What Is The Difference Between Lameness And Unsoundness In Horses?

For many horse lovers, even with a lot of experience, lameness and unsoundness sounds like the same thing. In fact, between these concepts there is a fairly clear separation and a visible difference.

horse is lame

What is the difference between such concepts as lameness and unsoundness? And so, as for horses, lameness is a temporary malaise, temporary health problems, and unsoundness is forever, it can be some sort of chronic illness. Of course, this issue has more features than this simple division.

Lameness and unsoundness

If the horse is sick, hurt, injured, it is lame for a week or even a month, but in the end, it is treated, then our horse is lame. If our horse is tired, depressed for some time, then it is also lame. Also, by lameness we can mean some small problems and shortcomings, such as a special gait or a method of movement, but which at the moment do not interfere with the horse’s normal existence.

Unsoundness, in turn, is a more general term for many health problems, both mental and physical. In the first place, an unsounded horse is a horse that has been injured, is not treated and will accompany it throughout its life. It is also a horse with some abnormalities of the nervous system that prevent it from functioning normally. One of the manifestations of unsoundness are problems with hearing and vision.

Thus, it can be understood that the lame horse is a horse with temporary or partial problems that are not long-term and do not interfere with normal life. And the unsounded horse is the concept of an unhealthy horse with more complex problems. For horse owners, it is very important to monitor the health of the horse so that under no circumstances will lameness become unsoundness.

What does Sound horse mean?

This concept means a horse without injuries and illnesses, generally a healthy horse, full of strength and energy. A healthy horse behaves cheerfully, has a good appetite. Her mane, tail, and fur glisten and have certain smoothness. A healthy horse drinks moderately, it also spreads moderately throughout the body, and that is, there are no sharp differences in temperature between body temperature, ears, and nose. And most importantly, a healthy horse is cheerful and cheerful.

What are some tips for caring for horses?

Any rider knows that animal care plays a big role in his health. And, of course, very, very many problems can be easily avoided if the horse is cleaned in time and properly looked after.

If you do not remove dirt and excess moisture from your skin, you can start the processes of decay, since microorganisms will live in large quantities on the horse’s body. And if a wound occurs, they will enter the bloodstream, causing various diseases that are difficult to treat. The dirt also causes a blockage of the sebaceous glands, which will prevent the metabolism from functioning, and irritation will appear on the skin. The horse’s body also suffers when the rider mounts it incorrectly or uses non-native equipment from another animal. Sores and even abrasions may appear. If the rider sharply pulls back the reason, the horse hurts in the mouth; such rough handling leads to ruptures. Good lighting, adequate ventilation, uniform training, and proper nutrition – all of this has a positive effect on the health of the animal. And this should be remembered.


Lameness and unsoundness are concepts denoting a different level of health problems in a horse. It is important to remember that each horse needs special care and always listen to the animal, notice any changes in its behavior and mood, so as not to have serious problems. And of course, you should contact the vet at the first sign of illness.



I have owned over 50 horses and currently own a small horse farm with 8 horses. I have competed on and off for over 25 years while doing mostly trail riding and cow sorting these days. I write these articles to help anyone out there if you love this article pin it to your Pinterest or Share on other social media platform. Thanks for visiting.

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