Horse tripping a lot on trails

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Horse tripping a lot on trails

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  • Tripped on the trail
  • How to get a horse to be sure footed on trails

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    10-22-2009, 07:31 PM
Horse tripping a lot on trails

I had not been out trail riding in over a month before today. Basically went on an hour long walk in the woods. Granted it wasn't the best groomed trails. Lots of rocks and tree roots to trip over, not to mention fallen trees. Anyway, my horse was tripping a lot. A few times he almost fell over completely. Over the summer he had something going on where he was just tired all the time. It was never completely diagnosed, but neurological things were completely ruled out. I can't really say he's out of shape since he didn't even break a sweat even under the girth despite it being a 70 degree day and he already has a thick winter coat. He did seem to get better towards the end. He just seems to be less sure footed this year than he was as a 5 and 6 year old. Is this anything I should be concerned about, or do some horses just take awhile to find their legs?
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    10-22-2009, 07:38 PM
Green Broke
Just a thought, how's his eyesight? Also, is he due or over due for a trim/shoeing?
    10-22-2009, 07:54 PM
I'm assuming his eyes are fine. He sure can see a carrot coming from a mile away. Today when we got lost, I pretty much dropped the reins and he did fine on his own finding the way home. I doubt he'd be able to do that if he couldn't see, could he? He's not due for shoes for another 2 weeks, so that's probably not an issue.
    10-22-2009, 08:10 PM
Green Broke
How is he at going over ground poles (caveletti , sp.? ). Is he picking his feet up nicely and not hitting any? On the trail were you riding with a loose rein so he could put his head where needed to navigate the terrain. Just spitballing here, eliminating what can be eliminated.

Is he still tired acting, and could that be causing him to not pick his feet up well on the uneven terrain? That's kinda why I asked about the ground poles.
    10-22-2009, 08:28 PM
I haven't had access to ground poles in awhile. We recently moved to a new barn and I've been riding in a public ring that doesn't have any poles or jumps. That's a good question. I'll have to set something up and see how he does over them. Maybe he is just still tired. One of the possible diagnosis' over the summer was Lyme disease, but his titer came back a low positive, so we discounted it. Maybe it was Lyme and I screwed up.
    10-22-2009, 08:29 PM
How many weeks does he usually go between trims ? He might just need to be trimmed more often
    10-22-2009, 08:37 PM
how many weeks does he usually go between trims ? He might just need to be trimmed more often
I sure hope he doesn't need to be trimmed more often. I can barely afford him now! He's only at 4 weeks right now. We normally don't go past 6.
    10-22-2009, 09:50 PM
He could be lacking confedince, not spooky or anxious, just not feeling so sure of himself. You moved recently and you havn't done trails a lot recently, so that could make him a little less sure footed. Some horses lose/gain their "trail legs" much faster than others.

Lyme disease is a tricky one to test for, it's one of those ones that doesn't always show up when it's being tested, was it a single test or was he tested a few times?
    10-22-2009, 10:02 PM
We just tested once for Lyme. I've always had a bad feeling that we blew the diagnosis. He has occasional back soreness and hasn't been great about standing for the farrier the past two shoeings, so it does fit a little in terms of overall soreness. He doesn't have any personality changes. He's still his sweet self, so that goes against the diagnosis.

I know when we first went out today, he was going completely away from the barn and was somewhat conflicted about going. It's like half his body was moving forward and the other half was going backwards. The funny thing is, when he does get to something tricky like a rocky slope down to a stream and back up a bank (like he did today), he navigates it like a champ. I feel like he's just not paying attention about where his feet are, but I get worried when he trips as much as he did today.
    10-22-2009, 10:06 PM
I sure hope he doesn't need to be trimmed more often. I can barely afford him now! He's only at 4 weeks right now. We normally don't go past 6.
Do not go any shorter than 6 weeks. Nelson is on 6 weeks as well, if I were to go any shorter of a time period than that, then there would be no where to put the nails for the shoes, and there would be no growth.


Nelson does the same thing MyBoyPuck. It is called lazyness or sloppyness. It isn't that he is being lazy as in not wanting to work - I mean as in not knowing that he needs to pick up his feet more accurately.

As George Morris stresses to those who jump low fences or grids continuoulsy - teaches a horse to be sloppy. Meaning they don't tuck as they shoud and they drop their backs instead of rounding them.

Same idea - just not as dramatic.

Over the time where Nelson and I took a year off *from lessons and compeating*, we would trail ride and he would trip, stumble, fumble. It was quite frustrating, especially when he would trip and catch himself in the mouth with the bit.

So I set up cavaletti's in the arena *had them upside down so they were trot poles* and worked on going over those for a few days. Then I would rotate the cavaletti's so they were on their side, raising the "pole" part a bit higher up off the ground, and did the same until eventually they were upright.

The higher we went, the higher Nelson lifted his legs - and yes, this stopped him from being sloppy out on the trails.

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