Stable Management – What is a splint?

Horse training, splint, horse lameness, horse care, stable management, Thistle ridge stables, Laura kelland-may

Splints are usually found on the inside of the horse's front leg

Splint Blog Reading

When buying a horse or keeping a horse you have to have good horse training and good horse care. This includes proper stable management and horse care.

What Is A Splint?

A splint is a boney growth on the inside of the horse’s leg. A splint is usually located on the inside of the horses leg where the cannon bone,main leg bone (metacarpal) and the splint bone (2ndary metacarpal) join together.

As a young horse grows the bone covering (periostium) can get inflammed due to injury (direct hit) or friction caused by over work. When this happens the bone covering fuses the main cannon bone and splint bones together.

How to Recognize A Splint

To begin the horse will appear slightly off and may be more ‘off’ when the affected leg is on the inside during turns. When checking the horse’s leg you will notice a small inflamation about the size of a pea. This may be soft and when touched will cause the horse to lift it’s leg. It will be sore and hot and swollen.

How To Treat A Splint

If you suspect a splint treat the area with cold water hosing. The cool water will help reduce the heat and inflamation in the area. Standing the horse in a cool stream or applying cool bandages or ice packs is another alternative. I have successfully wrapped a horses leg with ice cold bandages and cottons that were soaked in a bucket of ice water. I would submerge cotton and bandage in the water, then wrap the leg. As this was cooling the leg I would submerge

stable management, wound treatment, horse splint, what is a splint, how to treat a splint, horse training, horse riding

Cold Hosing Will Reduce the Heat and Inflamation in a Splin

 another cotton and bandage. After 5 minutes I would remove the bandage and replace it with a cold one from the bucket. As that leg was cooling I would re-roll the bandage and place it in the bucket again and keep exchanging every 5 minutes.

Keep the horses leg cool for approximately 25 minutes to remove the heat and inflamation from the leg. Other treatments could include:

  • Clay poultice
  • DMSO sweats
  • NSAID – ie bute

Have you ever had to treat a splint? Where was it and how did you treat it?


About Laura

Laura Kelland-May is the founder of Thistle Ridge Skill Builders Development Program. She more than trains horses, she trains people to train their horses. In addition she is a Sr. Judge and can offer insight into What the Judge Is Looking For. Follow her here and get more tips.
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2 Responses to Stable Management – What is a splint?

  1. I just purchased this just 3 year old OTTB with a splint with white dots in a square from treatment my horses have 30 acres and are out 24/7 they have shelters and a barn should she be getting so much exercise. If I do light work with her till she is 5 do you think she can jump or do dressage and if so what is the best wrap to use on a splint mine arn’t expensive. i have 3 other injured ones so I am just building jumps for 2 any suggestions for better recovery she is getting a barefoot trim but not too short she has beautiful feet and 16.1 or 2 pretty square long legs.

  2. Laura says:

    Thank you for your comment. OTTB are a great investment. The white dots are from ‘fire marks’ to help heal splints in young, usually, race horses. I think turn out is important for young horses. Light work, trail riding and systematic development is important. What will ruin a young horse is standing in a stall all day then riding the heck out of them on the weekends. Proper training techniques, muscle development and partnerships are fostered through light riding and general exercise.
    Once she has matured I think you will have a wonderful horse.
    Protecting your horses legs is important. any protection is fine. Make sure they have tendon support and fit correctly.
    Recovery should be discussed with your vet. cold hosing is always good. Keep the leg cool and prevent further injury.

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