stumbling / tripping - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 09-02-2015, 06:58 AM Thread Starter
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stumbling / tripping


I got question, i bought horse with rather bad hooves, thats why i wasnt paying much attention to his stumbling / tripping, till he fell with me in canter twice (fallen on his front knees i stayed on)
consulted vet did x rays, so i talked to farrier to dull his toes little (vet advice) and he said to me that his stumbling is my fault because he is nor correctly muscular (he is healthy horse) and i am not keeping him in frame and collected (thats true i dont have him on bit as he lifts his head like lama in trot but i try. he doesnt know how to collect never been taught)
but he stumbles even when i lunge him was my answer, his was to put him in side reins of some kind.

so my question is can his constant tripping be my fault because i dont have him on bit? When he has a lot of energy he doesnt trip . i remember he stumbled / tripped with my trainer. She doesnt remember it as she ussually rode him only on trails but I remember her face when it happened that day in riding ring.
he stumbles by somehow going toe first down on front legs one more often than other. ussually 4-5 times per ride- if he isnt energy bunny, then he doesnt,

So my question, is it normal and my fault because i dont have him in frame?
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post #2 of 16 Old 09-02-2015, 08:30 AM
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Since you have already ruled out any lameness, thank you for doing that ahead of this post, I would say its because he isn't paying attention.

If he's going around like a giraffe (you're not alone) he's not paying attention to anything but everything else around him. This means he's not thinking about where he is placing his feet, or really even picking them up. Time to start asking more from behind. He most likely is traveling on his forehand, creating more weight in the front, which then causes more tripping.

Why don't you ask for him to use his hind end/back? Letting him go around like a lama really isn't benefiting anyone at all, not you or him.

I personally would start asking him to work, sounds like its just a free ride for fun, which is fine, but its clearly dangerous or could be dangerous with one bad trip. Doesn't necessarily mean he needs to be forced into frame, it means he needs to be put to work, given tasks, and needs to concentrate. He can still go around with his head more out and down, instead the lama look. Work on leg yielding, and serpentine's, figure eights. Get the brain going!
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post #3 of 16 Old 09-02-2015, 08:41 AM
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Can you put up pictures of his feet and a video of him being ridden would help.

There can be many reasons as to why he is going around its his head up and, there are more horses ridden that are not on the bridle than there are that are.
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post #4 of 16 Old 09-02-2015, 08:43 AM
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I am going to suggest you find another farrier, one that comes highly recommended. From the sound of things it seems to be a hoof issue. Driving his toes in is one of the signs of navicular issues. A test you can do is to walk him on the lead, giving him about 4' of lead then turn him in a tight circle to go back the way you came. Watch to see if he crosses over (desirable) or shuffles or hops. Do this a couple of times. If he's sore he'll shuffle or hop. I've never heard of dulling a horse's toes. Was that a typo?

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post #5 of 16 Old 09-02-2015, 08:52 AM
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second having him tested for Navicular. We have a Navicular mare and she stabs her toes in at the walk and was always stumbling when ridden. After some great farrier care she is much better and does not stumble or trip as much.
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post #6 of 16 Old 09-02-2015, 09:15 AM
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You have had this horse vet checked. You mention he does not trip when he has energy. You also seem to indicate that this doesn’t happen on trails. These facts lead me to consider other things.

The first is that this horse finds no excitement in being ridden in an arena or being lunged. Try to heighten his interest by giving him more challenging things to do. These may include going over ground poles or cavalletti. You might also try setting up mazes using poles and cones and asking your horse to negotiate them. Doing these things might raise your interest level as well which can influence your horse’s movements.

Consider other ways you influence your horse’s way of moving. If you simply sit on your horse’s back as he moves, you are actually inhibiting his movements. As you improve your balance and move freely with your horse’s movements, your horse should begin to move more freely and with more energy. At the same time, he may relax some of the tension in his muscles and lower his head.

When your horse is relaxed, you should be able to subtly influence his movements by putting a little more energy into your movements as you move with him. This must be done carefully and only for short periods of time. If done with too much force, you will tire yourself and your horse will become dull. You want to subtly influence him to move with more energy; then, simply begin to follow these movements without the extra effort on your part.

Later, as your knowledge and experience increases, you can begin to work on your horse’s strength and flexibility so he can begin to shift his center of gravity more toward the rear.
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post #7 of 16 Old 09-02-2015, 09:23 AM
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Not showing pain is a survival tactic as the predator goes after the obviously lame horse. Many unsound horses appear pasture sound yet are sore when ridden. People newer to horses think the horse is trying to pull a fast one. No, the additional weight of rider and tack pushes it's pain threshold over the edge.

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post #8 of 16 Old 09-02-2015, 12:56 PM
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I would say that it certainly couldn't hurt to have your vet (or a second one) take another look to a) see if he likes what your farrier did and b) to discuss checking for navicular. The vet would diagnose and then need to work hand in hand with the vet to do corrective shoeing.

Meanwhile, it seems just as likely that this is not a lameness issue and simply a matter of working with your horse under saddle. In my mind if a horse is tripping chronically it is a) because he is not moving forward and using his hind end or b) because he is weak/ has no topline. A number of things you said in your post make me think that both of these things may be the culprit in your case. You mentioned that your horse doesn't trip when he is "up"---I interpret this to mean that he is probably moving forward in these rides (maybe too much so, but it is a start!). Even if your horse isn't working in a frame, he should ALWAYS be moving forward. Furthermore, if you want to learn how to work in a frame, making sure that your horse is moving forward is the first step. Thus, when you are riding do an experiment and try pressing your horse forward in each gait---ask him to open his stride up just a bit more than you are used to---do this for the entire ride. See if the tripping goes away.

The other thing you mentioned was that he doesn't know how to go in a frame. If he isn't going in a frame (And not moving forward), he probably has no muscles along his topline (neck, back, rump). Thus, your horse is quite weak and this can certainly lead to tripping. Making your horse work and move forward is a start to building muscle but if you need to strengthen even more (or just want to learn) then going in a frame helps build that topline even more. That said, I'd definitely seek guidance from a trainer in learning how to do this.
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post #9 of 16 Old 09-02-2015, 02:12 PM
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How long have you had this horse and when was he started under saddle? What's the work schedule like?

So he's under muscled or incorrectly muscled? Cleared Xrays, and feet are good? Get a chiro and a professional saddle fitter. How are his teeth?

Just from the sounds of your post I'd be willing to bet money that he is either out somewhere (ie: needs chiro work), and that could easily go hand in hand with improper fitting tack, possibly needing teeth done, thus evading the bit as you've stated he does. In turn that will = improper muscle. More than that, if he's under muscled anywhere he isn't going to be able to carry himself "on the bit". That takes lots of time to get him to that point where he has enough muscle to actually carry himself correctly. I would NOT stick side reins on this particular horse at this particular time.

Pictures or videos undersaddle as well as on the lunge would help greatly.
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post #10 of 16 Old 09-02-2015, 05:03 PM
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I had a horse on trial that was tripping. Turned out he had navicular issues that only showed up on xrays.

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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