Weighted bell boots - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 03-14-2011, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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Weighted bell boots

I have a TWH that is very lazy and stumbles on trail rides if he is not kept "awake". I have tried shortening his hooves and rolled toes. He is very healthy, just laid back and gets too relaxed. He does not stumble on rough terrain or if excited. Does anyone know if slightly weighed bell boots might make him pick up his feet better?
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post #2 of 14 Old 03-15-2011, 02:17 PM
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I use to have EXACTLY the same problem. We finally got ride of this horse because we could not trust him to stay standing he actually fell with my hubby twice (that is not counting the almost falls and plain old stumbles). He was a wonderful, goofy, funny horse and we loved him. We tried several toe angles also. We finally decided he was just long legged and gangly. We could not figure out why he stumbled so much. I will be interested in seeing what everyone else has to say.

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post #3 of 14 Old 03-15-2011, 03:00 PM
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I don't believe so, since weighed bell boots are normally used to enhance the horses gait. I guess you could just try it tough.
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post #4 of 14 Old 03-15-2011, 05:49 PM
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I think it sounds right. Plus, why not? It's not like they're permanent. Could you try some sort of experiment to see if weighting would work first, then buy them? I don't know how much they cost.
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post #5 of 14 Old 03-15-2011, 08:12 PM
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What we did with my dad's horse was tied (sewing would probably be better especially if done to last) bells onto his bell boots, and that noise kept him awake, and thinking about his feet. Unfortunately as we were just trying it out, we did a crappy job, and the bells started falling off. And by then I wasn't riding him as much anymore, and my friend had moved, so I just didn't get around to redoing the bell boots.
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post #6 of 14 Old 03-15-2011, 08:19 PM
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Sounds like you got a "Tennessee tripper"! In conversations with gaited horse people around here, sometimes the young or inexperienced horses just don't pay attention, like you said, and they trip on the trail. I think horses who've done a lot of arena work with nice, even footing have to learn about uneven footing and balance on trails. One thing that I've heard recommended is lots of work over poles, working up to having the poles sometimes placed randomly so they have to watch their feet and can't anticipate how many steps apart the poles are going to be. Good luck!
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post #7 of 14 Old 03-18-2011, 12:03 AM
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I've got a Missouri Tripper! (Fox Trotter).

She's 17 but was used as a broodmare most of her life, so maybe she doesn't have a ton of trail experience. She is rather insecure when ridden alone on trails, but does great with other horses.

Anyway, it does help to keep her feet trimmed often and make sure she has a generous break-over. The break-over is the biggest thing with trippy horses I think. But an out-right cure I have not found.

(And all the breed info. states how sure-footed they are! Well, I'm sure for the most part they are, but MY girl is not. I think maybe she is looking around too much to pay attention to what is on the ground in front of her sometimes).

Last edited by trailhorserider; 03-18-2011 at 12:06 AM.
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post #8 of 14 Old 03-18-2011, 12:19 AM
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Does it scare yall riding a tripper/stumbler though? My son's horse does that, so I started riding him. It rather freaked me out! Though he has not fallen, I could just see the train wreck! I have noticed it is sort of better when his feet are really short, but who can trim that often? I am also curious to see if there are any good ideas to this. We have considered getting rid of him as well.
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post #9 of 14 Old 03-18-2011, 12:39 AM
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It would bug me more if she had actually fallen with me, but she hasn't (yet- knock on wood).

It does bother me a little. Riding is a little less fun when you are worried about the horse falling on it's face, but she seems very sound and healthy otherwise. She actually has a ton of "go" so I don't really think it is a true soundness issue. I think it's more that she is kind of dittzy and looking at everything. She will trip 2-3 times a trail ride (3-4 hours long) so it's not like she is super trippy. But just when you get kind of relaxed, she will take a good trip, just enough to keep me awake.

I had a dear friend who owned an awesome mule but she was afraid to ride her because she tripped. I never really understood that though, because the mule truly was awesome in every other way. But she was an older lady with health problems, so maybe that has something to do with it.

I wonder what the "normal" number of trips per trail ride would be? In other words, what is considered normal or acceptable? I don't mean the horse flat-out falling, but just stubbing their toe and sort of tripping a bit?

My Mustang hardly ever trips. He might on occasion, but it's not notable. Izzy trips probably 2-3 times on a long ride. She has never actually gone down, so I don't worry about it too, too much. But if the horse was falling with me, that would not be a good thing! Is there a "normal" amount of tripping?
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post #10 of 14 Old 03-18-2011, 12:56 AM
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Originally Posted by jdw View Post
........... I have noticed it is sort of better when his feet are really short, but who can trim that often? I am also curious to see if there are any good ideas to this. We have considered getting rid of him as well.
I keep my horses barefoot and trim them myself, so it is easy to touch up their feet when they need it. I hardly ever "trim" per se, mostly I touch them up with a rasp before they get long. Sometimes I will take the nippers to them though.

I really think having a good, prominent break-over will help (if not cure) most trippers. I wouldn't get rid of the horse without trying something new with your farrier. As a matter of fact, make sure you tell your farrier the horse trips and he should trim and/or shoe in a way to help the horse get the toe out of the way quicker. He could use (or fashion something similar to) a Natural Balance Shoe and I think there is a strong chance that would help.

So don't get rid of a good horse just because it trips, because something as simple as a shoeing or trimming method could cure it. If you exhaust your farrier's resources, then maybe it isn't fixable.

Here are an article that discuss the importance of break-over:

Bare Foot Horse
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