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I purchased this 14 year old mare about 2 years ago. My grandchildren rode her and she looked great, although she did take a fall when stepping in a hole. My granddaughter did not get injured thank goodness. This mare seems to stumble/trip more than normal in my opinion. I got rid of my other moody mare and now am paying more attention to this horse which I was told is a Missouri Trotter. She does trot smoothly both slow and fast. Most of the tripping is from a walk. I am trying to get her into shape, but at times I feel she is telling me she is whipped and I do stop. This horse is bombproof unlike the one I gave away, so I hate pushing her too hard and I am more concerned that she might just be weak kneed or weak ankles....I like her, but either she is conning me or maybe is injured. Any suggestions?
 

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What do you know of her history?
Did you get a pre-purchase examination?
When was the last time she had her hooves done?
Does she trip out in the field or only under-saddle?

Many things, mostly physical things, can cause a horse to stumble/trip. These things include improper hoof trimming (such as altering break-over or leaving toes too long), conformation, rider's error (causing the horse to become unbalanced), pain (such as from lameness or poor saddle fit), and neurological problems. A veterinarian, chiropractor, farrier, et cetera could be helpful/needed. Another possible cause is laziness. Some horses, when aimlessly ridden on flat ground, trip due to being half-asleep.
 

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Yeah more info needed to give more than a guess, but pain or hoof issues would be my guess.

If you'd like to post confo & hoof pics, that might help better guesses see the link in my signature(have to scroll) for what's required of the pics.
 

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I read your post title and thought, "Bet it's a gaited horse." Frequently stems from the belief that long toes and low heels make the horse gait better. Heel pain can result, causing toe-first landing, toes stab the ground, fetlocks knuckle over. Down they go. My Tennessee walker that I got two years ago did this. Another possibility is deep thrush in the frog, causing heel pain. I'm with Loosie, foot pain is a big factor in tripping.
 

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Thank you for joining our forum. One thing.... it is best for someone not to say 'I got rid' of a horse. Instead say I sold, or rehomed or gave the horse away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you for joining our forum. One thing.... it is best for someone not to say 'I got rid' of a horse. Instead say I sold, or rehomed or gave the horse away.
I understand and was aware of the wording. I did not want to lie and say I sold her. I gave/ donated her to a young girl that trains disabled children to ride. This young girl had a stroke when she was 18 years old and has recovered to be quite the horse person today. I appreciate your suggestion. I am keeping up with her training and feel she is in very good hands.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What do you know of her history?
Did you get a pre-purchase examination?
When was the last time she had her hooves done?
Does she trip out in the field or only under-saddle?

Many things, mostly physical things, can cause a horse to stumble/trip. These things include improper hoof trimming (such as altering break-over or leaving toes too long), conformation, rider's error (causing the horse to become unbalanced), pain (such as from lameness or poor saddle fit), and neurological problems. A veterinarian, chiropractor, farrier, et cetera could be helpful/needed. Another possible cause is laziness. Some horses, when aimlessly ridden on flat ground, trip due to being half-asleep.
First thank you for your interest and reply. I know very little of her history. I did not get a pre purchase exam as I trusted the person I dealt with. I have focused on her hooves with a new farrier and no doubt this has improved her somewhat. I get her trimmed on a regular basis. I do not notice her tripping out in the field, so I would say only under saddle. I haven't ridden regularly in 55 years, so I am not horse smart, but I have two granddaughters that keep me up to speed, especially with critical advice....basically they kick my behind and I get frustrated. I got this horse to trail ride and am satisfied with her. Laziness did come to mind, but she will run for short distances. She also refuses go certain places and I am dealing with that issue. I have become more confident in the saddle and dont mind getting her attention. I am just not a hardass rider, etc...like I used to be. One granddaughter is coming today and I will get her to inspect the frogs to make sure I am not overlooking anything. I will post photo's when possible. I have read and digested all post. Much appreciated.
 

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I would look first at her feet. Post photos on the hoof sub forum here. There is a sticky link there that explains the best way to photograph the hooves for accurate evaluation. There are some very knowledgeable hoof gurus here.
Also, watch how she walks . Does she 'plait'? Plaiting is when at the walk the horse's front feet actually cross in front of each other. So, insteady of putting the hoof in a direct line in front of where it was lifted off, the horse swings it inward and puts it down more in front of the other hoof, kind of like braiding hair. (thus the name 'plaiting')_ Horses that walk this way will often trip at the walk, but not at faster gaits. In this case, you have to work at getting the horse to put more impulsion (push forward) into the walk. That can involve more leg on , and possible asking the horse to lift up their head a bit and push into the bit.
 

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First thank you for your interest and reply. I know very little of her history. I did not get a pre purchase exam as I trusted the person I dealt with.
Really it doesn't mean anything if you "trust" the person you bought her from. People can be good people and still be totally clueless about lameness problem. Maybe she has always tripped and they didn't think anything of it. Who knows.

I have focused on her hooves with a new farrier and no doubt this has improved her somewhat. I get her trimmed on a regular basis.
What do you mean when you say "regular basis"? That can mean different things to different people.
Every 4 weeks?
5 weeks?
10?
Please be more specific.


Laziness did come to mind, but she will run for short distances.
In my opinion, a horse being "laid back" is a personality trait. A horse that is "lazy" has been TRAINED (or allowed) to be lazy. There is a difference.

That she sometimes likes to run for short distances really doesn't have any effect on if she is a lazy / laid back or not.

A lazy horse can still be well trained. For example, a lazy horse who has been allowed to be lazy might stop frequently when they want to. They might sometimes walk fast or sometimes walk slow when they want to.
Whereas a lazy horse who has been trained to do what is asked will NOT stop unless they have been asked to stop. They will maintain the walk speed that has been asked of them, until getting other instructions, etc.
You can still train a lazy horse to be obedient and to WANT to be obedient.

She also refuses go certain places and I am dealing with that issue.
You don't have to be a [email protected]$$ to get her over this, you just have to be consistent, fair, and firm. Be more stubborn than her!! If she doesn't want to go a certain direction, do not stop asking her until you get one step in the correct direction. Then stop asking with your cues and praise her. In the beginning, that may be enough. As she advances, then you will expect two steps. Then three steps, etc etc. You start with small requests and slowly build.

In addition to that, don't nag at her. Meaning, don't give her little itty bitty kicks that last for 5 minutes before you finally get that one step in the correction direction. Give her an opportunity to respond to a light cue but start escalating. Kicking harder as you go, or if needed, whip her on the butt. If she knows what you want,but is choosing not to do it, then you need to make yourself serious enough that she is going to listen. You're not beating the horse. You're not being mean to the horse. You are simply laying down rules and boundaries.

But that is where you need to be totally fair and consistent. Don't allow her to "get away with it" one time but then not another. That confuses the horse, and isn't fair to them.


One granddaughter is coming today and I will get her to inspect the frogs to make sure I am not overlooking anything. I will post photo's when possible. I have read and digested all post. Much appreciated.
If the tripping is truly a problem, although could be poor feet or could be that she is out of shape, you should really consider taking the horse to a qualified experienced lameness vet. (This is NOT an all-animal vet. They are not specialized for lameness.)

I have a horse now that I am trying to figure out some tripping issues, as well as hind end issues. It's the off season for us (Winter in North Dakota). So far, we've xrayed hocks and stifles. Front feet. Nerve blocks. Xrayed neck. Tried shockwave. Tried PEMF. Tried Adequan/pentosan. And I'm sure I am forgetting other things. Next on the list is to xray his back and if indicated, try neck/back injections. Granted, he's also a performance horse so this is much more in depth that you would need for a leisure trail horse, but lameness can be very difficult to pinpoint and can be very expensive.

But we all do our best by the horse to make sure they are healthy and comfortable.

For a 14 year old mare, that is a little older, she's bound to have something.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I trim her every 90 days.
Really it doesn't mean anything if you "trust" the person you bought her from. People can be good people and still be totally clueless about lameness problem. Maybe she has always tripped and they didn't think anything of it. Who knows.



What do you mean when you say "regular basis"? That can mean different things to different people.
Every 4 weeks?
5 weeks?
10?
Please be more specific.




In my opinion, a horse being "laid back" is a personality trait. A horse that is "lazy" has been TRAINED (or allowed) to be lazy. There is a difference.

That she sometimes likes to run for short distances really doesn't have any effect on if she is a lazy / laid back or not.

A lazy horse can still be well trained. For example, a lazy horse who has been allowed to be lazy might stop frequently when they want to. They might sometimes walk fast or sometimes walk slow when they want to.
Whereas a lazy horse who has been trained to do what is asked will NOT stop unless they have been asked to stop. They will maintain the walk speed that has been asked of them, until getting other instructions, etc.
You can still train a lazy horse to be obedient and to WANT to be obedient.



You don't have to be a [email protected]$$ to get her over this, you just have to be consistent, fair, and firm. Be more stubborn than her!! If she doesn't want to go a certain direction, do not stop asking her until you get one step in the correct direction. Then stop asking with your cues and praise her. In the beginning, that may be enough. As she advances, then you will expect two steps. Then three steps, etc etc. You start with small requests and slowly build.

In addition to that, don't nag at her. Meaning, don't give her little itty bitty kicks that last for 5 minutes before you finally get that one step in the correction direction. Give her an opportunity to respond to a light cue but start escalating. Kicking harder as you go, or if needed, whip her on the butt. If she knows what you want,but is choosing not to do it, then you need to make yourself serious enough that she is going to listen. You're not beating the horse. You're not being mean to the horse. You are simply laying down rules and boundaries.

But that is where you need to be totally fair and consistent. Don't allow her to "get away with it" one time but then not another. That confuses the horse, and isn't fair to them.




If the tripping is truly a problem, although could be poor feet or could be that she is out of shape, you should really consider taking the horse to a qualified experienced lameness vet. (This is NOT an all-animal vet. They are not specialized for lameness.)

I have a horse now that I am trying to figure out some tripping issues, as well as hind end issues. It's the off season for us (Winter in North Dakota). So far, we've xrayed hocks and stifles. Front feet. Nerve blocks. Xrayed neck. Tried shockwave. Tried PEMF. Tried Adequan/pentosan. And I'm sure I am forgetting other things. Next on the list is to xray his back and if indicated, try neck/back injections. Granted, he's also a performance horse so this is much more in depth that you would need for a leisure trail horse, but lameness can be very difficult to pinpoint and can be very expensive.

But we all do our best by the horse to make sure they are healthy and comfortable.

For a 14 year old mare, that is a little older, she's bound to have something.

I schedule my farrier every 90 days. I de-worm her on the same schedule. I feel like I am communicating with her and I feel she knows she can trust me. Am trying to be consistent upon your advice and the advice of my grandchildren. She was ridden today and I watched from the side. I think she is behaving, performing like a 14 year old mare and probably not injured. I am winning most of the arguments (refusals), but I have a steel bridge that is going to take some time. I am going to try and get hoof pictures posted tomorrow and I look forward to the feedback.
 

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I trim her every 90 days.
For adequate hoofcare, unless the horse exercises enough on abrasive ground that she keeps her feet in shape, and happens to also keep them well balanced, you should be doing them AT LEAST every 42 days. So, that you're letting them go for over twice as long as that, they're highly likely to be getting significantly overgrown & imbalanced, and even if you happen to have a very good farrier, he will be 'chasing his tail' & not able to make any great changes. For a horse that's got hoof issues to be dealt with, every 20 days is generally a good average.
 

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I purchased this 14 year old mare about 2 years ago. My grandchildren rode her and she looked great, although she did take a fall when stepping in a hole. My granddaughter did not get injured thank goodness. This mare seems to stumble/trip more than normal in my opinion. I got rid of my other moody mare and now am paying more attention to this horse which I was told is a Missouri Trotter. She does trot smoothly both slow and fast. Most of the tripping is from a walk. I am trying to get her into shape, but at times I feel she is telling me she is whipped and I do stop. This horse is bombproof unlike the one I gave away, so I hate pushing her too hard and I am more concerned that she might just be weak kneed or weak ankles....I like her, but either she is conning me or maybe is injured. Any suggestions?
I have a quarter horse who stumbles a lot. It’s partially because of his conformation with his withers lower than his rump. He also liked to put weight on his front legs more than the back. I did exercises with him teaching him to get his back feet under him. I asked put tendon support boots on him to help stabilise his legs. He still stumbles a bit but I no longer have the fear of him falling. I hope this helps! Good luck!
 

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AJ Yammie, hi & welcome to the forum!

I've never heard of 'bum high' conformation causing a horse to trip. It is certainly not a given problem for this conformation. All horses put more weight on their forehand than their hind, while standing & in most gaits. Tendon boots don't actually 'stabilise' legs either and if applied to firmly, can actually do more harm. Therefore, I'd suggest you also keep looking for answers for your horse's stumbling too.
 

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AJ Yammie, hi & welcome to the forum!

I've never heard of 'bum high' conformation causing a horse to trip. It is certainly not a given problem for this conformation. All horses put more weight on their forehand than their hind, while standing & in most gaits. Tendon boots don't actually 'stabilise' legs either and if applied to firmly, can actually do more harm. Therefore, I'd suggest you also keep looking for answers for your horse's stumbling too.
The tendon boots were more to give me confidence that he wouldn’t hurt himself if he trips bad again because my horse has bowed a tendon before 🤣 Most horses do have more weight on the front and in his case the confirmation also added to it. If doing lots of exercises to get his back feet under him did help quite a lot. I also noticed after showing him he picked up his feet a lot more which could just be because it was new to him
 
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