Halting, among farrier signifies an irregularity in the motion of a horse, arising from a lameness, or other injury, in the shoulder, leg, or foot, which induces him to spare that part, or exert it too timorously.
As an intimate acquaintance with this defect is of considerable importance to the farmer, we shall briefly state the principal circum-stances connected with the subject.
If a horse halts, the lameness may be discovered either before, in which case the malady is seated in the shoulder, legs, or feet; or, behind, when it lies in the hip, ham, etc.
1. When the cause of the affection proceeds from the shoulder, the horse does not lift up his leg, but drags it on the ground, or casts one of them more than the other, and keeps the knee in a manner unbent. On turning short, he will evidently favour the lame leg.— Hence the injury must be either in the top of the shoulder-blade, called the withers, which is known by the animal halting most when a person is on his back; his fre-quent shrinking; and, if pressed with the hand about the top of the shoulder-blade, attempting to bite : or, the hurt may be at the lower end of the shoulder-blade ; in which case he treads with thick steps, shrinks, and is ready to drop on being squeezed in that part.— When it arises from the elbow which joins the marrow-bone to the leg, the horse winces, and draws up his foot, on slightly pinching the part above-mentioned.
2. If the lameness be in the legs (in which case it is in the knee, or pastern joint), the horse refuses to bend either the one or the other, and walks stiffly on that leg ; or, when it appears in the shank, it will be discovered by some splint, screw, windgall, or other visible malady.
3. If the defect be in the foot, it is either in the coronet, and proceeds from a strain : or it becomes evident by a hot and inflamed tumor. Or, if it be situated in the heel, it may have been occasioned by an over-reach, which is discernible by the eye, as well as by the animal's treading entirely on his toe. When a horse halts more on sloping than on plain ground, the mischief is seated between the quarters. This kind of limping is sometimes occasioned by being pricked with a nail in shoeing ; in which case, the offensive nail may be distinguished by pinching the head of each together with the hoof.
Should a horse halt behind, from a disorder in the hip, he will walk side-long, and not follow so easily with that leg as the other; nor will he turn on the side affected, without favouring the leg. Tins cause of lameness is particularly discoverable when the animal, in walking on the side of a bank, lifts up the injured leg higher than the other. Like all injuries of the hip-joint, that last mentioned is most difficult to be cured; and, in every species of the affetions before described, total abstinence from hard labour, proper feeding, and, according to circumstances, either moderate exercise or complete rest, are essential requisites to a speedy recovery.