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Horse stories: The story of Samantha

Samantha was a KWPN mare. At the age of 4 she was bought with the aim of training her for dressage. Unfortunately, that goal was never realised as Samantha went lame about six months after purchase. Despite good care, Samantha remained lame from time to time. After X-rays, the vet diagnosed that she had ossified cartilage in the forehand. After 1,5 years of trying everything, the owner decided to donate Samantha for dissection. She was only 6 years old, but it was clear that her problems were only getting worse, so it was decided to spare her a life of pain. 


Before a dissection, we always visit the horse for an assessment. With Samantha, we noticed that she had trouble standing square and the toes of both her hind feet pointed out, especially the left hind. She also carried more on her forehand and her forelegs were not in balance. She had high heels and orthopaedic shoes. 


During the dissection, it quickly became clear that she probably tried to unload her legs, overloading other muscles. This led to inflammation, adhesions and tears in tendons and muscles, among other things. This was something we expected to see. What was special about Samantha’s story is the influence of internal stress on the rest of her body. The dissection revealed that her condition probably had caused her so much stress in her body that it led to damage to various other systems. She had multiple inflammations in her body, elevated cortisol levels, became insulin resistant and eventually developed laminitis. This shows that one condition never comes alone and it is good to always consider the collateral damage it may cause. 


Hopefully this case has inspired you and given you new insights so that Samantha’s story will not be forgotten. The more horses we can study and compare, the more we can learn! Would you like access to Samantha’s full story? You can find it in the online Equinestudies course ‘The Horse Inside Out’. Here you will see images of her life, an assessment of her physical condition and unique footage that we found during the dissection. Click here to go to the webshop.

horse stories