What is a wheel in the horse?

What is a wheel in the horse? How to identify it? The difference between hard and soft tare. Understand the causes and identify them in order to reduce them and relieve your horse. What are the treatments to attenuate a knurl? 

In this article, you will find out: 

  • What is a wheel in the horse?
  • How to start the knobs? 
  • What are the treatments ?
  • What is the difference between hard tare and soft tare? 

The knurls are part of a chronic condition called soft tares. They affect the fetlock area and the hollow of the pastern. 

What is a wheel in the horse? 

Soft tares are chronic diseases (of the horse).

There are 2 types of soft tares: the knurls and the bladers.

The knurls are soft tares which touch the area of ​​the fetlock and the hollow of the pastern.

While the bladders are soft blemishes found in the knee, stifle and hock.

Why does my horse have knobs?

Soft tares are the result of dilation of the articular or tendon synovial membranes .

The horse’s body produces synovial fluid, the purpose of which is to lubricate the joints in order to avoid friction of the bone cartilages.

Too much of this fluid can form in the joints or tendons.

It is this phenomenon that can create lumps visible to the naked eye.

The most common causes of soft tares are:

  • Wear of the joint or tendon;
  • Inflammation of the joint or tendon;
  • A lack of balance in the horse;
  • Disease or infection;
  • Trauma or shock.

Sometimes the knurls are also the result of too much work or bad terrain.

How to identify a soft tare?

Soft blemishes appear as lumps or soft masses.

There are two types of thumbwheels: tendon and joint. 

They are not accompanied by heat in the limb.

They do not cause lameness in the horse.

Soft tares are lumps visible to the naked eye in the joints.

To the touch, one can feel multiple small balls which form a soft tare.

The volume and the external aspect have no relation to the importance of the tare.

Indeed, a hock bladder is often very bulky. But can be benign and not very handicapping for the horse.

IMPORTANT: The advice of a veterinarian remains essential in the diagnosis.

What is the difference between hard tare and soft tare?

Soft tares

Soft tares are balls that lie on the surface of the skin in the underlying tissues.

They are due to the dilation of the bursa (synovial pocket).

The bursa allows to reduce the friction of the bone cartilages of a joint.

They are generally located:

  • On the anterior or posterior limbs;
  • At the level of the withers;
  • Or on the head. 

The most famous soft tares are: 

  • The knobs;
  • The bladders;
  • The hygromas.
The hard blemishes

Hard blemishes are an outgrowth of superficial bone tissue called the periosteum. 

They are mainly localized near joints or on ligament insertions.

The most famous hard defects are: 

  • Suros;
  • The ossicles;
  • The eparvin;
  • The high or low forms at the level of the phalanges.

What are the consequences of a dial?

The consequences are multiple and depend on the horse.

Some soft blemishes can set in over time.

They can stay for life and never get bigger.

Others, on the contrary, can cause difficulty in locomotion.

Soft blemishes are ultimately the result of a problem.

The risks can be reduced by identifying the possible causes.

In particular by regularly applying a balm with essential oils.

To prevent possible inflammation of the joints or tendons.

How to start the knobs? 

Identifying the cause (s) of a dial is a key point in preventing their reappearance and drastically reducing them. 

Note: It is recommended to process a wheel as quickly as possible.

Because, a wheel installed for several weeks will disappear less easily.

However, progressive work with a time of warm-up and recovery after significant efforts can limit the appearance of soft blemishes. 

What to do in case of soft tares: 

  • Shower your horse’s limbs;
  • Apply clay poultices;
  • Apply recovery gaiters;
  • Or rest bands.

However, please do not exceed 24 hours of exposure for the rest bands. 

If you use clay, the effects wear off once it dries.

To start the knobs, it may be necessary to: 

  • Put in place an appropriate fitting to fight against soft blemishes;
  • Adjust the feed according to your horse’s needs;
  • Work on suitable soil according to the recommendations of your veterinarian. 

Knocks can promote the appearance of knurls. 

Here are some recommendations to protect your horse from possible blows:

  • Pad the areas of the box where the horse is banging;
  • Use work bands for flat work; 
  • Or work gaiters during your show jumping sessions. 

The best exercises to reduce a dial

The keys to limiting the risk of the knobs appearing are:

  • Adapt daily work and care (progressive work); 
  • Properly prepare your horse before exercise (stretching and warm-up);
  • Pay attention to the horse’s good recovery (rest time and appropriate care).

A good warm-up of your horse is essential. 

Particularly for the muscles that will be used during your session. 

Stretching can also be done before setting foot in the stirrup.

Important : Give your horse time to recover after each effort . 

For example: marching long reins.

Take the opportunity to also breathe and affectionately reward your mount. 

Tip : After your session, you can shower your horse’s limbs to activate blood circulation. 

It is also a recommended practice to avoid engorgement.

What are the treatments to treat a dial?

Soft tares can be treated by:

  • Clay poultices;
  • The application of essential oils;
  • The installation of Capsular Gaiters in the form of a “cure”.

Clay to treat knurls in horses

Clay has a strong absorption power. It will absorb the inflammatory fluids present in the muscles or tendons. 

Clay is also an antibacterial. Bacteria are trapped and retained upon contact with clay. 

Clay also has astringent properties. That is to say, it tightens the tissues to facilitate their healing.

We advise you to use the Thalasso range from Cavasso  to do your care with clay.

Essential oils to reduce dials

Certain essential oils are recognized for their analgesic properties. That is, they have a calming effect.

They also have draining and anti-inflammatory properties. 

You can use the following essential oils in particular: 

  • Common Cypress : exceptional tonic and circulatory qualities;
  • Java Lemongrass : anti-inflammatory effects when applied directly to the skin;
  • Lemon Eucalyptus : soothing, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-fungal qualities traditionally used for joint comfort.

For example, the CapTend balm from Akhal contains:

  • A neutral aqueous base;
  • Essential oil of common cypress;
  • Java lemongrass essential oil;
  • Essential oil of field mint;
  • Gum arabic to ensure synergy between the oils.

Capsular Gaiters

There are new generation care gaiters. 

They are generally made up of a gaiter and a gaiter. With a washable wipe inside.

This wipe is reusable and allows the formula to be absorbed to slowly release the active ingredients and thus obtain increased efficiency.

For example, you can apply the CapTend balm mentioned above to the wipe to relieve a sore thumb in the horse.

Capsular gaiters are placed on the forelegs and / or hindquarters of horses during rest periods.

They absorb vibrations in the event of an impact at rest.

In contact with the horse’s skin, the active ingredients penetrate his body.

The active principle touches the tendons to prevent tendonitis, knurls and engorgement. 

The Capsular Recovery Range allows in particular to: 

  • Help to tighten the tendon tissues;
  • Promote the absorption of edemas;
  • Accelerate the drainage of toxins.

Capsular gaiters are made from very light materials.

They weigh 250 grams each.

The Capsular Gaiters are entirely made in France .

The solution for knurls in horses

You now know everything there is to know about the wheel in the horse.

You now know the solutions to start the knobs.

If in doubt, consult your veterinarian. Only the veterinarian will be able to perform a complete diagnosis.

You can check out the full specifications of Capsular Gaiters here .

To go further, you can read this article on tendonitis in horses.

Article written by Aurélie Martin , founder of Akhal. 

Photos taken by Studio Flora Charpentier .