Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Resists Moving Forward Under Saddle, Lazy

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 want to rule out any physical issue being a factor in the behavior.

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.

This sign can be associated with physical problems, or relate to training. If a horse that normally moves forward willingly suddenly seems unwilling, it may be likely that pain, lameness or illness may be causing the problem. If on the other hand, the horse has always seemed like this, it may be a training issue, or simply the horse’s natural tendency. Of course, horses that are physically unfit will tend to be less forward and will tire easily.

There are common sense factors to consider, as well. For example, if the horse is dull heading away from the barn, and very animated and forward on the return to the barn, there is likely not a physical factor causing the behavior.

WHAT TO DO

Consider the horse’s fitness and ability level and your own confidence that this is not a training problem. Assess the horses general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), paying particular attention to rectal temperature, heart rate, capillary refill time and respiratory rate.

Look carefully at the limbs and back for swelling and pain and assess the lower limbs for digital pulse. Look at your tack and how it fits. Discuss the problem with your vet. It may be wise to have them rule out physical factors so that you can focus more on the training aspects of the behavior.

If the horse suddenly stops and will not move forward, and you cannot contact your vet, see the Observation of that name for emergency procedures.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet will try to rule out physical problems through a careful physical exam and lameness evaluation. As with many performance problems, they may want to evaluate the behavior by watching the horse under saddle. Laboratory blood work may be helpful to rule out muscle and metabolic problems.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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