Category Archives: Horse Health

Bob Avila Leg Care

A clip from Bob’s latest DVD Care For Your Horse. Bob Avila and Monty Crist discuss Leg Care

Originally posted 2012-06-10 08:03:08.

Navicular in Horses

Navicular syndrome in horses is a bit of an unclear issue which has vets disagreeing at times. Unfortunately when horse owners receive this diagnosis they are given little hope for recovery. Luckily Mother Nature has provided us with some wonderful herbs to help ease the symptoms.

Navicular in horses may initially present itself as intermittent lameness and your horse may stumble a lot when trotting. Diagnosis can be achieved with x-rays. The navicular bone is a small bone in the foot of the horse and it is part of the bony skeleton of the leg, It is held in place by ligaments.

Foot problems account for 90% of all lameness and it is extremely important to take good care of your horse’s feet. Navicular Syndrome can be caused by poor shoeing and weak circulation, correction of both is critical to the improvement of this condition.

When a horse is lame and the foot is thought to be the issue, it is important to eliminate other possible causes. A stone bruise or a crack in the coffin bone could be to blame and an x-ray will usually show the problem.

There are a few issues which may mean your horse has a stronger predisposition to navicular syndrome. Some breeds are more likely to get it and the size of the foot may have a bearing. The smaller the foot on a large horse, the more likelihood of problems. Also the type of activity the horse is involved in. Barrel racing can be particularly stressful on the foot.

If your horse is diagnosed with navicular, there are some very useful herbs you can easily feed. Inflammation is a particular problem so herbs such as Devil’s Claw are great for this. Devil’s Claw will help reduce inflammation and pain without giving a false impression to the horse so he won’t over exert himself.

Devil’s Claw is native to Africa. The root is used for arthritis as it relieves rheumatism and other painful joint disorders. It is also considered a painkiller and has proven to be comparable to cortisone and phenybutazone or bute which is commonly used in this situation. Do not give to mares in foal as it may induce contractions and do not use when gastric ulcers are present.

Circulation is another important issue with navicular and Hawthorn is a great herb for strengthening the heart muscle and increasing the circulation. In Germany Hawthorn is used extensively for heart problems as it is so effective in increasing blood circulation. It acts as a tonic, which widens the blood vessels and reduces high blood pressure.

Hawthorn is one of the oldest traditional medicines used for animals. It is said to be good luck and horses will happily eat it for self- medication if given free access to it. It is said to be one of the best heart tonics available and is beneficial on the circulatory system and blood pressure.

Buckwheat is another very effective herbs for this condition as it strengthens the vessels without affecting blood pressure. Buckwheat is rich in magnesium, calcium, potassium and trace elements.

Herbs that can be of benefit will work by helping the circulation and by reducing the inflammation and pain. It is also important to keep your horse moving which increases circulation and creates good blood flow to the foot.

As with all herbal remedies, concentrating on the whole body will allow your horse to maintain an improved standard of health.


Originally posted 2012-06-03 07:58:57.

Picking Up A Horse’s Hoof

The idea of picking up a horse’s hooves can intimidate some owners since a well-placed horse kick would really hurt! Such caution is good, but in reality if you pick up a horse’s hoof properly you provide him with no leverage or ability to kick you. This is a situation where a person’s worst fears can cause him to imagine an incident that is highly unlikely to occur with careful handling.
Here’s how to safely pick up a horse’s hoof:

Starting with the front hoof, approach your horse diagonally from his front so that he clearly knows you are there – you don’t want to surprise him. Place yourself even with his shoulder and make sure to face his rear; you will both be facing opposite directions during the hoof picking process.
Making sure that your feet aren’t too close to the horse’s hoof, start running the hand parallel to him down his shoulder and along the length of his leg, finally stopping just above his ankle. Gently grasp the ankle portion and click (or otherwise verbally cue him) to ask him to raise his leg. If he’s well trained, that small cue will be more than enough and he’ll do just what you requested. You’re now free to begin picking his hoof.
If your horse is being a bit stubborn or hasn’t learned how to pick up his legs yet try leaning into his shoulder as you run your hand down the back of his cannon bone. You can also gently squeeze/pinch the tendons to further cue him to what you would like. As you perform these physical cues make sure you provide a verbal one also (I make a clicking sound) so the horse later associates your sound with the requested response. Increase the weight you push against his shoulder until he finally lifts his leg as requested.

When picking a horse’s hoof you want to remove all debris from the hoof clefts as well as the rim and frog. Be careful around the frog because it can sometimes be a bit sensitive, particularly if the horse has thrush.

Once you have finished cleaning the front hoof carefully guide it back to the floor; you don’t want to allow the horse to slam it, potentially hitting your foot in the process. Praise your horse and pat him on the front shoulder a bit so he understands that you are pleased with his cooperation, then run your hand along his back to his rear leg. Place yourself in the same position as you did with his front leg and do the process over again.
There is a slight difference between lifting a rear foot and front foot, even though your basic positioning and actions are nearly identical. When you lift your horse’s rear foot he will probably give a little jerk that you might misinterpret as a kick. This is a common reflex reaction among horses and nothing for you to worry about.
Secondly, when you raise your horse’s rear leg you’ll want to step into him a bit so that your hip is underneath his leg. Rest his leg on your thigh, grab his hoof and gently flex it upwards. By doing this you lend him some support and more importantly the position of his leg and his flexed hoof will prevent him from being able to kick you.
Clean the hoof, lower it cautiously as you did the first and praise him. Congratulations – you’re halfway done! The opposite side will be done exactly the same way, but try to return to his front and start the opposite side rather than move around his rear. It’s bad practice to approach or circle all but the most trusted horses via the rear in such close quarters since a horse would be within range to strike.
When lifting any hoof try to make sure your horse is properly squared (balanced evenly on all four legs) so that when you lift one hoof he can easily balance on his remaining three. At no time should the horse actually lean his weight on you! Even when you rest his rear leg on your thigh you’re not allowing him to use you as a crutch.

Once you have picked your horse’s hooves a few times it will probably become very simple and take less than 5 minutes to clear all hooves. Most trained horses will raise their hoof for you the moment they feel your leg run down their leg.
It is a very good idea to control your horse’s head while you are picking his hooves. This can be done by attaching his halter to crossties or asking a partner hold your horse’s head. By controlling his head you ensure your horse can’t move away from you while you’re trying to pick his hooves, or worse… turn around and take a bite at your rear!


Jeffrey Rolo, owner of AlphaHorse and an experienced horse trainer and breeder, is the author of the above article.  You will find many other informational articles dealing with horse training and care as well as games and other horse fun on his website:

Originally posted 2012-05-18 07:51:53.

Signs of Laminitis in Horses – Symptoms of Laminitis

A horse with laminitis will likely have sore feet. If you notice your horse doesn’t seem to feel good & seems extremely unwilling to walk even out of his stall, it could be laminitis. Sometimes horses with laminitis will stand with their legs tucked underneath their body. This happens because laminitis most often affects the front feet. Your horse is trying to take the weight off the painful areas by supporting a much of himself as he can with his back feet. In some cases laminitis and founder can also affect the rear feet.

If you think your horse has laminitis, call a vet immediately! If the condition is allowed to progress, the laminae break down and resulting founder can get so bad that the coffin bone can actually come through the bottom of the sole. A horse left suffering with this case will more than likely have to be euthanized.

In a less serious case the horse can probably be saved, but will usually require a long painful recovery and sometimes surgery. In the mildest case your horse may need special shoes. How it all plays out depends on how fast you get your horse to a vet.

Laminitis and founder are serious conditions. The two words are often used interchangeably, but actually refer to two different conditions. Laminitis involves an inflammation of the laminae, which are sensitive tissue I horse’s feet. If it progresses, a bone in the bottom of the foot known as the coffin bone actually rotates, and this is called founder.

Horse training made simple is based on the belief that you can build a balanced relationship with your horse using simple but assertive methods that result in gaining trust and respect from your horse. I consult and provide helpful information & resources to enhance your horsemanship.



Originally posted 2012-05-03 07:47:50.

Equine Founder

Equine founder is a very serious condition that is due to the complications and tissue damage of the foot after one or more attacks of laminitis. If not treated properly, founder can cause serious and permanent damage to your horse. If you suspect that your horse has laminitis or founder you should immediately start treatment before it gets worse. Read the information below to find out more about equine founder and how to treat it.

What Causes Laminitis?

Laminitis can be caused by several factors including eating too much grain, lush pasture (especially in the springtime), drinking large amounts of cold water when overheated, overweight horses that do not get enough exercise, too much work on a hard surface and stressful situations. Laminitis causes the feet to become very painful and you will notice this when your horse walks. Most of the time only the front feet will be affected, but it can also affect the hind feet as well.

What Exactly Is Laminits And Founder?

Laminits is an infection of the tissue that connects the coffin bone to the hoof wall (this tissue is called laminae). As these layers separate they cause severe pain in the sensitive tissues underneath the hoof wall. Equine founder then occurs as the laminae die which causes the coffin bone to become unattached to the hoof. The arteries and veins also become damaged and the remaining tissues around the coffin bone will be crushed. With severe cases of founder the coffin bone will rotate downwards through the sole of the hoof to the ground.

How Do I Treat Equine Founder?

The earlier that you can start treating founder the better. Not only do you need to start treating this right away to cure it, but you must also remember that this is a very painful condition for your horse and the sooner that you can relieve his pain, the less stressed out he will be. Treatment options vary depending on the severity of the case but you should immediately call your veterinarian as he may need to administer pain killers, fluids or antibiotics and give you other information. Corrective shoeing with heart bars as soon as possible is a very effective method to cure founder, however it is important that your farrier knows how to shoe a foundered horse correctly.

Equine founder will not get better on its own and will only get worse the longer you wait. By starting treatment as soon as possible, your horse can recover from this painful condition and be sound once again.

Is your horse suffering from laminitis or equine founder? Don’t wait until it’s too late to cure him. For more important information about this serious condition including symptoms, causes and treatment methods Click Here.

Originally posted 2012-05-01 07:47:15.

What Founder looks like in a horse

Rick Gore shows a horse suffering from laminitis / founder. I have a couple of links here you can copy and paste to explain founder in more detail. I discuss causes of founder, like too much rich pasture grass or too much grain. You will see this horse shifting her weight, walking slowly, appearing to be in pain and discomfort, her head is low, ears are floppy and her entire demeanor says pain and discomfort. Technically this horse has laminitis and is not in full blown fonder, if this horse was left on rich pasture grass it would turn into Founder. Often these terms are used interchangeable in the horse world.

Originally posted 2012-04-27 07:46:39.

Laminitis offers a Webinar where you can now listen, watch, and learn about what happens within the hoof of a laminitic horse, common causes of laminitis, how horse owners can work with their veterinarians to prevent the disease, and treatment methods.
In May, brought you the industry’s first Web-based live seminar “Understanding Laminitis,” featuring two practitioners and researchers who have spent their lives trying to solve the mystery of laminitis and help horses and their owners. Rustin Moore, DVM, MS, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, and Jim Belknap, DVM, MS, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, of The Ohio State University (OSU), hosted the live Webinar at the OSU veterinary school.

Originally posted 2012-04-26 07:44:33.

How To Treat Your Horse In Desperate Situations

Be on the lookout for these types of signs: unforeseen fatigue, sleepiness, stumbling, panting, improved temperature, and elevated pulse and/or breathing rate. If you notice these signs within your horse, he is probably overheated. One thing to do when you think your horse has heatstroke is to cool him off. Cooling the horse down may help lessen the horse’s temperature.

Move him to a shady area. Supply him drinking water, but do not permit him to consume too much – give a quart or so every few minutes as opposed to a whole trough immediately. Pour cold water above his back, and also have a fan blowing on him if you can. When you are performing these things, make sure that he can reach his salt lick. If he is overheated, he has probably lost lots of salt and other electrolytes as part of his sweat – the salt lick may help restore them.

When there is no development in your horse’s symptoms within half an hour, get in touch with your veterinarian for assistance. A very high temperature may signify infection. A normal horse’s temperature can vary by 3 degrees based on ecological factors. Horses tend to have higher temperatures in warm weather and also in the course of and after exercise, anxiety or exhilaration. A high fever does not always reveal a severe condition, however it is a good idea to take your horse’s temperature often and if the temperature is very high, you must get in touch with the vet. Probably the most precise method to take a horse’s temperature is rectally.

Constantly get a string to the end of the thermometer, so that it does not get lost. Tack shops and drug stores sell all sorts of thermometers. Plastic material digital thermometers work perfectly and tend to be easier to use, and quite a few of them beep when they are done. Make sure that if you use an older mercury-type temperature gauge that you shake down the mercury before you take the horse’s temperature. The horse should be attached or held still by an associate. Lubricate the end of the thermometer with petroleum jelly or oil.

Horse supplements can make your horse stronger, healthier, and much less susceptible to sickness. Just be sure you know what to do in emergencies. Move the horse’s tail to the side and into position and place the thermometer within the horse’s rectum, angled slightly to the ground. Do not stand directly behind the horse. For the most accurate reading, leave the thermometer in position for at least 3 minutes. A lot of digital thermometers work well in under 1 minute. Constantly cleanse the thermometer well before returning it to its case and especially if utilized on an ill horse, to avoid the dispersing of an illness.


Horse supplements specialists have various advice and expert opinions on how you take good care of your beloved equines using the supreme horse vitamins in their day-to-day diet regime.


Originally posted 2012-04-17 07:41:49.

Caring for Your Older Horse!

Over the years, there have been many advances in nutrition, management and health care of horses. With these advances, horses are living longer, more youthful and happy lives. It is not uncommon for horses these days to live well into their 20s and 30s. While the breed and genetics play a role in determining the life span, you too, play a tremendous role.

It has been a long conceived idea that the best thing to do with an older horse is to turn them out to pasture, but each horse is different. Some enjoy being active with other horses, others enjoy being idle and enjoying a slower pace in their life. It is best not to ignore the body language of your horse. Below, are some ideas, which are a good rule of thumb for caring for your aging horse.

**Keep an eye on your horse on a daily basis and watch for any changes in their behavior and attitude. If anything seems out of ordinary with your horse, even something small, be sure to tend to it right away.

**This one is a no brainer, but make sure the food that you are feeding your horse is not moldy or contaminated with bugs.

**While feeding your older horse, be sure to give it the seniority it deserves. Feed the younger horses at another spot, so your older horse won’t have to fight for its food. Also, feeding your horse two to three times a day is best.

**Make sure your horse has plenty of fresh, clean water on a daily basis. Too much cold water reduces their water consumption, and can lead to health problems, such as colic.

**Make sure you balance their food intake, to maintain proper body weight and condition. For example, in the winter time it may be best to give your horse a little extra food at each feeding to help keep their body temperature where it should be and vice versa in the summer.

**Be sure to give your older horse plenty of exercise to maintain muscle tone, flexibility and mobility.

**Frequent grooming of your horse is a must for the health of their skin and coat.

**Make sure your horse has a clean stall with fresh wood shavings for horse bedding.

**Schedule routine checkups with your veterinarian.

Finally, make sure you respond quickly to injuries, decline in fitness, and when your horse may get sick. This means you will have less worry and your old buddy will have a better quality of life in his/her golden years!


Go to for more information on quality horse bedding!


Originally posted 2012-04-16 07:41:16.

Grooming your horse, the Laura Bechtolsheimer way

Laura Bechtolsheimer and her groom Carole Levitt, at Lauras Gloucestershire yard. This isnt any ordinary grooming demo or any ordinary horse! Laura and her head groom Carole demonstrate the Bechtolsheimer method of grooming on her team ride, Mistral Hojris. For those that havent experienced the time-honoured tradition of banging (otherwise known as strapping), this video is a must!

Originally posted 2012-04-15 07:30:04.