Sidelined: 4 Common Injuries in Western Performance Horses

Western performance horses are a diverse group of equine athletes trained for a variety of disciplines with unique physical demands. Learn about four common injuries veterinarians see in these athletes, how they diagnose them, and what treatments and rehabilitation methods they use to get horses back to business.
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4 Common Injuries in Western Performance Horses
Western performance horses accelerate rapidly and make hard, loaded turns in disciplines such as roping and barrel racing. | Photo: iStock

4 injuries to watch for in Western performance horses

Western performance horses are a diverse group of equine athletes trained for a variety of disciplines with unique physical demands.

“The ‘Western performance horse’ is such a vast, encompassing topic,” says Vern Dryden, DVM, CJF, who owns Bur Oak Veterinary & Podiatry Services, in Lexington, Kentucky, and breeds and shows reining horses.

One thing they have in common—from roping horses to reiners, gymkhana speedsters to cow-cutters, and everything between—however, is they’re all at risk of injury as a result of the stresses their work places on them

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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