The horse is as much a part of Utah's landscape as the mountains, the desert, and the fertile meadows of farmland. Ranching and farming make up our economy as well as other industries that make this an interesting state to visit and live. But the horse was our main means of transportation that brought settlers over the great Rocky Mountains to finally settle in the meadows, valleys and deserts or Utah.
Many ranchers raise horses for herding cattle and other livestock, ranchers run popular dude ranches that are sprinkled in the northwestern part of the state, some ranchers raise quarter horses for racing and finally, ranchers raise horses for the personal enjoyment and appreciation.
Here is a bit of trivia that horse lovers (from afar) may not know: 98% of horses are pigeon toed and are at risk of becoming lame. This condition is a common affliction but it is difficult to recognize. While a horse's feet point straight ahead, the horse can still be pigeon toed and early detection to correct is important to the horse's health. Here are a few tips on how to check:
-Stand directly in front, about 4 feet away so you can get a good look.
-Scan up and down the horse's front legs, starting above the knees and moving down to the feet.
-Check to see how the horse's knees are pointed and how the feet are pointed.
-If the feet and knees do not point in the same direction, the horse is at risk of becoming lame which could be permanent. Even if the feet are pointing straight ahead, if the feet and knees don't line up, there is a problem that needs to be addressed.
-The horse's feet will break over the direction the knees point. If the break over is out of alignment, it will twist the knee joint and eventually cause lameness.
-You can tell uneven wear on the horseshoes to confirm if the horse is pigeon toed.
Consult with your vet and your farrier and blacksmith to discuss how to correct the imbalance by designing the right shoe for the horse. Since pigeon toed horses is common, the experts can help find the right ways to make corrections for the horse. And by the way, be sure and wear your ladies cowboy boots or men's cowboy boots whenever you're around a horse.
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