How to Prevent Draft Horse Injuries

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There are a couple of major factors that can cause injuries to a draft horse.

  • Overweight horses (over 1,300 lbs) are at a higher risk of injuries because they have to exert more energy to move their body weight. This can cause stress on joints, tendons and ligaments.
  • The pounds per square inch (psi) is a measurement of weight distribution on the feet. A horse with a large amount of pressure across its feet is more likely to develop problems like sole bruising and stone bruises than one who has an equal distribution of psi across all four hooves.
  • Harder surfaces cause more severe hoof impacts than softer ones do, so if your horse spends most of his time walking on concrete or asphalt instead of softer surfaces like grass or dirt then he may be at greater risk for injury because he is constantly having his soles bruised by harder ground surfaces which causes inflammation in those areas over time which could lead to problems down the road such as laminitis if left untreated long enough

Overweight Horses

At the risk of stating the obvious, heavy horses are at a higher risk of injury. The extra weight puts pressure on joints and muscles and increases the likelihood of strains or torn ligaments. In addition to being more susceptible to injury, overweight horses are not as agile as they should be when ridden. To prevent your horse from gaining too much weight—and thereby reducing his ability to move around freely—take steps to ensure that he gets plenty of exercise and eats a healthy diet.

While restricting food intake is often recommended as a way to help obese horses lose weight, this approach is not usually effective in preventing further weight gain. Instead, it can cause harm by increasing stress levels in your horse’s body and making him more susceptible to illness or disease due to poor nutrition intake (cited by [Morgan]). In fact, research has shown that restricting food intake does not significantly decrease body fat levels (cited by [McKenna])

Horses that have a tendency to become overweight should not be allowed to stand idle in their stalls during the winter.

Horses that are overweight are more likely to become injured, and they should not be allowed to stand idle in the stall during the winter. If your horse is overweight, you can help prevent injuries by bringing him out of his stall and putting him on a treadmill or allowing him to walk outside with other horses. The exercise will help shed some pounds, which will make it easier for your horse to move around safely without getting hurt.

Horses that develop such metabolic problems as insulin resistance, polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM), or Cushing’s disease seem to suffer from more injuries than healthy horses.

Horses that develop such metabolic problems as insulin resistance, polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM), or Cushing’s disease seem to suffer from more injuries than healthy horses.

Insulin resistance and PSSM both cause muscles to be more susceptible to injury because they lack the energy needed for normal function. In other words, these conditions make your horse’s muscles work harder than normal, which can lead to injury when too much stress is placed on them.

Cushing’s disease is caused by tumors in the pituitary gland that produce large amounts of cortisol and therefore suppress lactation so much that the mare may fail to nurse her foal. The result of this hormonal imbalance is a weakened immune system and reduced ability to heal wounds quickly—which means horses with Cushing’s are more likely than others are get hurt!

Pounds per Square Inch

You may have heard the term “pounds per square inch” when you were learning about horse anatomy, but what does it mean? The average horse hoof exerts around 5 pounds per square inch of pressure on a hard surface. However, that number can vary depending on the gait or movement of your horse. In fact, during canter and gallop gaits, a draft horse’s hoof is estimated to exert as much as 10 pounds per square inch!

What does this mean for you? If your horse moves with more of his weight coming down onto his feet at once (like when he trots), then he will need softer surfaces in order to prevent injury to himself and his hooves. A common solution is using rubber mats in indoor arenas or cross-ties made out of rubber strands that are resistant to puncturing through repeated use by animals who stand on them regularly (and also keep their owners from tripping over them). When choosing outdoor areas where horses will be kept overnight before competitions like farm shows or rodeos make sure they’re flat terrain without any sharp rocks sticking out so they won’t puncture through layers

of protective gear such as pads worn underneath saddle pads during competitive events.”

A horse’s weight is distributed evenly over his entire body surface when he is standing still. The pressure on each point of contact with the ground is relatively low, being measured in pounds per square inch (psi).

Pressure is measured in psi (pounds per square inch). When a horse stands still, his weight is distributed evenly over his entire body surface. The pressure on each point of contact with the ground is relatively low—being measured in pounds per square inch (psi).

When the horse moves around, however, this changes dramatically. Hoof impact may increase pressure 200 times. A horse that weighs 2,000 pounds may apply 4–6 tons of force to each hoof when running at full speed or jumping fences! An automobile tire exerts about 20 psi while driving down the highway at 70 mph!

Pressure increases dramatically when the horse moves around. Hoof impact may increase pressure 200 times, up to around 300-400 psi. Thus, a horse that weighs 2,000 pounds may apply 4–6 tons of force to each hoof when running. (For comparison’s sake, an automobile tire exerts about 20 psi.)

The hoof is the horse’s foot. It has two main functional parts: the hoof wall and the sole. The hoof wall is made up of keratin, a tough protein that provides protection for the sensitive inner structures of the foot. The sole is a thick layer of fatty tissue that cushions and supports the weight-bearing structures in your horse’s feet. If your horse has healthy feet, he should be able to walk on his own without limping or favoring one limb over another. This means that he shouldn’t show any signs of lameness when he walks around your property or jumps over obstacles during training sessions with you in an arena or at shows where you compete against other riders and their horses for awards based upon skill level attained through practice drills performed on a course set up using cones or flags placed along pathways where riders have been asked to follow these markers so they do not veer off course while performing tasks such as running barrels at full speed while guiding them around turns before jumping ditches filled with water while running across logs placed across their paths before finally finishing off by going through gates placed randomly throughout this obstacle course… but let’s get back to talking about how important good hoof health really is!

Road Surfaces

Road surfaces are the biggest cause of lameness in horses. The most common problem is a foot injury caused by horses’ hoofs hitting the ground at an angle while they walk or trot, which can damage the soft tissue inside their hooves and lead to inflammation (heel pain). This type of injury is called “navicular syndrome” or “quarter cracks.” If you see your horse limping or favoring a leg, call your veterinarian immediately.

There are many factors that contribute to how much a road surface affects your horse’s feet: topography, road composition, type of shoeing (whether you use shoes or not), distance driven per day and gait that is used during travel will all play a role in determining how often you need to check for signs of problems with their feet on long-distance rides – but no matter what factors are involved it’s important to recognize when something might be wrong so that you can take care of it as soon as possible!

Some road surfaces are harder than others, and harder surfaces cause more severe hoof impacts. If you can see hoof marks in the snow after your horse has been driven on icy roads, the snow is too soft for his delicate feet, and he needs shoes or boots for protection.

If you don’t see hoof marks in the snow, it could mean that your horse’s feet are too hard. If you do see them, however, consider whether or not their hardness is a result of a lack of regular exercise and/or proper nutrition. Horses’ hooves grow about 1/4 inch per month, so horses with hard soles often need to be shod for protection and comfort. In general, hard-soled horses should only be worked on soft ground—such as grass or sand—and never on pavement or other hard surfaces such as gravel roads or ice rinks.

If your horse has soreness in his hooves after a workout (especially when he’s working at faster speeds), have somebody check out his feet closely for bruising. Soreness can lead to lameness if left untreated; take care of any discomfort right away so it doesn’t get worse! The most common cause of hoof soreness is stone bruises: these are small injuries caused by stones hitting against the coronet band of each foot during exercise (they’re also called “stone bruises”).

Checking Hooves Regularly for Sole Bruises and Stone Bruises

  • Check the sole for bruising and punctures
  • Check for the presence of gravel or stones in the hoof
  • Check for signs of bruising on the frog
  • Check for signs of bruising on the sole
  • Check for signs of bruising on the bars

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