Forging/Over-reaching - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 12-13-2019, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
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Forging/Over-reaching

What is forging/over-reaching? From my understanding, forging is when a horse's hind hoof strikes the sole of its front hoof, usually of the same side, while over-reaching is when a horse's hind hoof strikes and/or catches the foreleg or front heel. Both forging and over-reaching may be heard by a discernible "click" noise upon the strike. Is my understanding correct?

How do you know whether a horse is forging or over-reaching? I believe that my horse is either forging or over-reaching; I can hear the very occasional "click" when she walks. The "click" only happens at a walk - no other gait, and it usually happens when I am leading her - not riding her.

If the fault is due to the improper balance of the hoof, how would one correctly trim the hoof to fix forging/over-reaching? The farrier is coming out on the twentieth of January. My horse is barefoot and has always been while in my care. I have had her for six years (almost seven) and have had six different farriers (due to moving). She is ten-years-old (almost eleven) and has always done this while in my care. I do not know her history.

What conformation faults, excluding of the hooves, can cause forging/over-reaching? I have read that gaited breeds tend to forge/over-reach. Is this true?

If the fault is due to conformation, what should I do? Although I am willing to consider corrective shoeing, I would prefer to keep her barefoot. Would boots (such as bell boots) be a good option? If so, what type of boot?

Thank you in advance.
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post #2 of 15 Old 12-13-2019, 07:24 PM
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Hi & welcome to the forum.

You are correct in your definition of forging & overreaching. Forging may have no real outcomes, while overreaching generally becomes obvious to people because the horse cuts it's front heels/fetlocks. You can imagine there'd be quite a bit of bruising too, if not cut.

The problem can indeed come about due to hoof imbalance, and no, you don't need 'corrective shoeing' to fix it, just good, well balanced & frequent enough hoof trimming. I see you said farrier is next out on 20 Jan. So maybe he's just been recently, or xmas period has caused a longer period between trims, but generally horses should go no longer than 6 weeks between trims, and many need more frequent trimming - 4 weekly seems to be the general optimum time for most IME. Do you notice your horse does it more towards the end of a trim cycle?

The prob can also be due to a body issue, perhaps as simple as something being 'out' that a chiropractic vet or such can fix. It can also be due to your horse being unfit/too tired for the work you're asking of them.
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post #3 of 15 Old 12-13-2019, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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I assume she is forging. As far as I am aware, she has had no bruises, cuts, or lameness.

What hoof imbalances can cause forging? My horse's hooves tend to grow more quarter flare rather than toe. Other than a bevel or a mustang roll, the farrier does not trim her toes. She drags her all her toes. I do not recall if it has always been this way as I have only recently started the attempt of becoming more educated in hoof care. I also do not recall whether or not this happens toward the end of her trims. The farrier last serviced her on the twentieth or twenty-second of November - four weeks ago. She gets serviced less often in the fall and winter than in spring and summer. I would like for her to get serviced more often, but it would be difficult to convince both my parents and the farrier to agree. My parents have stated that they do not believe that she needs to be serviced every four weeks. She is boarded in a relatively rural area compared to the other places the farrier services. He has stated he does not want to travel all that way for just one horse, especially since her trim takes only five to ten minutes. I would like to do it myself, eventually, at least, but I am not experienced enough right now. We are going to board her elsewhere in January or February, so we probably will get another farrier.

You might be right about needing a chiropractor. I would need to do some research first and convince my parents. Her forging should not be due to being too unfit or too tired; I am simply leading her at a walk.
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post #4 of 15 Old 12-13-2019, 11:00 PM
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What hoof imbalances can cause forging? Long or stretched forward toes, high heels, too low heels...

If your horse generally has flared quarters, that could be that heels &/or bars are 'run forward' or that quarters have been left too long & under stress. Eg. most farriers trim the wall to be flat from heel to toe on the ground surface & most horses have a natural 'arch' to the quarters, to some degree or other.

If she drags her toes, assuming she doesn't have too long toes, IME that's likely a body issue.

If 8-9 weeks is the normal trim schedule, this is probably a bit too long. While 4 weekly may be optimal for most horses, they generally don't NEED to be done that frequently, but IME 6 weekly should generally be max between trims, if you don't want problems. I hear you tho, that both farrier & parents don't agree to that. While I absolutely think you should learn well, of theory and practice first, before taking on trimming yourself, it's not 'rocket science' to learn & do some 'brush up' trims in between farrier visits. Could ask for a rasp & loop knife as a xmas pressie...
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post #5 of 15 Old 12-13-2019, 11:36 PM
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Forging is common in harness racing horses, mostly at the walk. Incorrect hoof angles are also common in harness racing here in Western Australia, unfortunately, and if the toes are too long, forging gets exacerbated.

I ride an off-track harness racer with a super-long stride. His hooves are good and he's got no tendency to collapsed heels etc - the angles are generally right on him, and have been since he was little. But, he's always tended to click when walking unless he's freshly trimmed - more so in the paddock, where he's casual, than when I ride him and he pays more attention and is "serious." If we hear him clicking walking around, we say, "Oh, it's trim-time again!" In part it's that because he's paddocked in sandy country, his toes don't wear down. He'll start clicking within a fortnight of a trim, as the hoof elongates - but I have to rasp him back then anyway because my horse has boots for the rocky ridge trails, and his boots fit best for the first two weeks after a fresh trim. So it all works out.

His trim cycle is four weeks, with a touch-up afrer two weeks.

Forging becomes more of an issue at speed, because then it has greater potential to cause injuries. In corrective trimming / shoeing in harness racers, the usual things to address it is to ensure any long toe / low heel is corrected (i.e. the horse should be at correct hoof angles), to look at whether lowering the horse on the outside of the hind feet helps them to "go around" the front feet (it makes the horse tend to track wider with the back legs), and to use various different types of shoes which use grip or slideyness or weight to influence the arc of the steps.

Lots of harness racers who forge at a walk when they're being casual will automatically not forge at a trot because they may go base-wide with the hind legs, and travel around the front legs. These horses are called "passing-gaited" horses - as they pick up speed, they spread their hind legs wider and lower their hindquarters. Line-gaiters have more trouble with forging because they keep to the same track front and back, whatever the gait used.

My horse is long-striding and line-gaited, so relies on having his hooves kept quite short and at the correct angles. He's barefoot on sand and booted in rocky terrain. He couldn't wear Ezyboots because he clips them right off when forging - which is easier to do with boots on as it increases the effective size of the foot. Renegades have been great for him, and he doesn't tend to step into them either. He actually rider better with Renegades on in terms of forging, and that's probably in large part because the extra weight of them on his hooves elevates the arc of his strides.

If your horse over-reaches, it's a good idea to put bell boots on the front (or hoof boots) so they don't hurt themselves mis-stepping on a tight bend etc
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Last edited by SueC; 12-13-2019 at 11:43 PM.
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post #6 of 15 Old 12-14-2019, 12:40 AM
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Just going to add a little explainer: Harness racing horses, like gaited riding horses, have a gait transition suppressor gene which delays their transitions, especially to canter - at liberty they go faster, and with longer strides, at the walk before breaking into a trot, and especially at the trot (/pace) before breaking into a canter. They're also built to trot (/pace) very effectively compared to "standard" breeds - they specialise in "square gaiting" - it's comfortable and biomechanically effective for them. And that's why they are more likely to have forging issues than "standard" horses at the walk - a "standard" horse will change gait to the trot more quickly than a harness racing horse (/gaited riding horse), and not have to deal with a long stride and/or speed at the walk. At the trot, as I said, a lot of harness racers are passing-gaited and just track wide with their hind legs, thereby eliminating forging problems - they commonly step around 30cm+ in front of the front leg with the back leg, going around the side. Most competitive harness trotters are passing-gaited. Pacers don't have to be, since they use same-side leg pairs, which automatically eliminates the possibility of forging at that gait.

Most issues with forging / interference at the racing gaits of harness horses crop up when horses are going around bends, which changes their tracking. That's one reason why in modern times, there's been a tendency to build 1000m tracks in Australia rather than 800m tracks - the more sweeping the bend, the less problems going around it at speed.

Here's some passing-gaited trotters - you can see how they reach around the front legs with their hind legs:






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Last edited by SueC; 12-14-2019 at 12:57 AM.
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post #7 of 15 Old 12-14-2019, 01:10 AM
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Op are you located where it's cold with snow? I'm where there's snow for 6 to 7 months of the year.

If you do highly doubt there will be enough hoof to trim every 4 weeks.

Around here most farriers do every 6 weeks. I usually have horses trimmed mid November early December. Then there good till March or April.

They hardly move this time of year,most movement is from hay bale to water tank an back. That's a whopping 5 feet between tank and hay bale.

Can't get a farrier to come trim when it below zero for highs. Unless you have a heated barn.

Had issues with forging been solved with new farrier. Long toes were the issue an unbalanced feet.
My gelding also was dragging his back feet. Was trim related. With a good farrier and feet being well trimmed ,the toe dragging has stopped.

I have a rasp and hoof nippers so can touch up feet if need be,over the winter.

Out riding my horse.
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post #8 of 15 Old 12-14-2019, 09:29 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie View Post
What hoof imbalances can cause forging? Long or stretched forward toes, high heels, too low heels...

If your horse generally has flared quarters, that could be that heels &/or bars are 'run forward' or that quarters have been left too long & under stress. Eg. most farriers trim the wall to be flat from heel to toe on the ground surface & most horses have a natural 'arch' to the quarters, to some degree or other.

If 8-9 weeks is the normal trim schedule, this is probably a bit too long. While 4 weekly may be optimal for most horses, they generally don't NEED to be done that frequently, but IME 6 weekly should generally be max between trims, if you don't want problems. I hear you tho, that both farrier & parents don't agree to that. While I absolutely think you should learn well, of theory and practice first, before taking on trimming yourself, it's not 'rocket science' to learn & do some 'brush up' trims in between farrier visits. Could ask for a rasp & loop knife as a xmas pressie...
I can take, and may be able to post, before and after pictures but that will not happen for approximately another five weeks.

Eight weeks is the normal trim schedule in the fall and winter. This time does get stretched around these holidays. In the spring and summer, however, her normal trim schedule is approximately six weeks.

There is a lot of information, some of which is conflicting, about what is considered a good trim. May you link some articles and/or videos of good hoof practices?
The hoof rasp and hoof knife would need to be purchased online. Would you be able to link them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SueC View Post
Forging is common in harness racing horses, mostly at the walk. Incorrect hoof angles are also common in harness racing here in Western Australia, unfortunately, and if the toes are too long, forging gets exacerbated.
My horse is a Tennessee Walking Horse. She has not nor will be (while in my care) a harness racehorse or a show horse.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rambo99 View Post
Op are you located where it's cold with snow? I'm where there's snow for 6 to 7 months of the year.

If you do highly doubt there will be enough hoof to trim every 4 weeks.
While "cold" is relative, we usually get an average of fourteen inches (thirty-six centimeters) yearly.

We were forced to wait approximately thirteen weeks once. The (new) farrier commented, perhaps complemented, on how short her hooves were. He did not need to use hoof nippers - only a rasp, and he was done in under fifteen minutes.
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post #9 of 15 Old 12-14-2019, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SueC View Post
Forging is common in harness racing horses, mostly at the walk. Incorrect hoof angles are also common in harness racing here in Western Australia, unfortunately, and if the toes are too long, forging gets exacerbated.


Quote:
Originally Posted by leftorightfd View Post
My horse is a Tennessee Walking Horse. She has not nor will be (while in my care) a harness racehorse or a show horse.

So you have a gaited horse (which I thought was a possibility reading what you wrote), and therefore the general things I said about harness racers and gaited riding horses will apply to your horse breed as well. These things do not depend on horses being trained to race or to show.

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post #10 of 15 Old 12-14-2019, 09:58 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SueC View Post
So you have a gaited horse (which I thought was a possibility reading what you wrote), and therefore the general things I said about harness racers and gaited riding horses will apply to your horse breed as well. These things do not depend on horses being trained to race or to show.
Thank you for the clarification.
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