While combing through boards on Pinterest, I was reminded about an informative magazine article titled “Your Horse’s Lumps and Bumps”. Written by the well-known veterinarian, Barb B Crabbe, it is an easy and concise read that contains lots of information for your average horseman.
Some lumps and bumps are merely cosmetic while others can indicate deeper problems. The article teaches readers how to assess the bumps/lumps before calling the veterinarian (so you have some specific information to give the vet to help triage the situation). It then goes on to describe common equine bumps/lumps and what they might mean for your horse.
Pictured above is my first horse, Blue, in 2011 when he was nineteen. I originally bought him when he was nine. At that time, the only leg lump he had was a popped splint. He eventually developed multiple leg bumps on front and back legs in his late teens. The above photo and the photo below were both taken in the year 2011, just a few months apart. The bumps initially were quite small, developing over several years, but really progressed in size in 2011.
When I first noticed them, I called them “old man bumps.” I figured they were a result of old age and probably harmless. I later went on to learn that the bumps were most likely symptoms of arthritis and causing Blue pain to some degree. It took the input of a veterinarian, a body worker and a horse trainer for me to come to this realization.
I feel bad that I didn’t more quickly pick up on the seriousness of something that in hindsight seems obvious to me. I was young enough that I didn’t yet have any experience with the difficulty of coping with arthritis in my own body. And while I had been a horse owner for almost ten years by then, I didn’t pick up on lameness signs when I watched him move or rode him. He continued to be cooperative under saddle and was not classically lame, but he gradually started tripping more and more when ridden. Once I put all the pieces together, I made the decision to retire him from riding on September 1st, 2011. Blue remained pasture sound until his death a couple years later from unrelated causes.
Some conditions develop so slowly that it is actually hard for us who see our horses daily to notice them. Sometimes these things are more easily seen by someone who visits our horses only at intervals like a farrier or veterinarian. Even a horse savvy friend or family member might realize something is bothering your horse before you do.
It seems counter-intuitive, but sometimes we are so close to a situation that we don’t realize how much our horses have changed (both positively or negatively). It is a great reason to involve more than just yourself in your horse’s care, especially if you are your horse’s only caretaker. Keep an open mind when someone makes a comment about your horse before dismissing something out of hand. Even if it doesn’t match your own narrative. There might be something in there for you to learn.
Below is the link to the article “Your Horse’s Lumps and Bumps” as well as its Pinterest pin. It doesn’t specifically cover the issue that Blue developed, but it touches on ten other lump/bump scenarios. It is an easy and informative article that can help all of us be more informed about horse health issues. When we know better, we have the potential to do better.