Should I Buy a Horse with Navicular?

When considering purchasing a horse, one crucial factor to weigh is whether the horse has navicular syndrome. This guide aims to provide you with the information and insights you need to make an informed decision about whether to buy a horse with navicular.

Understanding Navicular Syndrome: An Overview

Navicular syndrome is a common condition that affects a horse’s hooves, causing pain and lameness. It involves inflammation of the navicular bone and its surrounding structures, impacting the horse’s soundness and performance.

Evaluating the Horse’s Health History

Before making any decision, obtain the horse’s health records. Inquire about any history of navicular issues. Collaborate with a veterinarian to thoroughly assess the records and understand the horse’s condition.

Consulting a Veterinarian: A Crucial Step

A pre-purchase veterinary examination is essential. A veterinarian can perform diagnostic tests, assess the horse’s soundness, and determine the severity of the navicular condition. This information is crucial for your decision-making process.

Assessing Long-Term Care and Management

Consider the long-term care needs of a horse with navicular. Discuss potential treatment options and management strategies with your veterinarian. Evaluate the financial commitment required for ongoing care.

Weighing the Pros and Cons


  • Opportunity to provide a deserving horse with a caring home
  • Learning experience in managing horses with medical conditions


  • Potential for ongoing medical expenses
  • Activity limitations and altered performance expectations

Riding and Performance Considerations

Navicular syndrome can impact a horse’s performance. It’s important to understand the extent to which the condition may affect the horse’s ability to engage in certain activities. Consult with your veterinarian and consider your riding goals.

Seeking Professional Input

Consult experienced horse trainers, instructors, and veterinarians. Seek advice from individuals who have managed horses with navicular. Their insights can offer valuable perspectives to inform your decision.

Personal Preparedness and Resources

Evaluate your own experience and knowledge in horse care. Consider whether you have access to the necessary resources, such as veterinary care, farrier expertise, and appropriate facilities.

Making an Informed Choice

Ultimately, the decision to buy a horse with navicular should be well-informed and aligned with your capabilities. Prioritize the horse’s well-being, comfort, and quality of life.

Is It OK to Ride a Horse with Navicular?

Short Answer: Riding a horse with navicular requires careful consideration and veterinary guidance. Light riding may be possible for some horses, but strenuous activities could exacerbate the condition.

Detailed Answer: Riding a horse with navicular is a complex decision that depends on factors such as the severity of the condition, the horse’s pain level, and its response to treatment. Consult your veterinarian to determine whether riding is suitable. In some cases, light riding on soft surfaces may be manageable, while strenuous activities might worsen the condition.

How Long Will a Navicular Horse Last?

Short Answer: The longevity of a horse with navicular can vary significantly. With proper management, some horses can lead relatively comfortable lives for years, while others might face progressive lameness despite treatment efforts.

Detailed Answer: The duration of a navicular horse’s quality of life depends on various factors, including the horse’s individual response to treatment, the severity of the condition, and the management practices in place. Some horses can continue to lead fulfilling lives with appropriate care for several years, while others might experience a decline in soundness despite efforts to manage the condition.

What to Do If Your Horse Has Navicular?

Short Answer: If your horse is diagnosed with navicular syndrome, collaborate closely with a veterinarian to develop a comprehensive management plan. This plan may include a combination of medical treatments, corrective shoeing, appropriate exercise, and dietary adjustments.

Detailed Answer: If your horse is diagnosed with navicular syndrome, here are steps to take:

  1. Consult a veterinarian for a thorough assessment.
  2. Develop a tailored management plan that addresses pain relief and slows disease progression.
  3. Consider therapeutic shoeing or trimming to promote proper hoof mechanics.
  4. Adjust exercise routines to reduce impact on the hooves.
  5. Monitor the horse’s response to treatment and adjust the plan as needed.

Can a Horse with Navicular Go Barefoot?

Short Answer: For some horses with navicular, going completely barefoot may not be advisable due to the condition’s impact on the hooves. However, consult a veterinarian and a qualified farrier to determine whether a carefully managed barefoot approach is suitable.

Detailed Answer: Going completely barefoot might not be the best option for horses with navicular, as the condition can affect hoof structures and comfort. However, some horses may benefit from a specialized barefoot trimming approach that promotes proper hoof balance and function. It’s crucial to work closely with a veterinarian and a knowledgeable farrier to make an informed decision based on your horse’s specific needs and condition.

Remember, each horse is unique, and navicular syndrome presents differently in various cases. Consulting with a veterinarian and collaborating with equine professionals will help you tailor the best care plan for your horse’s individual needs.

Conclusion: An Equitable Decision

Deciding whether to buy a horse with navicular is a significant choice that requires careful consideration. Weigh the horse’s needs, your resources, and your commitment. Remember that the best decision is one that prioritizes the horse’s health and happiness above all else.

As you contemplate purchasing a horse with navicular, use this guide as a resource to guide your decision-making process. By considering all angles and seeking advice from experts, you’ll be better equipped to make a choice that’s both compassionate and practical for both you and the horse.