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Performance Evaluations

Routine preventive evaluations are critical to maintaining the health and soundness of a performance horse. A performance exam once or twice a year is a priceless, proactive strategy that will help minimize the chances of injury, lameness, and the accompanying downtime. Ideally, it is important to schedule these evaluations before you notice a change in your horse's temperament or athletic ability. 

Poor performance can originate from many sources, not just musculoskeletal pain. For more information on lameness exams click here. A comprehensive evaluation will also address when needed:

  • Saddle fit

  • Upper and lower respiratory health

  • Gastrointestinal factors such as stomach ulcers

  • Cardiovascular health

  • Neurologic abnormalities

  • Dental health

  • Nutrition and metabolic function

  • Infectious disease (Lyme disease)

  • Hoof health

Evaluating our equine athletes systematically, before or after periods of intense training or competition, can allow Dr. Sotela to detect subtle changes that may be indicative of future concerns.  Although lameness may not be present, the evaluation of muscle symmetry, palpation for effusion of joints or thickening of soft tissue structures and gait analysis can provide clues as to how to best manage each individual athlete. Paying close attention to performance and musculoskeletal history in conjunction with detailed record keeping allows us to detect small changes as they happen. 


As a result of this examination, Dr. Sotela may recommend therapies such as chiropractic, joint injections or shockwave, consult with your farrier to change the shoeing or trimming setup or even uncover a subclinical tendon or ligament inflammation that requires a modification in the level of or approach to exercise. The end result is a curated long-term management and therapeutic plan for your horse to support a successful partnership.

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