Poor Performance

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Musculoskeletal injury and respiratory and cardiovascular diseases are frequent causes of poor performance. Of musculoskeletal injuries, back disease is common but probably underdiagnosed because it is not always associated with lameness or obvious pain and respiratory disease because it’s not always associated with coughing or nasal discharge.

Different people, horses and disciplines can have vastly different tolerance levels for poor performance, so each case is treated separately. The higher the level of performance expected, the subtler signs of clinical disease need to be to affect performance and clinical signs can be vague (see sports horse health checks).

Common complaints include:

  • Altered demeanour,

  • poorer scores at events,

  • Reduced flexibility, asymmetrical resistance on one reign,

  • bucking, rearing, girth and saddle sensitivity,

  • slower recovery,

  • loss of muscle mass, particularly top line,

  • change in appetite.

Investigating poor performance involves a comprehensive clinical examination after a thorough history has been taken and ancillary exams such as musculoskeletal ultrasound, radiography, endoscopy or blood testing as appropriate. If you think your horse may be underperforming or you have that feeling that things are ‘not quite right’, please give us a call to arrange a consultation.

See also Sports Horse Health Checks…