Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Stomping Feet on the Ground while Standing

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

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

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

  • If the behavior persists for longer than 30 minutes without an explanation.
  • If you notice lameness in addition to this sign.

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

  • To discuss your equine's general health and management.

Horses usually stomp when there is something irritating their skin, usually on the lower limbs. The most common cause is insects, but irritating substances placed on the skin, or pain generally can cause this behavior too. Horses will also stomp their feet when they are bored, impatient or annoyed. Horses that are unaccustomed to being bandaged may do this until they adapt to a bandage.

Assess the horse’s legs looking for flies. Apply fly spray if necessary. If flies are not the problem, consider whether something else might be irritating the skin. If you have applied a topical treatment to the horse’s skin either under a bandage or without, and this behavior persists for longer than 15 minutes, clean it off and consider using a less irritating alternative.

WHAT TO DO

If the behavior persists without an obvious cause, assess the horse’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), paying particular attention to the horse’s lower limbs and underline. Touch the skin of these areas, feeling for heat, pain response, swelling and for breaks in the skin. Consider any other behaviors that might be related. Offer feed to test appetite and attitude. Feel the affected foot for digital pulse and heat.

If the behavior persists without explanation, contact your vet with your findings and concerns.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet performs a careful exam to rule out skin conditions and conditions causing pain. A close inspection of the lower limbs might reveal a problem causing the behavior.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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