In partnership with Wintec Saddles

It’s something no rider wants to encounter: your horse going lame during a ride. Whilst it’s easy to hop off and give your horse a check if you’re on the yard or in your arena, it can be trickier if you’re miles away from home on a hack. Farrier James Hackett shares a plan of action should you find yourself in this position.

If your horse suddenly goes lame, the first port call is working out what has caused it.

“There are many reasons why your horse can go lame during a hack,” says James. “It could be that they’ve simply got a stone stuck in their shoe that needs to be removed, or it could be something more serious that needs attention from your farrier or vet.”

If you can get off, check the lame foot and leg for any obvious signs of injury.

“If you can dismount, check the foot for puncture wounds or other injuries, or if they’ve pulled a shoe,” advises James. “But it’s also important to consider how lame they are and look at the bigger picture: is your horse still able to walk? Is it safe to get off? Will you be able to get back on again? If not, will you have enough control of your horse from the ground? How far are you from your yard, or do you need to think about calling for help?”

You don’t want to cause your horse pain, but the safety of yourself, your horse and other road users should be considered. If your horse is capable of walking, make your way home slowly.

“You need to use common sense and think about what your horse can handle,” says James. “If they’ve pulled a shoe then avoid abrasive surfaces like gravel or grit, and stick to soft ground like grass verges where possible. If the horse is seriously lame you should consider getting off and lead them in hand.”

If they are non-weight bearing, run through your options. How far are you from home? Is there anyone you could call to bring transport to pick you and your horse up?

“The important thing is getting home safely,” says James. “Once you’re back you can fully assess the situation and call your farrier or vet as needed.”

This content is brought to you in partnership with Wintec Saddles, durable, comfortable, easy-care, weather-proof saddles for everyone.

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