What Injuries Can a Horse Sustain From Pulling Back?

What kind of physical damage can be done when a horse pulls back violently? A sports medicine practitioner weighs in.

No account yet? Register


horse pulling back
A change in posture or gait or lack of desire to move would warrant an examination by your veterinarian. | Photo: iStock

Q.Recently I witnessed a tied horse pull back very violently. I’m wondering what kind of physical damage a horse can do to himself when he pulls back. What kinds of physical injuries could be sustained? Any spinal column nerve damage? Muscle damage and, if so, which muscles could be affected? How can you reduce a horse’s pain after a violent pull back? Should you ever call the vet?

—Laura Ponter, via e-mail

A.Horses can create amazing forces, especially when in flight mode. In the scenario questioned, the main areas of stress are through the spinal column—especially the neck

Create a free account with TheHorse.com to view this content.

TheHorse.com is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into TheHorse.com.

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.


Written by:

Scott Anderson, DVM, graduated from Virginia/Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in 1984 as part of its inaugural class. A New England native and a Richmond, Virginia, area resident for more than 30 years, Anderson joined Woodside Equine Clinic as an associate and then purchased the practice in 1989. He has a special interest in equine sports medicine and lameness.

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

When do you vaccinate your horse?
346 votes · 346 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with TheHorse.com!