I need help with a stumbler

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I need help with a stumbler

This is a discussion on I need help with a stumbler within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Toe in land first and tripping sometimes
  • Tripping twh

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    01-26-2010, 02:17 PM
I need help with a stumbler

We have 2 TWH that we trail ride with. Mine is older (17) and is fairly sure footed, but my hubbys is 6 years old and was not ridden a lot before we got him. He is a really bomb proof very tall guy(at least 16 1/2 hands). He has a wonderful personality and we don't want to get rid of him but he has a stumbling problem.

When we are doing a fast running walk, climbing hills or going down steep grades he is fine. But, when we are going along a fairly smooth area, usually a old road bed, gravel road or a smooth trail, always with a slight downhill grade. HE STUMBLES, he has fallen to his knees a couple of times. Once pitching my hubby over his head.

When he is walking along a gravel road he does not act sore footed, and he sometimes will "throw" gravel ahead of him as he walks. At first I felt he was young, tall and lanky who just needed to learn trail riding. I also thought he just "zoned" out and tripped. This horse is a very laid back guy, not lazy but not hyper. We REALLY want to keep him because he has such a great personality, but we are afraid of getting hurt on him.

We have a farrier who shoes TWH and have talked to him about it. The farrier has changed a few things with the shoes but so far nothing has helped. Does anyone out there have any ideas?? Will he grow out of this or at 6 years is this how he is??

Thanks for any help
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    01-26-2010, 02:42 PM
We have had a few stumblers in the past... one mare, we still have her but she's partially retired, was a dangerous stumbler... and our old gelding (we gave him away when he got too old to ride) was also a stumbler. The mares hooves were done by my uncle and his son who didn't know didly squat about shoeing or trimming... she was, and still is, constantly standing on long toes or 'duck feet'. We managed to get her trimmed properly a few times, and when trimmed properly she was fine, no stumbing or anything...

With our gelding, we tried everything to get him to stop stumbling... finally, our farrier looked him over, watched his gaits really carefully, and realized that our old boy had arthritis really bad in one fetlock and we all agreed that that was what was causing him to stumble, the pain. After we gave him to my cousin for a 'pet', she put him on a joint supplement and was able to ride him safely for a few months before his arthritis got so bad that even with the supplement, he had to be retired. Now, she can lead him about a mile at a slow walk and he starts limping and will limp for days.
    01-26-2010, 02:43 PM
I had an old TWH that did this. I started trimming her with a shorter toe (when I started doing my own trimming) and she stopped tripping and started actually running again. Before that she only walked because she tripped alot.

I may get some crap for telling you this, but if your farrier is shoeing/trimming him "like a TWH" find a new trimmer that will trim/shoe him like a horse.

Otherwise we did a couple things with my mare. One was to put a sheepskin roll on the noseband of the bridle. In theory this tricked her into thinking she needed to lift her legs up higher. Another thing is to push him forward with your legs/butt. He may be a little lazy and inclined to drag his feet when not working on harder terrain, so by pushing him you negate the laziness.

But I would get a farrier to look at him who isn't blinded by breed stereotypes first. Sorry to sound crabby but my parents had a guy trimming my 25-27 year old walkers "like TWH" and their hooves looked like cow feet. "That's what their supposed to look like" is what he said.
    01-26-2010, 02:50 PM
Another option is to make sure your husband is sitting balanced in the saddle (not sitting or leaning to forward) and that the saddle is not placed to far forward. My RMH will get trippy if I am too forward when I ride.
I also have a young horse that trips due to lack of experience, that can be a factor. No matter the age, if the horse is new to carrying a passenger, he may not have the muscle balance built up yet.

ETA- I want to add that my young filly has stumbled and fallen down on both knees, pitching me nearly off on several occasions. Her feet are fine, its just her lack of experience. I'm hoping that is all that's lacking for your guy too.
    01-26-2010, 03:01 PM
Wow, what a site, I posted this question and the started reading other threads, thought I'd check this thread before I logout and alreay have answers. THANKS!!!
    01-26-2010, 03:39 PM
Welcome to the forum!

Maureen (Vitaloco) beat me to it! My first thoughts when reading your post was that, as an inexperienced horse, he may not be balanced when being ridden. If he doesn't trip when being ponied or worked under saddle without a rider, being unbalanced is what I would suspect.
    01-26-2010, 04:07 PM
I would agree with the above. The horse is prbably just unbalanced, or he may just be zoning out. We had one horse that you had to keep him thinking the ENTIRE ride or he would trip and forge!!! As long as he was paying attention to what he was donig he was sure-footed and never forged, but the second he zoned out. BAM! One or the ohter was happening.
    01-27-2010, 12:14 AM
Since your horse is kicking up dirt when he lands, it sounds like he is landing "toe first". This is an indication that his toes are too long. A horse should land heel first, just like we do.

We decided to pull the shoes and go barefoot in order to keep their toes rolled enough - but there are farriers that will shoe with the toe rolled. This should cause him to stop stabbing his toes and to start landing heel first.

You may want to go to Pete Ramey hoof care heals founder in horse’s navicular disease farrier for lots of great free information about the horse's feet.

Good luck!
    01-27-2010, 12:15 AM
Sorry about the link - try this:

Pete Ramey hoof care heals founder in horse’s navicular disease farrier
    01-27-2010, 02:03 PM
Toe first landing can be caused by a horse with a sore heal or out of balance. If the toe is run forward the proportions are wrong front to back and the toe needs backing up.
The farrier can also rocker the toe, not rolled but rockered to move the breakover back. Rolled toes are just grinding the shoe to put a round edge on it. A rockered shoe is one bent up like a skii tip. No metal is removed from the shoe but the break over is moved back as far as the start of the bent up tip.

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