca­tion, size and tex­ture. That way you’ll no­tice when some­thing changes: A bump that’s sud­denly big­ger, warmer or squishier is worth a closer look. It’s im­por­tant to feel your horse’s legs ev­ery day (or at least ev­ery other day) to be able to dis­tin­guish nor­mal from not.

Also ob­serve your horse’s re­ac­tion to hav­ing his legs han­dled. It’s not un­usual for a horse to ob­ject mildly to hav­ing cer­tain parts of his legs pal­pated, and some horses can be very sen­si­tive. But if he sud­denly starts flinch­ing or re­acts more than usual, that could in­di­cate trou­ble.

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