It Pays to Pay Attention
Have you ever seen something or someone in life that was constantly taking on more than it or they were supposed to handle? For example, taking on more work, pressure, stress, etc. until one day they find they cannot take anymore and either give up or break down.
When trying to find the cause of the injury or breakdown, it can be very hard to pinpoint exactly what happened. Was it what happened on the specific day of injury, or was it a lifetime of issues that finally came to a head?
Most of the equine veterinarians I have asked will say that the majority of the major injuries they see come from repetitive strain injuries. Such as the straw the broke the camel’s back, the possibility of this should scare each of us as horse owners. Meaning, if we have our heads in the sand and continue to miss early warning signs, bad things can happen.
My late friend Rickey Green used to say,“Horses can’t speak English; we need to pay attention to what they’re trying to tell us.”
I think warning signs can come in many forms, but I believe some of them might include under-performance, injections, intermittent lameness, constant shoe loss, and erratic behavior. In short, warming sings include anything that is out of the ordinary. Another thing Rickey would say is that “Good horses don’t stop working without a reason.”
In fact, the really good horses might be even harder to figure out because they will try so hard to please us. They will work through the pain of a minor injury by compensating another area of their body until that area gets sore, then they shift it to another area, etc.
The problem with that is the whole horse will break down eventually! Throughout that downward-spiraling process, there are usually some weird things going on that actually are your horse asking for help.
It can be very difficult to pinpoint the exact issue, but gathering all the warning signs like puzzle pieces can give you, your vet, and farrier a clearer vision of the big picture.
The horse is an amazing animal and it doesn’t matter if we’re talking about high performance athletes or pleasure horses; they are directly related to our personal happiness.
We all owe so much to our horses that the least we can do is try to return the favor by taking great care of them.
God Bless America, and our Horses…