Horse does not stretch out fully when running - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 02-22-2013, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: North Dakota
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Horse does not stretch out fully when running

So this might just be because I rode a leggy 16.1 hh gelding for the last 10 years and I'm used to a massive ground-eating stride, but I feel like my new gelding Red (about 15.2 hands) does not stretch out his back legs when running.

I primarily like to barrel race, so of course, it's important to have a horse that stretches out and runs.

Red is going to be 7 this year. I bought him last year in May. He wasn't ridden much at all (which is why he was for sale) and so most of the summer was spent teaching some basic fundamentals.

I have started him on the barrel pattern, and I do "breeze" him in a safe open field about once or twice a week. He is a very hot and energetic horse so I'm placing lots of emphasis on keeping him relaxed and listening to me as much as I can. Hence I don't breeze him if he's not listening. I'm not out to create a nut job of a horse.

I am sure he was never RUN flat out with his previous owners. So I figured it would take some time for him to learn how to stretch out and fly. He hasn't seemed to have pickup up on it yet though.

I just took this video last night, of him goofing around in the corral. Quick back story: Just over a month ago, he got his back leg into the smooth wire fence, and he's been stalled and bandaged since then. He's completely sound on it, but it's just taking time to heal. Need some healing prayers for my boy Red (some graphic photos -- beware!)

Last night was the first time he's been outside in over a month. (The vet said he can be outside, as long as the bandage stays up.) I knew he'd go bananas, and he did. If I was smart enough, I would have started video'ing from the beginning.

But you can kind of see the way that he gallops. Granted, this is a small pen with snow and frozen ground, and he's probably a bit stiff from being in a stall, but I feel like it is still a good representation of how he does gallop. I'm always the one riding him, so I haven't exactly seen it, but how this looks is how it FEELS to me in the saddle.

His injury has sidetracked his "regular" care. He has never been seen by an equine chiro, but I will be doing that when he heals a bit more. And he will be having a complete health check by a lameness specialist (who is now his regular vet helping us with his injury). His feet do need the farrier, but again, that's been on hold until his leg heals a bit more.

So am I crazy???? Or does he seem to have a choppy back end when galloping at speed?

Maybe I am just over-analyzing.

This was last September. We're not going real fast at all, so I wouldn't expect him to "stretch out" on this, but maybe it can give some sort of idea for how he moves.

But even when he bucks in this one, he doesn't extend into the air like a "normal bronc" would.

These are the sort of "stretch out like crazy" horses I am used to riding. I just don't feel like Red does that, even when I breeze him.

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post #2 of 6 Old 02-22-2013, 07:59 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
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Doesnt look like he stretches out but maybe with more training it will happen. Hes sure a handsome boy though. The video of him running in the snow he looks choppy in that but i think its due to the ground conditions. I sure like his looks thats is one nice horse you have there.
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post #3 of 6 Old 02-22-2013, 08:23 PM
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I think you're worrying over nothing. (I totally get that, I'd be worried about him too, coming out of an injury) But its winter, and its cold. He's been stall-bound for over a month, and the ground is frozen and slick. Of course he's stiff and shallow-moving. I would honestly be surprised if he WASN'T stiff and sore at first, considering how long he's been kept up for his injury. He does look a *little* short strided even in the older video, but that could be either he wasn't exerting himself, or his confo makes him inclined to be shorter behind. I don't think you have anything to worry about though.

"Keep a leg on each side and your mind in the middle"
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post #4 of 6 Old 02-22-2013, 08:28 PM
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Minnesota
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What arena/town are those photos at?
Sorry, I'm just kind of curious, I live in ND-MN area.

How he loped in the first video is exactely how my friends 16.2hh Thoroughbred cross lopes. I'm wondering if possibly your horse had some pleasure training? My friends horse had a ton of pleasure training on him and she thinks the reason why he lopes like that is because he was always taught to be collected. She took hers to a chiropractor and he had a lot messed up with him. I mean both his hips were locked in the sockets, 2 popped out vertebrae, withers off centered and 5 ribs out of place and an absess in his front hoof. But even afterwards he always lopes where it looks like he can't stretch out. I will see if I can find a video of her horse doing it.
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post #5 of 6 Old 02-22-2013, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: North Dakota
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Spirit: thanks! Yes, he is a good-looking THICK boy!

Apache: I figured he'd be stiff but taking that video reminded me that I have been thinking about this for a while -- not just yesterday.

Thrill: Hi! the arena in the first photo with the roan was in Wishek, ND. And the second photo with my big chestnut was in LaMoure, ND.

I have no idea who trained him, although I could find out. He will trot and gallop very nice and slow and collected for me ... Once I get him calmed down!!! He's very energetic; he'd never make a real western pleasure horse (although I do plan to take him to local showing shows this summer, just to keep him well rounded and not a hot head).

Yes I am curious what the chiro and lameness vet will say, when he's healed up enough for it.
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post #6 of 6 Old 03-02-2013, 05:04 AM
Join Date: May 2012
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Could just be the way he moves. If the vet and chiro don't say he is in pain or anything is out. I personally wouldn't worry (and I worry about everything :)). My guy doesn't really dig when we turn a barrel (more or less hops and scoots) and I have been trying to fix it for the past year. I have finally come to the conclusion that is just how he will be. When it warms up and he is in shape re-evaluate.
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