Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Rushes through Maneuvers or around Obstacles

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

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

  • If you want to rule out any physical issue being a factor in the behavior.
  • Even if the horse does not appear to be lame to you.

Horse owners often tell me they did not think their horse was lame because they saw them galloping around the pasture. Lame horses often gallop.

What is much more difficult for lame horses to do is performing precise, controlled or collected maneuvers. Lame performance horses will often rush through maneuvers rather than collecting and engaging properly. This is one more way in which lameness is demonstrated by horses under saddle. Common lameness conditions, especially back pain, may be the cause of this behavior but it may also be a behavioral or training issue.


Assess your horse at the walk and the trot for lameness on flat ground. Assess their general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), paying particular attention to their limbs, feet and back. Look for swelling, response to pain, or any other abnormalities and share your findings and concerns with your vet. Your vet may be able to detect problems that you cannot.


Your vet will seek to determine whether this behavior is a result of physical or training issues.

I like to study the horse under saddle and observe the behavior myself. I then perform a physical and lameness examination, assess tack fit and examine the horse’s back in attempt to rule out common lameness and musculoskeletal problems. Sometimes if I have questions about whether a performance-related problem is caused by pain, I suggest that we perform a bute trial.

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

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


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