My gelding wont canter? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 07-23-2012, 02:45 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Edmond, Oklahoma
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Exclamation My gelding wont canter?

Okay, so, My gelding wont canter with a rider on his back. I have only seen him canter when he knows its lunch time, and even then, its only for a few short strides. I'm nervous.

I know it could be alot of things and I'm just trying to figure it out. We do need a farrier to come out since the vet suspects its his feet. They aren't bad bad, but they do need to be trimmed.

Anyway. He is a 12 year old Quarter horse gelding, that had no issues up until about a month ago cantering. Now, everytime I ask him to canter he pins his ears back, and does a weird trot that isn't his normal trot. I've had my friends watch him to see what he does and he feels like he's about to go into a canter, but instead he does the weird trot, and then completely stops.

I'm not sure on how to see if his saddle correctly fits him, since I don't ride with a trainer with him. And if his back is sore, how can I tell if it is? And I was just wondering what y'all think it could be...
Also, the vet suggested giving him some bute that we have, but he doesn't likeApples and its apple flavored, so he won't eat it...even when its mixed in his feed... Help??
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post #2 of 6 Old 07-23-2012, 02:51 PM
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He's telling you he's unhappy. If the vet says maybe his feet, start there. Get a saddle fitter out. Palpate his back and see if he reacts. Consider getting a chiropractor out.
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post #3 of 6 Old 07-23-2012, 03:07 PM
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Generally speaking, when a horse refuses to do something that it used to do without issue, the culprit is pain. Usually with the canter, it's a pain issue in the back or hocks. I strongly suggest getting a saddle fitter out (not just a trainer or a friend that claims to know how to fit a saddle, but someone professionally trained) to have a look at the saddle, and a vet out for a complete once-over, addressing possible issues in the back or hocks; flexion tests of the rear legs especially are important. Xrays or Ultrasounds may be required to pinpoint the issue if the vet finds something that s/he wants to investigate further.
A very common culprit, though, is saddle fit. My friend's mare went really lame a while back and we couldn't figure out the cause; the trainer (a very VERY knowledgable dressage coach) checked the saddle fit and said that it looked and felt okay, but the mare just kept getting worse; finally starting to refuse to canter and bucking when pressured into it. My friend finally had a professional saddle fitter out who assessed the saddle as being much to narrow for the mare, and she had a deep muscle bruise due to the saddle being used for a couple of weeks without fitting correctly. She needed almost a month off of being under saddle (lunging kept her fit) to let her back and muscles heal, then she was fitted with a saddle that worked with her back instead of against it.. she was a changed horse. The fitter also warned that she could have had permanent damage if the saddle hadn't been changed.
Anyways, that's my little blurb explaining that trainers, while wonderful with many other aspects, may not understand saddle fit as well as need be for the horse.

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post #4 of 6 Old 07-23-2012, 03:11 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Edmond, Oklahoma
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Alright. The thing is, He is fine bareback and everything, and my parents wont pay for anything the vet has to do. I am not old enough for a job just yet, so I have limited money... and I was told that from the withers to the pommel of the saddle should be 3 fingers? Is that true? Because we really don't have saddle fitters. Ive googled it and nobody comes up.
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post #5 of 6 Old 07-23-2012, 03:13 PM
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If he's fine bareback, and not with a saddle .. that pretty much answers the question of the problem.

Nobody is going to be able to tell you exactly what is wrong on the internet, unfortunately.

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post #6 of 6 Old 07-23-2012, 03:43 PM
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Well, the saddle sounds like the issue, that's for sure. I wouldn't quite rule out other physical issues, a vet once over might still be a good idea, but it's still looking quite plausible that the saddle is the root of the problem.

There is MUCH more to saddle fitting than "three fingers under the pommel." The saddle must sit level, the panels must be wide enough to accommodate the horse's spine, but not so wide that they exert pressure on the transverse processes, the panels can't pinch the wither ... the list goes on. I have read up on, watched videos, and had hands-on experience with fitting saddles, and I still would not feel confident saying whether or not a saddle fits correctly. There are too many factors, and the horse's well-being is at stake. Think of it as shoe shopping... you wouldn't walk into a shoe store and buy a pair of shoes based on how they look on the shelf, without bothering to check what size to get... if they're too wide, you'll get blisters and ruin your gait, if you get them too small, they'll pinch and ruin your gait - would you go on an hour long run in shoes that didn't fit well? Even if you find a correct size for your foot, you will notice that some shoes feel better than others... pretty much same goes for a saddle.
Also, generally speaking, one thing to keep in mind is if you have a cheap saddle, the chances of it not fitting (any horse) correctly is much greater than one made by a saddlemaker that puts effort into the product.

A quick Google search isn't enough - the two saddle fitters I know of in my area aren't even Google-able. I found out about them through word-of-mouth; tack stores, chiropractors, farriers and vets may have contacts with various saddle fitters as well.

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