Resting A Front Foot
When relaxed, it is common for a horse to rest it’s back foot. However, it is not normal for a horse to hold a front leg in the same way. If your horse is pointing a front toe, holding up it’s leg, or standing with one front leg way out in front of another (when not grazing) it can mean they are sore or hurt. It might require a vet visit or it may be an abscess. If you see this in your horse, contact your vet to get advice.
Repeated Flehman Response
The Flehman Response is when a horse smells something and lifts it’s top lip up and scrunches it’s nose. It is most commonly done by stallions when they smell mare’s urine. However, if your horse is doing it repeatable for no explainable reason, it can mean they are in pain. Some horses lift their lip when they are colicky or have muscle soreness.
Sucked Up In The Flanks
If your horse ever appears hollow over the flanks, check their water intake! A dehydrated horse will look this way. Make sure your horse’s water is clean, and not frozen or too hot from the sun. Another cause for them to appear to be sucked up, is from pain. Colicky horses will be drawn up and horses with hind end or back pain will also have this appearance.
Resistance To Moving After Workouts
This specific problem is related to tying up. This calls for an immediate call for advice. Forcing a horse to move when they tie up can cause serious and permanent muscle damage. Always properly warm-up and cool down your horse. Make sure to offer them water if out for a prolonged ride or at a show.
Biting On Troughs Or Stall Bars
Horses that are bored will often find something to chew, lick or bite. If your horse is always biting on the bars of the fence or stall they could be setting themselves up to be a cribber. Cribbing is almost impossible to cure once established, but it can be prevented. Boredom, stress and ulcers can cause cribbing. Try offering your horse more hay throughout the day. Up their exercise or turn out time. If you board, ask the barn owner if they have noticed them actually sucking in wind, this is what gives the horse the “high” that makes them do it over and over again.
Laying Down For A Long Time, Or At A Weird Time
It isn’t weird for a horse to lay down, but it is weird for a horse to lay down for hours at a time or in the middle of eating. A lot of horses like to take nap after their morning feed or in the afternoon sun. If your horse stops eating to go lay down, it can be the first sign of colic. Learn your horse’s daily routine, so you know what is normal or not.
Sensitive To Touch On Back Or Croup
All horses are prone to back issues. Back soreness can be caused by injury, poor saddle fit, improper riding, over work, reproductive issues in mare, or ulcers. If your horse is touchy in their back or croup, have your vet do an evaluation.
Leaving Chewed Up Balls Of Hay Behind
Have you noticed little balls of hay left over in your horses feeder? This can mean several things. The first place to look is their teeth. If your horse is due for a float, they could not be chewing properly. Also, horses that have lost teeth will sometimes have problems chewing hay.