Checking your horse for pain issues is a complicated process that does require an experienced qualified person or vet to make a full assessment. There are things you, the horse owner can do & observe too to check for pain issues. The first sign can be observing your horse in the pasture and when your horse is moving around when being worked on the ground and when being ridden.
Things to look for are.
Are they holding or bracing any part of their body?
Are they limping or look uncomfortable?
Do they have any behavioural issues?
Is there body symmetrical (stand in front of your horse and check the way they hold their head) – does it hang to one side?
Do they cock their tail to the side when being ridden or tail swishing?
Do they rest one leg more than another?
Do their hooves wear unevenly? Or toes drag?
Not sure if you need a bodywork session? Here are a few basic tips you can use to help assess your horse to see if they need a soft tissue bodywork session, please note not all horses will show pain with these checks – its best to employ and practitioner to double check for you. Keep your eye on your horse’s face, ear’s and nose & body posture for any signs of discomfort.
1. Stand your horse on a level surface. Tie your horse up or have someone hold your horse for you.
2. Slowly run your hands over the horse and feel for hot or cold areas or any areas that may have a reaction.
3. Pick up each leg and feel for any tightness or restrictions.
4. Press your thumb or finger firmly into the areas with the arrows (see photo)
5. Run your fingernail or tip of a pen lid (you need something pointy) in the head to tail (caudal direction) or top to bottom, along the yellow lines.
6. Run your finger firmly along the green lines in a caudal direction.
What reactions do you get? Did you horse twitch or move? Did your horse throw his head or try to kick or bite? Did you feel any tight or cold areas? Did you see any nerves twitch?
Please seek professional help if you are unsure how to check your horse. Definity book a soft tissues bodywork session with your local practitioner.
Please feel free to ask Belinda during an Equine Touch session how to check your horse’s pain or how to help prevent pain issues. Free Saddle check and basic check with your Equine Touch session.