Hop in the trot? - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By Ninamebo
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post #1 of 7 Old 01-11-2014, 09:42 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Australia
Posts: 48
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Hop in the trot?

This could end up being a long post.

My horse Bella is;
14.2hh Riding Pony
13 years old
Dressage and Hacking horse

I am not sure how long ago time wise it was but more than a few months ago we moved Bella from the stable we were currently keeping her at to another place closer to home. Due to the fact that I am 16 years old, my say in where we moved her didn't really count.

Of course when we first moved their Bella seemed okay but I started to notice after a week that she wasn't happy. We had decided to move Bella out of there when we had complications with the owner due to her not caring for Bella properly (not feeding her, putting her out in the pasture by herself at night and such). However, before we could move her out Bella got a nail stuck in her back hoof. Straight down to the vet for us at early hours of the night, luckily the man who was on call that night was the best vet they had, treated Bella very well. I did not get to hear much of what he was saying due to the fact that I was distraught and in tears when he said "this is potentially life threatening." Bella however, was an incredibly lucky horse and the nail missed the bone.

Picture of the X-ray

The nail was removed and Bella was moved down to her new stable the next day where she was to be stabled and treated for about 2 weeks (I cannot remember exactly). The vet came back for another check up and he said her hoof had healed incredibly well and that once she had some new shoes on she could get back into work. We also got a new farrier at this time who put some new shoes on her, a different kind to the previous farrier but he did a much nicer job. Bella got a few more days rest after the new shoes before I put her back into work after having quite a bit break. She was MUCH happier in this new place, back out in the Adelaide hills. She seems to be a country girl at heart.

The first time I worked her I put her on the lunge and worked her that way for a good 45 minutes, possibly an hour to make sure she was fine and her leg was good. A few days after I went down and lunged her again for a short while each way before getting on her and she was perfect! Except for the fact that she was very forward for such a lazy horse but I expected that when she hadn't been ridden for so long. The next time I rode after that was about a week later (I had exams at the time so it was very difficult to ride frequently). Again, she was perfect in the walk and trot, started getting her back on the bit (Side note: Bella is very difficult to get round, it's normally worse when she hasn't been worked in a week, she can get stiff in the neck). However, after the usual techniques I had learnt from instructors at a few clinics and my old, frequent instructor I had her working on the bit and again, she was lovely. Until I threw in some canter work. Brining her into the canter transition was fine, felt normal, she was still a bit forward though I did my best to steady her to a smoother canter whilst focusing on my position and leg aids seeing as Bella does require a lot of leg most of the time. At around about half of a circle of canter I felt Bella scoot her hind legs under her bum a bit, it was hard to describe but he rushed forward for a few strides. It wasn't like a 'spook' rush forward it was a very quick, short stepped speed of canter for a few strides. I managed to stop it by half halting, bringing her head down a little more but she persisted again after another half a circle and did the same the other way. Next time I went to go from a trot to can't transition she gave a bit of a kick. I've had Bella for 3 and a bit years now so I can tell the signs and read the difference between a "Something hurts!" kick and I "I'm just being my pissy, lazy mare self" kick but this time, I wasn't sure what it was.

I cooled her off right away (I had already been working her for a bit anyway) and dismounted, checking over each leg, pressing different spots and feeling her hooves for any heat, checking for swelling but there didn't seem to be any problem. I untacked her, checked over her whole body, where the saddle when, bridle, girth, working boots etc. But I still couldn't find a problem. We went away over christmas so I didn't get to ride for a bit (again.) A few days after we got back, I convinced mum to come up with me so I could show her how Bella was behaving and so I could have someone to see it from the ground but Bella decided to do something different to her little performance in the canter.

I got straight on her this time, warmed her up in walk for a bit, went over some poles that were set up already and then went to do some work in the trot (going to the left). She was fine, very forward but not uncontrollable. With a bit of work getting her rounder and repeating "steady" I managed to get her to a good pace, still a bit fast but nothing insane. She was good, I wasn't expecting too much work from her on the bit seeing as she did feel still in the neck but after some trot work I got her looser and she did come round for me. Canter to the left was perfect! Fast but there was none of that rushing business I talked off before and once I slowed her down, it was that wonderful canter she always has. Then I gave her a short walk break and began working to the right, went into trot on a circle and it was after about a half a circle that Bella did this very weird hop. To me it felt lick she was kicking her back leg out but from where my mum was watching, she said it looked like she was hopping on her front leg.

Previously back where we first kept Bella she did have an episode for about 2 weeks where she'd kick out in the canter but that was just her being naughty and she stopped once I showed her I wasn't going to take that kind of behaviour.

I did the same thing with this little act in the trot, I didn't have my whip on me so I wasn't using that. I would sternly go "Nah-ah!" and give a soft tug on the rein. This was what I did when she kicked out in the canter, a long with a soft tap on the rump or shoulder with a whip, however I had no whip this time. The stern voice and soft tugs would work for a few strides but then she would keep doing it, it is a very weird feeling, like I said it feels like a hop or a skip. My mum told the lady who owns the stables and she said that getting her back checked might be a good idea, I want to get an instructor down to have a lesson with me (I haven't had one in a while). To help me get back into the swing of riding and some of my confidence back. I'm generally a nervous rider and it seems I've lost some confidence over the break when Bella was resting. However, I thought I'd explain the story on here to see if anyone has had similar trouble? Is it something I should get checked by a vet? Or get her back checked? Or is she just being naughty?

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post #2 of 7 Old 01-11-2014, 10:16 AM
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Georgia
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<p>My best friend horse had had back problems in the past. But that was from when she was younger, they were training her for cutting and to get her to stop. They would run her into a wall, hoping she would pick up on stopping and she didn't. And she hit the wall too hard one time and she messed her whole back up.

6 years later and her back is completely healed. But she does need it adjusted every now and again.
If you think it's her Back, run you fingers along her spin and feel for bumps. Then Stand behind her and see if you see anything that's uneven.

my horse have a favorite "side"where when I work him to the left, he does everything I ask. But as soon as I start working him to the right he gives an attitude.

for the nail, I am so glad she's okay! I knew someone and her horse harely had a nail go up his foot but it was a bit worse he was out for weeks due to it was rusted

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Last edited by DraftOn; 01-11-2014 at 10:19 AM.
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post #3 of 7 Old 01-11-2014, 11:13 AM
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Washington
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Honestly it's extremely hard to tell from what you described whether it's a behavior or a pain issue. I'd have the chiro out anyways because she's been out of work for some time and then you put her right back into some pretty intense stuff with the hours of lunging. (I never lunge for more than 20 minutes tops- really hard on the joints and back and neck) There's a very good possibility that she needs an adjustment.

I'd like to see a vid of this hopping thing you're trying to describe. Is she doing it consistently? Every few strides? Has her demeanor changed while riding otherwise?

I'm always an advocate for getting lessons because your instructor can tel you so many things about her in the moment that you won't have the privilege of hearing over the Internet from someone who's never seen your horse work.

Good luck, glad that nail narrowly missed her bone, but if it's the same foot she could be displaying signs of pain at putting pressure on it at the higher gaits.
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post #4 of 7 Old 01-11-2014, 11:23 AM
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Stifle problem?
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post #5 of 7 Old 01-11-2014, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Australia
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Originally Posted by Ninamebo View Post
Honestly it's extremely hard to tell from what you described whether it's a behavior or a pain issue. I'd have the chiro out anyways because she's been out of work for some time and then you put her right back into some pretty intense stuff with the hours of lunging. (I never lunge for more than 20 minutes tops- really hard on the joints and back and neck) There's a very good possibility that she needs an adjustment.

The lunging I did with her for almost an hour was not very intense, I also normally would lunge her for 10 minutes, 20 tops if it was a warm up but I was extremely careful with what I did, she was never good at walking on the lunge and so I took such an opportunity to practice that with her but I can assure you it was nothing intense. I'd never put Bella through intense work right after being out of it for a long time.

As for the question about the video, hopefully I will be able to get some footage when I go up to see her next, I've already talked to my parents that it would be best to get a chiro for Bella and an instructor too.

This is why we do it, this is worth the pain, this is why we fall down and get back up again. This is where the heart lies, this is from above. Love is this, this is love.
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post #6 of 7 Old 01-11-2014, 08:15 PM
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Minnesota
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This may sound crazy, but check teeth! The Thoroughbred I ride would do a hop in the trot and found out it was because of her teeth.
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post #7 of 7 Old 01-11-2014, 08:25 PM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Eastern Ontario
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Like Ninamebo said, it's hard to make judgment on this without seeing it. However, from your post, I'm almost thinking it may be the stifles locking up and the kicking being her trying to unlock them. My mum's mare is like this. For the first while we thought she was just being miserable, but she was really just kicking out to loosen herself up. Again, it's hard to say really without seeing it.

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