Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Kicks Out with a Hind Limb Under Saddle

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

  • If you notice lameness in addition to this sign.
  • If you feel the problem is severe or has come on suddenly.

Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

  • If you notice this only intermittently and lameness is not obvious.

Kicking out under saddle can be strictly a behavioral problem, but can also be a sign that the horse is uncomfortable high in the hind limb. Horses that kick out a hind limb, particularly at the canter, may have specific but sometimes very subtle lameness or neurologic conditions.

WHAT TO DO

Assess your horse’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), paying particular attention to the symmetry of the top of the hip when viewed from behind. Look for areas of swelling or asymmetry of the back, and assess the legs. Consider whether there are other signs of lameness or deficiencies in performance. Contact your vet with your findings and concerns.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet may perform a lameness exam and other lameness diagnostics to rule out possible causes for the behavior.

In some cases, I recommend a course of phenylbutazone for the horse (a bute trial). If the behavior disappears while the horse is on bute, it is suggestive that pain is playing a role in the behavior.

Helpful Terms & Topics in HSVGWritten, Reviewed or Shared by Experts in Equine Health

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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