Help I have a clumsy Horse!!!
   

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Help I have a clumsy Horse!!!

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  • My horse trips when I put bell boots on?
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    03-10-2011, 05:18 PM
  #1
Foal
Lightbulb Help I have a clumsy Horse!!!

I have a 6 year old TB gelding. He is a great horse and the only complaint that I have other than he is a cribber is that he is very clumsy. Before I got him he was turned out in the pasture for months at a time and pulled out to ride and then put back up.

I noticed when I 1st started riding him that he was a little clumsy but we just rode in the pasture and on trails. He is overweight so I've been trying to exercise him and tone him up. When I'm not able to ride him I lunge him.

This is where my issue comes in. The weather has kept the ground wet lately but even when its typically dry, when he circles he tends to slip and stimble a LOT.

He has not fell completely down but one time he did go down pretty far and I thought he was going to fall over completely. In my mind I am hoping that it may be because he is so out of shape and overweight and just hasn't been exercised on a regular basis in a long time.

I don't know if I am correct about my idea or not. I would like any suggestions or thoughts on this, please.
     
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    03-10-2011, 05:26 PM
  #2
Started
Welcome to the Forum!! :)

What kind of shape are his feet in? Is he due for a trim? Has he been trimmed correctly? Are there any conformational irregularities with his feet (club foot, etc.) or old injuries? He's a TB - was he ever raced, I.e. Any old racing/training stresses/injuries?

What exactly are you asking him to do when he trips? Just ambling along, actively walking, trotting, cantering... ?

If his feet are ok, then my guess is that he is simply offbalanced, something that good training will help as he learns where to put his feet and how to move. In the meantime, recognize when you might be asking for something that could compromise his balance too much too soon. For example, if he's having trouble at the trot, don't expect it to get better with speed.
     
    03-10-2011, 05:37 PM
  #3
Foal
He had an injury to one of his legs but it hasn't bothered him. He is due for a trimming and has been trimmed regularly. He has no other problems with his feet at this time.

He is doing it when he is trotting. At a walk he is great. He is stubborn when I lunge him and can rarely get him to a loap. When you ride him, he can be very lazy but with a tap from the leather string on my saddle he perks right up. I've noticed more and more that he is not picking up his feet when he stumbles. I recently watched a training video that suggested laying poles out and having them walk over them to learn to pick their feet up.

I think I'm going to try this but wanted other suggestions as to things that may be goind on for him to be slipping and stumbling so much.

** A thought that my husband mentioned the other day: When I 1st started lunging him. I took out my stick and when he saw it. He immediately started panicing, backing up, prancing..... etc. I started rubbing him down with it and he is now comforatable and doesn't do that anymore. My husband seems to think that he is scared of the stick. He typically seems to stumble and slip more when he is asked to do something with it.

But even at other times he is still slipping and stumbling.
     
    03-10-2011, 06:09 PM
  #4
Green Broke
I agree it could be that he needs a trim. Is the area you work him on uneven or rough? If he is lazy with his feet and drags his toes when he moves, that could easily cause a trip.

When you are working him, make note of whether or not it is the same foot he trips with all the time or if it switches around. If it's always the same foot, he may have something hurting, or something going on in his shoulder or back limiting his range of motion. If that's the case, you may consider having a vet or chiro look at him.

If he's simply lazy or out of shape, I'd start out getting his fitness level up, and then add in things like trot poles to help him learn to place his feet better.
     
    03-10-2011, 06:15 PM
  #5
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Christiannhorserider    
He had an injury to one of his legs but it hasn't bothered him. He is due for a trimming and has been trimmed regularly. He has no other problems with his feet at this time.

He is doing it when he is trotting. At a walk he is great. He is stubborn when I lunge him and can rarely get him to a loap. When you ride him, he can be very lazy but with a tap from the leather string on my saddle he perks right up. I've noticed more and more that he is not picking up his feet when he stumbles. I recently watched a training video that suggested laying poles out and having them walk over them to learn to pick their feet up.

I think I'm going to try this but wanted other suggestions as to things that may be goind on for him to be slipping and stumbling so much.

** A thought that my husband mentioned the other day: When I 1st started lunging him. I took out my stick and when he saw it. He immediately started panicing, backing up, prancing..... etc. I started rubbing him down with it and he is now comforatable and doesn't do that anymore. My husband seems to think that he is scared of the stick. He typically seems to stumble and slip more when he is asked to do something with it.

But even at other times he is still slipping and stumbling.
Without seeing him in action, it does sound like he just needs to learn to pick up his feet and move with a little more energy. Ground poles can help, but I do recommend outfitting him with some kind of leg protection first. The last thing you want is him banging into poles with his legs at this point. I've also seen poles set up on a curve, with the ends at the "hub" propped up and the other end resting on the ground. Might be an option after he's mastered simple ground poles.

The stick might have something to do with it. My gelding fell all the way down once, tripped over his own feet mid-spook (I was leading him, not riding). If they're scared, they tend to move first and ask questions later - this applies to foot placement, too. Take care with desensitizing, though. There's a fine line between defusing a fear of the tool and making it meaningless. It's harder in the long run to deal with a horse who has been desensitized to the point that you can't get him to move off at all.

ETA: Apachie (she posted at the same time as me :P ) has an excellent point on the tripping being a subtle sign of lameness, coming from somewhere other than the foot. Definitely something else to look into.
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    03-10-2011, 06:58 PM
  #6
Foal
My gelding has this problem too. I started putting overreach boots on before I work with him to make sure there wasn't an accident as he has fallen all the way before. I also moved my round pen to an area where the dirt is deeper so he has to work harder to move his feet. As my horse got in better shape so did his foot placement.

I forgot to tell you that groundwork such as trotting in hand, backing up, walking through ditches and over trees helped a ton with my horse's clumsiness.
     
    03-10-2011, 10:02 PM
  #7
Trained
First, make sure to put leg boots on all four legs and bell boots on the fronts. Take him out trail riding and let him pick his way through uneven terrain, logs, rocks, etc. Don't micro-manage him. If you can, ride him on a loose rein and let him find his way through the obstacles. He needs to know he's responsible for his own feet. It's possible that he's lacking muscle in his hind end from his time off and just needs to build himself back up.
     
    03-10-2011, 10:32 PM
  #8
Super Moderator
I rode a horse that was like that. He went down under me three times at the walk. Once because he stepped on his own front bell boot and then couldn't lift that foot up, so went to his knees and laid me down real pretty in the sand by his head.
So, I don't put bell boots on now.
I agree that tripping can mean problems elsewhere; such as arthritic hocks, which turned out to be this gelding's problems. If the hip or hock is't working well, then they won't/cant' pick up feet, so stumbling happens more.

When we ride on the trails, I ask him to pick up his feet and really walk out briskly and I ask him to lift up and carry his own head, not let it hang down. I don't do this endlessly, but occasionally do this. Keeps him awake and when he is more on the bit, he doesn't trip as much.

When we go through rough terrain, I let him have his head as long as he does NOT just let himself go slogging down a hill. In fact, I worked a lot with this horse having him come to a stop midhill and even back up several steps. Backing a horse up a hill a few steps is probably the number one excersize for building under muscles and improving balance at the walk.
     
    03-14-2011, 08:32 AM
  #9
Foal
Even if you are having him trimmed regularly, he may be completely out of balance. My gelding was very sensitive to long toes. I had him trimmed and shod every 5-6 weeks and he was a total klutz. I finally had him evaluated by a farrier and a veterinarian. Xrays showed his palmar angle was low and his toes were way too long. The farrier trimmed his toes back and really sat him more upright. Then improved his breakover by squaring the toes. This made a WORLD of difference in my horse's performance.

Bottom line: even regular maintenance doesn't mean the horse's feet won't get out of balance. A good farrier should be able to help you with this. If not, time to see a vet who specializes in horses. Preferrably one noted for lameness/soundness issues.
     
    03-14-2011, 03:05 PM
  #10
Foal
I have a TWH that stumbles frequently on the trail, not on any particular hoof. He stumbles the same amount of time on fronts and rears. He has been trimmed regularly and I have him trimmed short with rolled toes. I think it is probably from laziness and not paying attention because he doesn't stumble when he is excited, feeling frisky, or on rough terrain. Does anyone know if putting slightly weighed bell boots on him could make him pick up his feet better?
     

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