Digital Cushion

The digital cushion is a wedged-shaped structure with a fibro-fatty composition in the foal and in the colt, and it hardens into a fibrocartilagineous tissue in the adult horse. It is very elastic and has very few blood vessels and nerves.

It is located in a wedged-in position between the lateral cartilages on the side, then deep flexor tendon on the top and the frog on the bottom and rear. It separates the frog and the bulb from underlying tendons, …

Navicular Disease

Navicular disease is the name given to the pain in the area of the navicular bone. It may involve inflammation of the navicular bursa, cartilage or tendon destruction, and bone changes. Pain may be mild or severe.

The signs of navicular disease include pointing the toe of the afflicted foot with the heel off the ground. Changes take place in the form of the hoof and it becomes contracted at the heel. Skilled use of hoof testers is the best …

Rocker-toe Shoe

The rocker-toe shoe is frequently used in conjunction with the egg bar to alleviate tension on the deep flexor tendon at the moment of breaking over. The amount of bend in the rocker-toe can be determined by looking at the wear on the old shoe or the wear on the toe of the barefoot horse.

The rocker-toe is valuable to help horses suffering from:

The rocker-toe also reduces stress on …

Sliding Plates

Sliding plates are shoes used on the back feet of reining horses to help them slide across the ground while they are in the sliding stop.

Sliders should be long and U-shaped. The toe should be round and rolled slightly. The shoe heel should be extended back to the end of the hoof bulbs. An important feature of sliding plates is that the inside heel should be narrower and longer than the outside heel.


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Floating Teeth

Floating, a method of equine dental care, refers to filing the sharp edges of molars and premolars.

The lateral grinding movement of the jaw develops chisel-shaped surfaces on the inner edge of the lower and the outer edge of the upper molars. It is sometimes necessary to file down these sharp edges. Floating helps to prevent injury to the tongue and mouth.

For more information on Equine Dental Care:


Cryptorchid Stallion

Cryptorchid is an animal that has had one or both testes remaining in the abdominal cavity that fails to descend into the scrotum. Cryptorchidism can either be unilateral, where one testicle fails to descend, or bilateral, where both testicles fail to descend. A cryptorchid still produces testosterone and will show stallionlike behaviors. Photo courtesy: Debra Hagstrom, University of Illinois.

For more information, see Stallion Anatomy Exam.…

Draft Horse Breed

Draft horse team

In contrast to pony and light horse breeds, draft horses are the gentle giants of the industry. These horses may also be characterized as a heavy horse breed that stands from 15 to more than 18 hands tall and can weigh more than 2,000 pounds.

They were the workhorses used for agriculture production and hauling freight in days gone by. Today, many draft horses are used on farms and ranches across North America and in exhibition hitches in the show …


Mare's Vulva

Caslicks is an operation to partially suture together the lips of the vulva. Caslicks are used to prevent fecal contamination problems in mares that have abnormal vulva conformation. Mares that have a Caslicks must have the lips of the vulva opened at least 30 days prior to foaling.

See Management of the Pregnant Mare for more information.…

Cribbing in Horses


Cribbing is a serious vice in horses that can lead to:

  • Weight loss
  • Wear down the top incisors
  • Cause horses to be more prone to colic


What is Cribbing?

Cribbing is when the horse grasps onto a surface (often wood) with its teeth, flexes its neck, and swallows air.

Stop Cribbing

There are a variety of cribbing collars and other equipment available to stop cribbing, but most are effective only in reducing cribbing or are not effective at all.…

Disease: Equine Botulism

Botulism is caused by a neurotoxin produced by the anaerobic bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The bacterium is found in the soil. It’s closely related to Clostridium tetani, the bacterium that causes tetanus. The toxins produced by C. Botulinum is one of the most potent poisons known to man. Horses are particularly sensitive to botulinum toxin; untreated foals can suffer up to 90 percent mortality. Mortality is also high in untreated adults.

Clinical Signs

The clinical signs of botulism can …