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My good friend has a 5 year old Tennessee Walking horse mare that seems to stumble and trip a lot with her. I noticed the mare is somewhat "roach-backed" and wondered if this has anything to do with it?

Her feet seem to be in good shape, not overly long in the toes. She is reset on all shoes every six weeks. She has no lameness issues. My friend says she trips a lot even when she is not under saddle, but she is at my house and I have never seen her trip in the pasture.

Her saddle seems to fit just fine, best I can tell. Maybe I should have her try a different saddle?

Also, my friend is a beginner and really not a very good rider at this point, I laugh and tell her she's just a passenger, not a rider yet (thank God for this gentle mare, LOL). But I noticed too that she never seems to trip when I'm riding her. Can the rider contribute to the tripping?

Thanks for the advice!
 

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if the horse isn't stepping forward with some energy they can be more prone to tripping. a better rider may have the horse more focussed, and more forward, thus not trip as much.
My friend had a nice Appy who was a terrible tripper. I rode him a fair amount, and forgive me for being a bit immodest, but I really worked on making him step forward , lift and carry his own head (not lean on the rein) and he improved quite a bit. STill, he tripped some no matter what, and his hock action was obviously "differeent" , so I think to a certain extent, he couldn't help it. He tripped twice while I was riding and went down on his knees. I never could totally trust him.

Now I am riding a hrose that , I swear, NEVER trips. it's is so very nice. no matter how messy the trail, he doesn't trip.
 

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Well a roach back is a sign of a weak back & the rest of horse's structure comes off that so it's the core. Much like a human with a crooked back, it affects how one moves to a certain degree but like Tiny said there are things we can do to improvement. So probably the tripping is due to confo faults and more effective riding can minimize it.
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