Forging in a dressage prospect?
Hello all you very helpful Dressage riders,
I am looking for my first Dressage mount and have found a mare (TB/WB cross) that I am interested in. One issue is that she forges.
I haven't explored this issue with the current owners because I didn't really understand what this was until I got back home and looked it up on the internet.
So, my question: how bad is this for a dressage horse? Can it be fixed? My observation is that it occurred at the trot and the owners mentioned that the horse was pretty tired (from training for and being in a dressage show the day before) and that when she is tired, this mare will forge. (Also, I noticed they did not use wraps or boots on her-- would this be advisable with a horse that forges?)
Also, I notice this mare has quite an overreach at the walk-- she gets nice scores on her free walk because of it, but perhaps there is a limit to how much overreach is desirable (?)
Thanks for your opinions!
I would venture to guess that something like 9 out of 10 forgers do so because of a bad trim job (or more correctly, a series of bad trim jobs). Any chance you have a photo you could post?
I agree with DraftXDressage. In the case of a poor trim, what causes the forging is the horse not being able to 'roll over' the front feet quickly enough due to the toe being too long. They lag, and then the horse taps them with the hind feet. Adjusting the trim to make the break-over in the front feet quicker/earlier can alleviate/solve the problem. A good farrier should know what you are talking about when you describe the problem to him. Also, you might get the opinion of a vet you trust.
As far as how 'bad' it is for a dressage horse: if it truly is a conformational problem and not a trimming or training issue (horses that still have to build strength will forge more quickly than those with a lot of stamina) I would pass on the horse since it is a conformational flaw. A vet should be able to give you a conclusive verdict on that.
If you do decide to buy the horse because the forging is fixable, leg protection would definitely be a good idea. If the horse is in shoes, bell boots too. It'll protect the legs until the horse builds strength.
Could be the way the horse is being ridden. A lot of riders who are still working on learning to balance a horse have trouble with horses who over reach. I would look at the advice above first, since it's easily eliminated, then look to how the horse was ridden. Get a good traininer who can help you. He will need good, consistent riding to develop the right muscles and balance himself so he goesnt forge. This could be a very good prospect.
Thanks for the advice on forging
Thanks for all your responses. I am just arranging to have my trainer come out to see this mare and I will be asking more questions about what they've done to correct the trim/shoeing.
They have already told me that they keep her shod all around partly because of a quarter-crack that re-appears in one hind hoof if she is not shod.
I'll update you after the next visit. She is only the third horse I've looked at so even though she is nice I may want to continue looking to get an idea what is out there before I make a decision.
A good farrier and good riding and training generally get rid of forging.
My horse forged as a young horse, mainly in the walk (he has a big walk) but has made an excellent dressage horse. There are a lot of other factors to look at before something that is potentially only a farriery or training issue. Any conformation faults will be obvious enough to rule out the horse before they are glaring enough to cause forging.
Any conformation faults?
I am trying to post a picture of the horse I'm considering buying... haven't done this before so hopefully it will work. If you see anything I should be concerned about (conformation-wise), let me know... She is a tall TB/WB cross.
P.S. They have been riding her with draw reins due to the fact that she was a jumper and did eventing and was let to around with her nose sticking in the air. I'm not sure that I would continue with them as she seems to have gotten over that from what I could tell.
As said, a farrier can help with any forging questions.
As for the horse "being tired"? That is a possible red flag for me. I worry that they rode the poo out of her prior to your arrival so that she would be calmer. I would suggest you show up at least an hour early the next time you go to try her out. Take a book to read and see if she is being ridden prior to your scheduled show up time.
If the horse had high headed problems, I figure she was likely poorly ridden/trained and hot as a firecracker.
i have to agree with allison on this one. if she was high headed as a jumper and eventer, that screams of bad training to me (and potentially a forward hot headed horse). any good jumper or eventer will tell you they want their horse on the aids, not head up and inverted. it's not easy to clear a large jump - or course full of them - when jumping flat, and you better believe that for safety when eventing i want my horse on the aids and listening (nevermind the whole dressage phase where the horse has to move properly...).
also the draw reins are another big red flag. if the horse needs draw reins they are simply fixing a problem with another problem. i'm not anti-draw reins, but they are tool, not a means to be used every ride as a quick fix, and it sounds like they are doing the latter. not only would i never show a horse to a potential buyer in draw reins, if i was looking to buy a horse and the owner had them in draw reins i'd immed ask them to be removed and see THEM ride the horse w/o them first. if they refused, i'd be out of there...
good luck, but my gut on this one says save your time and money and pass. there are better horses out there.
Thanks- those are astute and helpful answers.
Basically, the sellers seem like very honest people and also pretty knowledgeable about horses. I will be careful and in fact, they are offering to have me lease the horse before buying so that should tell me a lot.
And the first thing I will do is lose the draw reins. That is me riding in the picture and although I held on to the the draw reins, they really weren't in use (so I'm not sure why they are even using them-- the horse didn't offer to raise her head at all but we'll see once the draw reins are off :)
Thanks again. I am taking my time with my search and this is only the third horse I've tried, so will probably keep looking for awhile.
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