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Preventing Bucked Shins and Other Horse Injuries: The Key to a Healthy Career

Understanding Bucked Shins in Horses

Training and caring for your horse can be a time-consuming and rewarding activity. While it may be tempting to push your horse to the limits and see how far they can go, improper training methods can lead to a variety of health issues, including bucked shins, which can be painful and debilitating.

Proper conditioning and rest are crucial to maintaining your horse’s health and strength.

What are Bucked Shins?

Bucked shins are a type of stress fracture that occurs in a horse’s shinbone. Symptoms include pain and swelling, particularly on the front of the leg, as well as lameness when the horse is in motion.

What Causes Bucked Shins?

The condition is commonly caused by repetitive impact from exercise, particularly on hard surfaces.

Horses that are put through excessive workloads, often without proper conditioning, are at an increased risk of developing bucked shins.

Genetics may also play a role in a horse’s predisposition to the condition. It is essential to keep an eye on your horse’s workload and make sure they are not overexerting themselves.

Treatment for Bucked Shins

Treatment usually involves rest and ice therapy to reduce swelling and inflammation. Anti-inflammatory medication may also be used to help soothe the pain.

It is essential to gradually reintroduce the horse to exercise and avoid putting them under a heavy workload too soon. Proper nutrition and regular veterinary exams can help to prevent future occurrences of bucked shins.

Training Young Horses

Training young horses can be an exciting and rewarding experience but requires careful consideration of their physical limitations. Proper conditioning is essential to allow a horse to build strength gradually and reduce the likelihood of injury.

Gradual Workload and Genetics

Gradually increasing the workload over an extended period is crucial to avoid overworking young horses. Genetics and bloodlines can also play a significant role in younger horses’ predisposition to various health issues.

Knowledge of the horse’s breeding history can help you tailor their training regimen to suit their strengths and weaknesses.

Importance of Soft Surfaces

Hard surfaces such as concrete can cause increased inflammation and pain in young horses.

It is essential to provide a soft and forgiving surface to exercise on, such as grass or sand. If hard surfaces are unavoidable, it is crucial to introduce the horse slowly to the environment and allow them to build up their strength gradually.

Treatment and Prevention Strategies

Horses can be vulnerable to a variety of injuries and health problems, from painful bucked shins to career-ending, long-term conditions. Responsible horse owners and trainers must take preventative measures to minimize these occurrences and ensure that their horses stay healthy and sound.

With a combination of rest, conditioning, proper nutrition, and veterinary exams, you can help prevent injuries and promote your horse’s well-being.

Rest and Anti-Inflammatory Medications

At the first sign of a problem, one of the most effective treatments for horse injuries is rest. Depending on the injury’s severity, rest may include stall rest, reduced activity time, or a modified training program.

In cases where pain and inflammation are significant factors, a veterinarian may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications. Super Green horse liniment and dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) are two air-movement anti-inflammatory agents that have been shown to be effective in managing pain and swelling.

Gradual Conditioning and Proper Nutrition

Maintaining your horse’s health extends beyond periods of rest for recovery from injuries or illnesses. A gradual conditioning program, combined with proper nutrition, can help prevent future problems.

A proper warm-up and cool-down routine to avoid strain on the horse’s muscles are also critical. Feeding well-rounded diets rich in calcium and phosphorus can strengthen the bone density, reducing the chances of bone fractures with hard work.

Proper Footing and Veterinary Exams

Regular exercise is essential for a horse’s physical and mental well-being but be mindful of the turf. Given time, hard and improper exercise surfaces can lead to injuries, joint pain, and diseases such as arthritis.

Keeping your horse on good quality footing and maintaining a regular schedule of veterinarian exams can also be beneficial. Investing in careful farrier work to ensure your horse’s legs, hooves, and ankles are in their best condition for training and running can also mitigate some effects of hard work.

A veterinarian can provide guidance on appropriate conditioning programs and identify any underlying health conditions that may require treatment.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Preventative measures are crucial to maintaining your horse’s health and preventing long-term effects of conditions like bucked shins, joint pain, and career-ending injuries. Genetics play a role in horses’ strength, speed, and endurance.

Beyond a horse’s genes, trainers must opt for comprehensive conditioning programs with a mix of sprints and long gallops, allowing each horse to achieve its peak within a recommended range. Workload, nutrition, and preventative care all contribute to the overall physical and mental well-being of a horse.

Horse owners and trainers must invest in their horses’ sufficient time and effort to prepare adequately for a healthy productive career and life. As horses get older, their overall soundness, flexibility, and balance will come under immense pressure.

Putting only minimal amounts of effort in their health, exercise, and training programs now will lead to broken-down horses later. In conclusion, preventative measures are essential to keeping horses healthy, sound and maximizing their performance.

Key strategies include rest and medications to manage pain, gradual conditioning and proper nutrition, and appropriate footing and veterinary exams. Trainers and owners must invest in these practices to ensure the long-term well-being and career success of their horses.

Remember to care for your horse in all aspects of their health, including their limb, hoof, and ankle. This training and care prevent career-ending conditions, such as joint pain, bone fractures, and other significant injuries or health conditions.


1. What are bucked shins?

Bucked shins are a type of stress fracture that occurs in a horse’s shinbone due to repetitive impact from exercise.

2. What can cause bucked shins in horses?

Bucked shins can occur due to excessive workloads, lack of proper conditioning, hard surfaces, and genetics.

3. How can bucked shins be treated?

Treatment may involve rest, ice therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, gradual reintroduction to exercise, and a good diet.

4. What are some key preventative actions for horse conditioning?

Preventative actions for horse conditioning include gradual conditioning, proper nutrition, regular veterinary exams, and appropriate footing.

5. Why is it important to care for horses’ health?

Caring for horses’ health is vital to maintain their physical and mental well-being, minimize the risk of injury, and establish long-term healthy and productive careers.

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