Exercise appropriateness ? Dr. Kellon question

Shera Felde

Hi, Debbie-

Your note struck a chord with what I'm experiencing and led me to a question for Dr. Kellon. My sensitive EMS mare has been in great shape for over a year. 2 weeks ago she came up lame (while wrapped tight for winter temps). Nothing had changed in her diet or trim but she had been without exercise for a month since I pulled my back. One day, I took off her boots to let her hooves breathe a bit and noticed her right front sore after a couple of hours so I rebooted her. Then, her left showed soreness but not as much. I started Metformin, Phyto Quench, Alcar, and Laminox. She is walking better now and shows no lameness. She's also more willing to let me hold up her feet. My question is this: if the icy hard "rutty" ground was the culprit, not insulin, what happens in the feet and how will I know her feet are sound for exercise again? She goes to the vet in 2 weeks for rads and insulin draw- something I set up long before this event. No sign of abscesses. This has been a mystery but we have had a lot of ice, refreezing mud etc.

Thank you,
Shera Felde, Central Oregon, 2020

Nancy C

Hi Shera

Not Dr Kellon, but there is info on what to look for here  https://www.ecirhorse.org/DDT+E-exercise.php
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DEBBIE GIRARD <dgwof@...>

Hi Sheri,

My boy was looking dead lame on the frozen ruts without boots until he got into his stall and he was fine. He limped across the ruts until we made it to the flat grass field also. Thats why it was easy for me to blame it on the footing. He has been fine undersaddle but Ive only ridden on warmer days and the ground is softer.


Debbie Girard   Massachusetts  2022

Eleanor Kellon, VMD


It's really hard to tell why she was sore. Stopping exercise will definitely cause insulin to increase and a month is about the time frame to completely lose the metabolic advantages.

Insulin after shipping probably won't be reliable.
Eleanor in PA

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Kirsten Rasmussen

With icy hard ground you might see some sole bruises show up after, but as long as she wasn't running around on it a few hours may not have done any harm since you got her boots back on right away.  It could just be because her hooves weren't conditioned to the icy ground since she's booted normally, and if she has thin soles that would only compound it.  If she was still sore after moving her to a softer surface, like snow/slush or a rubber mat, then I'd start thinking laminitis (sub-clinical) and work on lowering insulin.

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Shera Felde

Thank you. It's such a catch 22 when exercise is key but once they're sore exercise is out...baby steps I guess.
Shera Felde, Central Oregon, 2020