What to do if he trips trying to gait undersaddle? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 05-07-2011, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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What to do if he trips trying to gait undersaddle?

Jacoby is now undersaddle!! woohoo, For those of you who don't know him, he is a 3yo RMH. We started trail riding the other day (we don't have any arena or round pen.) Here is my problem:

When we walk he is great and listens really well. When I ask for a gait faster, he trips trying to pace and then falls into a trot that can get VERY bouncy. Today he was so excited he tried to canter! but he tripped doing that too! Is this normal?

What should I do when he trips up?

I don't want him to be a trotting horse all the time, I want him to know how to gait, even if it is a pace for now. Horse do I get him to stop falling over his own feet?
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post #2 of 15 Old 05-07-2011, 08:32 PM
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He could just be trying to figure himself out. If you have acess you could put some poles on the ground so he has to pick up his feet. Now I'm not sure how any gait other than walk, trot, canter and gallop work so I'm not sure if it would help.

Are his feet too long? I knew a horse that as soon as his feet got a little too long, he would trip alot. Also, Navicular can cause a horse to trip a lot but the chances of him having it at this age is pretty slim and he would have shown other signs of soreness before.

I hope this helps

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post #3 of 15 Old 05-08-2011, 12:03 PM
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I have had gaited horses for about 13 years and because the nature of the way their legs move they are prone to tripping especially if they are learning all this for the first time. I have also found out that their hoof length is a big factor, they need a little bit of toe for the over the top motion. If their feet are too short or too long it increases the chances of tripping. I hope that helps! I am still learning myself more everyday! happy trails! Robbin
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post #4 of 15 Old 05-08-2011, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
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His feet were just done a few weeks ago, so I don't think that's it.. Probably just being young and learning it all for the first time. I was just curious if there were any tricks to help him. It can't feel good tripping and learning how to walk all over again...
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post #5 of 15 Old 05-08-2011, 03:54 PM
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If the feet were trimmed "a few weeks ago" they well could be part of the problem. Feet grow at a high rate of speed at this time of year.

Assuming that the feet are trimmed to anatomical correctness (length, angle, heel, etc.) and there are no other issues (lameness, stiffle, etc.) then it's probable that the tripping is the result of the horse learning to move with a new balance under saddle. It's also probable that the horse is not all that strong and the rider needs to be patient as the horse gains fitness and strength.

Prepare a "conditioning program" and follow it. If you don't have one or know how to make one then write down what you think will work and post it. Let folks who have some experience help you "edit" the program to get the horse off on the right foot.

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post #6 of 15 Old 05-09-2011, 09:04 AM
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In my experience he will get better with a little bit of age on him. He is still figuring out his balance and how to gait with you on his back. I used to ride the CLUMSIEST gelding I have EVER come across. He was 3 and every 4-5 strides he'd trip,lol. However, now he is 6 and his new mommy takes him to Colorado to trail ride in mountains and he is extremely sure-footed. :)Just takes time
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post #7 of 15 Old 05-09-2011, 11:42 AM
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do check the back feet as well, we had Barbra Civils up for a clinic in Red Deer last weekend, and she had said a big problem for horses tripping is also that they're back toe isn't trimmed enough.

But my first thought would be that he is just trying to get his balance, like G said, try putting poles on the ground to help.

If you're out on the trails that is a great way to build the muscles, i suggest going at whatever speed it is that he can stay in gait at. It is suggested often times that in gaited horses to d nothing but flat walk your horse for 3 months before you ask them for a run walk. I am sure it is possible to do it sooner, but it may help anyways to just keep it slow so he can build the msucles and find his balance while keeping him away from turning trotting into a habit.
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post #8 of 15 Old 05-09-2011, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. I know he needs many miles on his feet, just curious if there was anything I could do besides miles...

As far as a conditioning program I guess I'll need to start another thread! lol
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post #9 of 15 Old 05-09-2011, 09:31 PM
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Just remember it can take up to 3 strides for a horse to recover from a trip or stumble in any gait.

Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.
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post #10 of 15 Old 05-09-2011, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by momo3boys View Post
Thanks guys. I know he needs many miles on his feet, just curious if there was anything I could do besides miles...

As far as a conditioning program I guess I'll need to start another thread! lol
Frankly, there's really no substitute for the "wet blanket" on the horse and the "wet shirt" on the rider.

Of course this presumes the "wetting" is done intelligently.

Lots of gaited horse riders forget that the foundation gait for all horses is the "walk" (or, as sometimes called in the gaited world, the "dog walk"). If this gait is regular, forward, square, and evenly timed then the foundation is "rock" and a good house can be built. If this gait is irregular, hesitant, and lacks even timing then the foundation is "sand" and problems with the house will follow as night follows day.

So do lots of walking/dog walking and really concentrate on keeping the horse forward and even. This is also a good time to practice rating the horse (setting different speeds without changing the gait). This is anothe area where some basic dressage instruction can be very helpful.

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