Originally Posted by Shortyhorses4me View Post
He was a bit stumbly, both under saddle and lunging. After he stumbled a bit harder, like fell on his front knees when my trainer was riding him, she pushed for him to get shoes to help.
Your trainer may have a bit of knowledge 'all round' about horses, and changes in their feet do indeed impact the way they're going, that she would notice as a rider. But don't forget, your trainer is a trainer, probably not also a hoof care &/or bodywork expert. So don't just take their word blindly for stuff like this. (Not that I advocate taking anyone
on blind faith, regardless what they seem to be 'expert' in...)
There is something significantly wrong, if a horse trips & stumbles often. Even if it is 'just' because the horse is footsore, putting conventional rim shoes(?) on is purely symptomatic - it may reduce/relieve pain in the feet, but won't actually help whatever the underlying problem.
she still describes him as naturally clumsy. He's in better shape now. But I've noticed he forges, especially when I ride him, probably cuz I'm not as balanced as my trainer. So his shoe is pulling away and overall I haven't been happy with his hoof and frog condition since shoeing.
Forging/overreaching may be a body issue, or may be due to imbalanced feet. If he's pulling his front shoes loose, you need to get the shoes off pronto, before any major mishap/injury happens. Regardless of whether you choose to keep shoeing in future. So I'd ring your farrier today.
I'd like to take him back to barefoot again. But will he start stumbling worse again? Supposedly the shoes help him pick up his feet more,
So as per above, shoes seem to have made a minor palliative difference, which indicates it is more likely
to be about hoof sensitivity, in part at least, but can't know what's wrong, so how best to address, and at best the shoes will be palliative only. So I reckon you first need to get to the bottom of what the problem is. No, shoe do not 'help him pick up his feet more', they simply cause him to feel his feet less. Unless they're particularly heavy shoes which force him to 'throw' his feet up - as is the premise behind what they do to 'Big Lick' Walkers.
So... first thing I'd do is get to with your tools & remove the shoes at least - or if you don't know how, get the farrier out ASAP - and have him teach you how to remove shoes, because if you're going to shoe your horse, for the sake of 'emergencies', I believe you really should know how - & have the tools at hand - to remove them yourself. I would not ride the horse until this is done, because it's dangerous for you both.
Next thing I'd do is make an appointment with a chiropractic vet or some other reputable bodywork expert, who can better evaluate what's going on, give you a prognosis, hopefully treat... If they're any good at their job, they should have a pretty good idea about hoof balance & whether that's a/the issue too.
Esp if you really think it's the horse's hooves only, posting some hoof pics & more info here may shed some more light too. **If you want to post pics, please see the link in my signature for what angles etc are required.