Leg Injuries to Horses


A Darker Knight
I just read the article on Eight Belles's death.

Here it is if you're interested.

For anyone who's knowledgeable with horses, why does an injury to a horse's leg force them to be euthanized? I know Belles's case was particularly severe, but sometimes seemingly minor injuries lead to euthanasia as well....

I heard that it was because there isn't much blood that gets circulated down there and it's practically impossible to heal. I'm not sure though.


Registered Member
Without his leg a horse is usless, same thing goes for a cow, so they just put him out of his misery.


No Custom Title Exists
Yeah, a horse without a leg is useless, all they can do is put him down, they can't let him suffer anymore.
A horse needs all 4 legs to be able to walk, so the decision for it to be euthanized is mostly because the break is so bad it can't be helped to heal properly in any way. It would involve forcing the horse not to put weight on it's two front legs for months and months. Obviously, for a horse, this is impossible.
The horse would consistently redamage it leg over and over again, so there would be no chance of the bone ever fully healing, and euthanizing is the best idea, so the horse doesn't have to suffer.
Can't they just one of those overgrown wheel chairs for the back legs? I saw one for a dog once and it seemed to work pretty well for him. Guess this is different...

I understand the suffering part. That must be really stressful on the horse.


Registered Member
I lost my horse to Laminitis and the old saying no foot no horse is true sadly.

Some leg injuries can be treated but alas broken or fractured bones cannot.
Eight bells injury where the leg was so severly damaged there would be no way to heal it. The only option would be amputation. We had a case in the UK where a horse was fitted with an artificial leg and he managed quite well but a double amputation there would be no way a horse could cope.

Its not just the case of the fact you would have to keep the animal imobilised until the fracture is healed you also have to take into account the psychlogical damage you would inflict on a heard animal isolated away from the heard plus whether the healed fracture would be ever strong enough to support the weight of a half ton animal which likes to buck and gallop . Unfortunatly the only option is to have them destroyed.

I did read the article and I'm guessing the person who wrote it has not actually worked with horses or in the racing industry and this kind of sensational reporting taints the industry .

Race horses are the best looked after , fittest horses on the planet. They are pampered morning and night, they have saunas, swimming pools and physiotherapists. They are athletes and treated as such.

But you cant escape the fact that horses are the worse designed animals! TB's are bred for speed and the finer the bone the better.

Horses have accidents all the time . My friends mate lost her mare after she broke her leg whilst in labour, another client of ours (when I worked in a yard) had to have his horse put down after it was hooning round the field having a jolly, slipped on some mud and broke its leg.

Accidents happen its inevitable but that doesnt mean you can compare horse racing to bull fighting.