But why do I let horses move on different surfaces during the lameness examination?
The different surfaces each have different goals.
On a tough surface there’s more being asked from the tissues that enable shock absorption. Think about tissues like the hoof itself, the mechanisms within the hoof and the cartilage.
You can also discover other hoof related issues and problems within the joints.
On a soft surface you can find out more about the tissues that are being stretched and deliver strength. For example the different tendons in the legs and the muscles in the body.
When you suspect that your horse has a bruise or hoof ulcer, he should theoretically be more lame on a tough surface than on a soft surface.
The reason that I let horses move on a circle, is because that enables me to be more precise about the exact spot of the pain.
Again, these are rough rules and don’t give 100% certainty.
But often, when the problem lies in the bottom part of the leg, the horse is more lame when that leg is on the inside of the circle.
So when your horse has an ulcer in his left hoof, he will be lamer when he’s going to the left than when he’s going to the right.
It’s the other way around when the problems are higher in the leg. They become more clear when that leg is on the outside.
But again, to really know if your horse is lame and why, you can best consult your veterinarian.
You can do the flexion test and let your horse move on a circle (especially with a tough surface) to determine for yourself if a visit from your veterinarian is really necessary.