Running and falling in the barn...a lot! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 36 Old 02-16-2017, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Coastal Maine
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Running and falling in the barn...a lot!

My 10 year old Haflinger has me worried and unsure what to do. Three times I have seen him race into his stall and then slip and fall. I have no idea if he has done it when I'm gone, but I imagine so.

The first time, the neighbors turned on some Christmas tree lights that shot light around through the trees. Nemo wheeled, barreled into his stall and fell.

The second time, his automatic feeder dumped a quarter cup of grain in his feeder, and he galloped into his stall, slipped and fell.

And then tonight, DH was snow-blowing a path and Nemo watched for quite a while, then suddenly lit out for the barn and crashed down, thrashed a while, and then was up.

His set-up is two 12x12 stalls, one leading into another through a 4' open door. The floor is shavings over rubber mats over concrete. I pick his feet, but balls of snow may have been a factor in this last fall, but not the two before.

It feels very dangerous both for him and for me. I don't want him fracturing a femur and I don't want to be taken out by a thrashing 1000 pound horse.

Any thoughts?
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post #2 of 36 Old 02-16-2017, 07:14 PM
Join Date: Feb 2017
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Does he fall on his side and just come back up? or does he just sit there? I have rubber mats on concrete as well and I use pellets and then some shavings/sawdust on top and my horses seem to never slip at all. Sounds like he gets excited and just runs too fast. If there was some way you could slow him down that would help but I'm not sure. all I cant think of it to put something on the ground that has more traction.
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post #3 of 36 Old 02-16-2017, 07:23 PM
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Boy, that's a new one. Has all this just started over the winter?Does he have shoes on?

If it's only happened over the winter, all I can think of is he's got enough ice buildup on his hooves, along with coming in the stall too fast, that he is sliding out from under himself when he tries to stop.

Is there anyway you can slow him down far enough in advance to where he is at least trotting into his stall?

I would say ten is old enough to know better but one of my horses is coming 23 and he still likes to go Mach 80 toward the fence, put the brakes on, wheel on his back end, and these days almost doesn't make the turn. It has cost him stifle injuries and his pelvis slightly out. I know this because I've paid the chiropractor to fix him a few times:(

If your horse has fallen three times already, check for hear/swelling in his legs and, if you can, get a chiropractor to look at him.

You're right to be worried for him and you.

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post #4 of 36 Old 02-16-2017, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Coastal Maine
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Snow was only involved in one of the falls; tonights. Otherwise, no. When he falls, he thrashes to get back up and seems to have difficulty finding purchase. Her really flails.

The outer stall has a thin layer of shavings and he has fallen both when they are dry, and when they are wet and heavy (like tonight, with the snow). The inner stall where he has fallen at least once has about 8" of dry shavings.

The mats are several years old; maybe there are mats out there now with better surfaces. So the issue really two-fold: one, footing, and two, behavior. I would love it if he stopped running in the barn. And he is barefoot. Could shoes help?

And yes, I think a chiropractor is in order.
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post #5 of 36 Old 02-16-2017, 09:14 PM
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No, don't shoe him. I only asked because I thought there might be some ice buildup on shoes.

Yes, have the chiro give him a thorough once over. In the meantime, check him over for leg heat and also get a video of him moving at liberty when he's walking.

Mostly for yourself. Sometimes we, as owners, don't really "see" what we're looking at. I found taking videos with this fancy Smartphone and playing them back later in the day, can show things I didn't "see" while I was standing there looking at the horse.

It would also be a good thing to show your vet or chiro or both, if you see something wrong.

If you have a way to post a video that was taken in good light, someone else might be able to pick up on something.

At any rate, I agree a chiro appointment is in order unless you happen to see him fall outside, then I'd call your vet first.
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post #6 of 36 Old 02-16-2017, 09:32 PM
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I was thinking what walk said about ice. And, it can happen when they're barefoot if it's really built up. My mare walked fine the other day from her snowy field across a packed/icy pathway without slipping, and then when we walked into the barn, skidded across the concrete and almost went down because a back foot was so full of ice, even though I didn't see it when she was walking outside.

But barring that, I don't have any great advice. Is he unbalanced if you lunge or walk him in tight circles?
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post #7 of 36 Old 02-16-2017, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
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He walks really wide behind and it seems to me that he stomps his hind feet down excessively hard. I had the vet out but she didn't see anything wrong. He also lifts his right hind hoof up with more resistance than his left.
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post #8 of 36 Old 02-16-2017, 11:41 PM
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Do your stall mats have some kind of traction on them? If not my guess would be that they could be the culprit. If our trailer mats, which are smooth, are the least little bit damp the horses sometimes slip stepping in even with shavings on the floor.
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post #9 of 36 Old 02-16-2017, 11:49 PM
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Why does he have free access to his stall in the first place?
Yes, stalls can become a horse;s sense of security, afterall, hroses have been known, in a panic, after being led out of a burning barn,to dash back in
I would have an outside shelter, and lead him into his stall. A horse is going to race to a stall, if he thinks grain is being fed, if that is his security, ect
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post #10 of 36 Old 02-16-2017, 11:53 PM
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I'd try putting something across the door like a rope and hang flags off it. Then I'd go outside with him and close it off, bringing him close so he can see that it's closed. I'd leave it closed for awhile, and then open it, making sure it was closed off at times he would tend to go inside (supervising). This could teach him that sometimes this area is open and sometimes it is closed, and would make him more likely to approach it slowly to see if it is closed or open.
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