Checking for Neurological ConditionsBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · February 17, 2010
Your horse stumbles. Does he need a trim, is he just being lazy, or does he have a potentially serious neurologic condition? A veterinarian should examine any horse whose owner is concerned about neurologic disease, but an easy ground procedure can give an owner a partial answer.
Ask the horse to back up while his head is being held as high as possible. A horse with neurologic trouble may scramble or even sit down, while a healthy horse should be able to move back fairly smoothly.
Another check: again from the ground, pick up one of the horse's front hoofs and put it down so that his front legs are crossed. Healthy horses will have no trouble uncrossing their legs, which a horse with neurologic disease will struggle, and possibly fall, while trying to change position.
Handlers should use extreme caution when working with horses that may be unsteady or likely to lose their balance.