Lameness is the most common cause of poor performance in the horse. This makes management of his soundness over the long term integral to both his general well-being and his ability to participate in recreational and competitive activities.

Unfortunately, most equine caretakers are unable to perceive abnormal movement in the horse, extending the period between the onset of a problem and its eventual treatment, and the longer an issue is allowed to persist, the greater the chance that it will progress. Many equine veterinarians also find it difficult to visually decipher lameness, which leads to lengthy, expensive, and often inaccurate diagnostic work-ups.

It is with these two key audiences in mind that Dr. Bob Grisel has teamed up with TSB to create a new book unlike any other. EQUINE LAMENESS FOR THE LAYMAN features hundreds of illustrations and dozens of charts as readers are given a complete course in observing, identifying, and decoding equine lameness. Links to online videos of explanatory case studies narrated by Dr. Grisel are available with a quick scan of your Smartphone throughout, helping you interpret what is seen, plain and simple (no need for medical knowledge of equine anatomy and pathology). Whether you’re a first-time horse owner or seasoned professional, you are guaranteed to come away with a detailed, systematic, and comprehensive method for a happier, healthier equine partner.


“Veterinary examinations are not performed on horses that are considered to be sound by their owners,” writes Dr. Grisel in his book. “It is the horse owner, not the veterinarian, who is best situated to initiate the processes of lameness diagnosis and treatment. Accordingly, observant horse owners make better horse owners.

“Unfortunately, most horse owners and trainers are not proficient at lameness recognition. Consequently only problems that are obvious, chronic, or advanced tend to receive medical attention.

“The utilization of basic visual assessment techniques can help horse owners detect lameness more quickly, thereby starting the diagnostic process sooner and improving the horse’s prognosis for future soundness. Local trainers, farriers, and friends can also assist the owner in prompt lameness recognition. Remember, a veterinary degree is not required to formulate an opinion as to the  existence, location, and possible cause(s) of a horse’s lameness.

“Horse owners who adopt a proactive approach to detecting lameness in their own horse tend to be more successful in whatever equine discipline they undertake. Those that can recognize subtle gait deficits will recognize small problems before they become big problems. The more timely problems are recognized and addressed, the less likelihood they have of becoming long-term or permanent issues. There is also less opportunity for other primary or secondary problems to develop. With fewer areas of the horse being affected, our visual depiction of asymmetry becomes appreciably less complicated.

“Your ability to detect lameness will help you to: Keep your horse in consistent work; save you money by staying ahead of problems that would otherwise incur increased diagnostic and treatment costs; and improve your horse’s chances of performing better for longer.

“The ability to localize the potential source of lameness is also very useful to the horse owner. The recognition of gait deficits consistent with a shoulder problem, for instance, tells the owner that the horse is not suffering from yet another foot bruise. With this knowledge, appropriate measures for further diagnostics and treatment can be initiated swiftly. Competence at differentiating problems that pose performance-limiting risk from those that do not is extremely valuable to equestrians at all levels.”

To view a sample video from Dr. Grisel’s book, scan the QR code below with the QR-code reader on your Smartphone (free to download in the App store):

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EQUINE LAMENESS FOR THE LAYMAN is available now from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE to download a free chapter or to order.

Equine Lameness for the Layman


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Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.