By: Amy Young
UC Davis The Horse Report
Equine neurological examinations* evaluate horses from head to tail. They are performed to evaluate signs consistent with neurologic disease or to establish that a horse is neurologically normal, such as during a pre-purchase exam. A neurological exam can be divided into two parts: static and dynamic.
The Static Examination occurs while the horse is standing still.
The Dynamic Examination occurs while the horse is in motion. These steps should be performed on the ground, not while riding. These steps determine if a horse knows where its feet are and can control its limbs. As opposed to a normal horse who keeps its limbs under its body and can maintain a consistent rhythm, neurologically impaired horses may step on themselves, swing their limbs wide, pivot, drag their toes, easily lose balance, and exhibit gait abnormalities.
*These steps outline a general neurological examination. Individual veterinarians may favor slight modifications.