What was the last thing you learnt about horses?

Mary Poppins

Well-Known Member
Oct 10, 2004
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I think that it fair to say that most people on here don't know everything. Most of us are learning as we go along and trying to do our very best to improve our knowledge for the benefit of our horses. So what was the last thing that you learnt about horses?

I have been reading loads about horse physiology and trying to understand how their bodies work. I have been reading an excellent book by Gillian Higgins. There are two things that really stuck in my mind this evening.

1. The pedal bone and the coffin bone are the same thing! I never knew this. A horse on my yard has a coffin bone problem and I thought that it was higher up than the pedal bone.

2. A horse who travels in a lorry for an hour does the equivalent exercise of trotting for 20 minutes. This is because they have to brace and tense their muscles so they don't fall over.

What was the last thing you learnt?
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chunky monkey

Well-Known Member
May 2, 2007
Well I had a really good education last October when we disected the horse leg. Much as it smelled bad and sounded gross. It really gives you an insight into how the horse leg is made up.
Two years ago I also went to a function and they had a vet who painted on the main bones, then the tendons etc on the outside of the horse. Then you could asked where this and that was and the vet painted on the outside of the horse.


Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2003
Very interesting Mary P that the colloquial English names for bones which ought to make life easier have turned out to be a hindrance?
My education about horses' legs came from a book by Sara Wyche called Understanding the Legs of the Horse which uses the official medical terms? So I didnt have a clue what a pedal bone was and there is just one reference to the words :pedal or coffin bone (distal phalanx)
One isnt actually able to remember the scientific names unless one is doing the skeleton in BHS stage 1 which I guess is why I had the book in the first place.

And since I never had a good memory and am pretty lazy, I confess I never bothered to check and interpret mary P your account of what was going on with Ben.Took you post to make me get pout the book.
It does have an interesting chapter or two on diagnosis of lamenenss, first discussing time scales over which things build up. And then offering a systematic approach to diagnosis as used by vets. The author is a vet. But I never looked at that till today as I never had a horse.I bought her books at the shop at a top level dressage yard.
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With out my boys life would be bland
Apr 16, 2009
That pulled muscles in horses get missed a lot. People call the vet who will say Bute and box rest because they can’t see or find anything. The horse in not lame but not quite right.

The test works and horse comes back ok after a week or two.

Ginger felt off when collected on walk I jumped off let him have day off tried again he felt the same I could feel it was is left hind but couldn’t see anything and no heat. I remembered he slipped a couple of days prior.

I called my physio who after a quick look over and touch spotted the issue pretty much straight away. One treatment later lots if stretched and gentle walk nearly back to normal
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Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
Suffolk, UK
Feet, distal limbs, movement and proprioception has been my quest for knowledge recently. I learnt basic trimming about 10 years ago and picked up bits and bobs since but have been more proactively learning for the last 4 years (before jess went lame when we were prepping for big rides and throughout and since the lameness), watching dissections, going to courses and reading mountains of different research papers and opinions as there a lot about feet that science is yet to understand. Thickening on the sole around the tip of the frog was thought to be sole development by some farriers/trimmers but recently study under microscope showed its bar material which actually causes the sole under it to thin.
My other pet project is nutrition (that's been a long standing interest) I'm getting more into the nitty gritty of mineral balancing at the moment and how land management impacts that.
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Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2004
On an island
Hmm. Last thing I learnt. Well, I didn't know until late on last year that the reason her leg was feeling lumpy still was the formed scar tissue. Now it has healed - it's still palpable. Shame the other leg is now damaged!!! I also learnt about her teeth and gum gaps. The wider one is getting better now. We fill the other side with the purple putty and hope it stays put for as long as possible. But the other side is healing very nicely now as food and debris can get out. So end of the day, they reach a point of the space getting bigger and stuff doesn't seem to get caught in there so badly, well it does but it can get out more easily.
That's about it really! Not very technical at all. I am always hungry for horse knowledge and every vet visit I do tend to ask lots of questions. I'm not big on reading lengthy articles written by vets as such, papers meant for fellow vets or vet students, but I do enjoy Horse and Rider articles and my vets newsletter which are aimed at the average horse owner.
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Dolly gray

Apr 3, 2018
That it doesn' matter how careful you are about horses weight they will still unexpectedly get laminitis. Mine gets taped every week same day almost same ime and that a grazing muzzle is brilliant.


Well-Known Member
Mar 15, 2008

She can spin me off just walking!

I think I just had a lightbulb moment taking photos yesterday. I will add that to the diary later.

As her owner I know her well, but she knows herself better.
We both know her strength, we both know she can use it, I pray she has learnt some manners not to.

Horses in general.

A horse hasn't read the textbook you have. You will always find one that is outside the box.

A horse in season can actually be lame/go lame. Horses respond to pain in different ways. On a lameness vet workout she went lame. I think the vet learnt something that day as well.

A mare is an entire. You might be unlucky in owning a total slapper! :rolleyes:

Devils Claw is bloody brilliant.

That despite what life throws at you, you can learn to love another after loss.


Well-Known Member
Feb 13, 2017
I don't have anywhere near the knowledge levels of some on here, but I saw a horse with laminitis yesterday for the first time and I learned just how heart breaking it is to see and how awful it is for them. Stuff like that always prompts me to look into a condition further.


Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2012
Mines a little bit 'dumber' but I only found out a couple of weeks ago that the lower the number in a prelim the easier the test. It's probably the same for other levels?


Well-Known Member
Mar 15, 2008
Mines a little bit 'dumber' but I only found out a couple of weeks ago that the lower the number in a prelim the easier the test. It's probably the same for other levels?
Only if you can learn it. :D
Some tests just do not want to stay put. So ride what you can learn and enjoy.
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Dec 3, 2017
That the word 'novice' when used in a competition context relates to the horse and not the rider!


Dec 3, 2017
it does??
I know absolutely nothing about the world of horse riding ( but trying to learn) and was watching a jumping competition. I asked someone who was competing and that’s what I was told. If that’s not correct I will have a go myself when I have the right skills.


Active Member
Jan 8, 2017
I know absolutely nothing about the world of horse riding ( but trying to learn) and was watching a jumping competition. I asked someone who was competing and that’s what I was told. If that’s not correct I will have a go myself when I have the right skills.

oh i just awllay though otherwise but I don;t know that much about the horse ring world either not experipenced enough yet


Well-Known Member
Apr 30, 2017
That horses sometimes find bigger jumps easier rather than little ones.

That bitting is as much an art as it is a science.

And watching a horse move (freeschool) with no rider on it is very interesting in terms of how they jump, and their natural movement and how they balance. And also watching a horse trot up and seeing the difference between “stiff” and “lame” on a hind is interesting.


Well-Known Member
Mar 15, 2008
I've been learning a lot about polo!
My only knowledge is watching a few matches. But I do know someone who has a string of them.
I messed about with the cob, but she cheats and goes for the ball herself. :D
I want a cheap mallet to start again.


Well-Known Member
Jun 21, 2000
And also watching a horse trot up and seeing the difference between “stiff” and “lame” on a hind is interesting.

Sounds interesting.

The last thing I learned was on Friday and to not quite give up yet. My horse has been off and on the last month. I moved him in March to another yard that offered me temporary grazing. He was there for a month, then he went hopping lame. I had a look found nothing, but box rest after 48 hours seems to sort it out. Called the vet anyway but as he was stabled somewhere new and on his own he wasn't having it and became downright nasty when the vet went to look at his foot (he had come sound that day when she came though ! :rolleyes:)

Decided to bring him home and stable him there. Worked a treat, he was much happier and settled (loading him was 'interesting' :eek:) but again we went through the same cycle and after 5 weeks, I thought it's not fair on him and I had given him a good go. Stabled him for one last 'go', and on Friday tearfully phone the vets to have him PTS this week. Through luck, my farrier was at the yard and I asked if he would take another look as horse was stabled. Lo and bloody behold, he had a massive abscess at his toe that wasn't there the week before nor when the vet had a look 3 weeks ago. Quite a few tears where shed and he's not sporting a boot, lots of pus coming out too :sick:.

If my farrier hadn't had been there that day …

He's still quite sore now but I can put that down to his abscess as he had a fair bit cut around the toe but now I'm in in a fingers crossed mode that hopefully when the pus stops coming out then he will get sound .. I hope :(
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