I thought Valentine was limping a little when I let him out of the barn this morning. As I watched him throughout the morning, it seemed to me something was wrong. Although he is more of a loner, this morning he wasn’t eating when I put out hay and he just stood there next to the other horses looking sad. And he seemed to be standing funny but it’s hard to tell with him. He’s such a big Walking Horse, with dominant hips. Worried, I haltered him, walked him up the muddy hill to the barn, and hosed off his feet and legs while he ate grass in my back yard while I had a look. Everything seemed normal. So I dragged him away from the yummy grass and took him for a walk down the street. It’s not the first time. In fact, I do it pretty frequently to exercise the horses and to keep them familiar with things that otherwise might spook them, like the neighbors barking dogs, cars and tree stumps. After a nice walk I was able to determine that he’s walking normal and there is no swelling and no visible lacerations. Maybe he was just still from being in the barn all night. He drank a normal amount of water, ate all of his overnight hay and his poop looked okay. After returning him to the barn for further observation, I noticed he was eating hay, though I gave him the best we had.
I did notice it’s time for a hoof trim and some new shoes. I want to check into those shoes that are slip-resistant on pavement, too. The street in front of our house has some elevation and Valentine seemed to slip a little on the smooth pavement.
Incidentally, in the photo above I am not holding the lead rope correctly. I figured this out eventually, that you don’t want the rope wrapped around your hand because the horse can move suddenly and then the rope would tighten around your hand. There are times when the safest thing to do is to let go of the lead rope and you can’t do that when it’s tight around your hand.
So do you take your horse for walks down the street?