What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


Kicks Out with a Hind Limb Under Saddle


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.

  • 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.

your role


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.

your vet's role

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.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?
  • When did you first notice this behavior?
  • Do you notice any lameness?
  • When did you last notice the horse behaving normally?
  • Describe the type of exercise and riding that you do with your horse.
  • Have you been riding the horse all along or are you a new rider?

Treatments Your Vet May Recommend

A way to resolve the condition or diagnosis. Resolving the underlying cause or treating the signs of disease (symptomatic treatment)

Very Common
more treatments

further reading & resources

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP