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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have 2 TWH that we trail ride with. Mine is older (17) and is fairly sure footed, but my hubbys is 6 years old and was not ridden a lot before we got him. He is a really bomb proof very tall guy(at least 16 1/2 hands). He has a wonderful personality and we don't want to get rid of him but he has a stumbling problem.

When we are doing a fast running walk, climbing hills or going down steep grades he is fine. But, when we are going along a fairly smooth area, usually a old road bed, gravel road or a smooth trail, always with a slight downhill grade. HE STUMBLES, he has fallen to his knees a couple of times. Once pitching my hubby over his head.

When he is walking along a gravel road he does not act sore footed, and he sometimes will "throw" gravel ahead of him as he walks. At first I felt he was young, tall and lanky who just needed to learn trail riding. I also thought he just "zoned" out and tripped. This horse is a very laid back guy, not lazy but not hyper. We REALLY want to keep him because he has such a great personality, but we are afraid of getting hurt on him.

We have a farrier who shoes TWH and have talked to him about it. The farrier has changed a few things with the shoes but so far nothing has helped. Does anyone out there have any ideas?? Will he grow out of this or at 6 years is this how he is??

Thanks for any help
Rhonda
 

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We have had a few stumblers in the past... one mare, we still have her but she's partially retired, was a dangerous stumbler... and our old gelding (we gave him away when he got too old to ride) was also a stumbler. The mares hooves were done by my uncle and his son who didn't know didly squat about shoeing or trimming... she was, and still is, constantly standing on long toes or 'duck feet'. We managed to get her trimmed properly a few times, and when trimmed properly she was fine, no stumbing or anything...

With our gelding, we tried everything to get him to stop stumbling... finally, our farrier looked him over, watched his gaits really carefully, and realized that our old boy had arthritis really bad in one fetlock and we all agreed that that was what was causing him to stumble, the pain. After we gave him to my cousin for a 'pet', she put him on a joint supplement and was able to ride him safely for a few months before his arthritis got so bad that even with the supplement, he had to be retired. Now, she can lead him about a mile at a slow walk and he starts limping and will limp for days.
 

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I had an old TWH that did this. I started trimming her with a shorter toe (when I started doing my own trimming) and she stopped tripping and started actually running again. Before that she only walked because she tripped alot.

I may get some crap for telling you this, but if your farrier is shoeing/trimming him "like a TWH" find a new trimmer that will trim/shoe him like a horse.

Otherwise we did a couple things with my mare. One was to put a sheepskin roll on the noseband of the bridle. In theory this tricked her into thinking she needed to lift her legs up higher. Another thing is to push him forward with your legs/butt. He may be a little lazy and inclined to drag his feet when not working on harder terrain, so by pushing him you negate the laziness.

But I would get a farrier to look at him who isn't blinded by breed stereotypes first. Sorry to sound crabby but my parents had a guy trimming my 25-27 year old walkers "like TWH" and their hooves looked like cow feet. "That's what their supposed to look like" is what he said.
 

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Another option is to make sure your husband is sitting balanced in the saddle (not sitting or leaning to forward) and that the saddle is not placed to far forward. My RMH will get trippy if I am too forward when I ride.
I also have a young horse that trips due to lack of experience, that can be a factor. No matter the age, if the horse is new to carrying a passenger, he may not have the muscle balance built up yet.

ETA- I want to add that my young filly has stumbled and fallen down on both knees, pitching me nearly off on several occasions. Her feet are fine, its just her lack of experience. I'm hoping that is all thats lacking for your guy too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow, what a site, I posted this question and the started reading other threads, thought I'd check this thread before I logout and alreay have answers. THANKS!!!
 

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Welcome to the forum!

Maureen (Vitaloco) beat me to it! My first thoughts when reading your post was that, as an inexperienced horse, he may not be balanced when being ridden. If he doesn't trip when being ponied or worked under saddle without a rider, being unbalanced is what I would suspect.
 

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I would agree with the above. The horse is prbably just unbalanced, or he may just be zoning out. We had one horse that you had to keep him thinking the ENTIRE ride or he would trip and forge!!! As long as he was paying attention to what he was donig he was sure-footed and never forged, but the second he zoned out. BAM! one or the ohter was happening.
 

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Since your horse is kicking up dirt when he lands, it sounds like he is landing "toe first". This is an indication that his toes are too long. A horse should land heel first, just like we do.

We decided to pull the shoes and go barefoot in order to keep their toes rolled enough - but there are farriers that will shoe with the toe rolled. This should cause him to stop stabbing his toes and to start landing heel first.

You may want to go to Pete Ramey hoof care heals founder in horse’s navicular disease farrier for lots of great free information about the horse's feet.

Good luck!
 

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Toe first landing can be caused by a horse with a sore heal or out of balance. If the toe is run forward the proportions are wrong front to back and the toe needs backing up.
The farrier can also rocker the toe, not rolled but rockered to move the breakover back. rolled toes are just grinding the shoe to put a round edge on it. A rockered shoe is one bent up like a skii tip. No metal is removed from the shoe but the break over is moved back as far as the start of the bent up tip.
 

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I have a friend who trains Foxtrotters for a living. He is also a farrier. so he makes his entire livelyhood from horses. Two years ago he was working with a TWH that the owners told him "Tripped a Lot" Now this friend of mine lives in Southern Utah and his method of training is to go ride in the mountains. So he was working this horse through lots of rough country teaching it to Pick Up it's feet. After several weeks of training the horse tripped and went down, landing on my friends leg and breaking it. Put him out of work for 6 months. He sent the horse back to the owners saying, No cure, Sell him.

I don't know if you can fix the problem or if it's just something that horse has to deal with. I know watching kids grow up. that they go through ages when they are gangly and clumsey and then they bloom and seem to be so athletic and coordinated. So maybe it's a growing up thing.

There is a ranch near where I live that sells a LOT of quarter horse babies. Part of their sales pitch is that this horses are born and raised on some very rough and mountainous terrain. That these colts learn to pick up their feet as babies and that trait stays with them for life. And there are a lot of people who seem to believe that.

Good luck
 

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I know I've already said this..... BUT here goes again.

Seriously the first thing to do is get the horse's hooves looked at. Especially if your farrier is trimming them "like a TWH". Take a look at a show TWH hooves.... is that what you want a farrier doing to your horse? Just because it's a TWH?

Other people have a good point that it may be a balance issue that can be solved by training and riding, but you need to get his feet looked at.

Let me tell you the whole story of my mare.

My parents bought this mare along with her 1/2 sis when I was like a year old. They bought the 1/2 brother a year later. Flame was a serial tripper. This continued for years to the point where she had actually fallen on me 15 or so times throughout my childhood. I'm apparently a moron because I continued to ride her regularly, but in my defense the tripping happened probably 5% of our rides together. Anyways, she damaged her knees from falling so often so developed arthritis in her knees and so was retired from regular riding. I went away to college and my parents took care of the horses. They went through the typical succession of farriers never finding one who was reliable (the most important quality to them) or who did a good job (important to me). Somewhere along the line they found a guy who was reliable!! Yay!! He also *GASP* knew how to trim a TWH's hooves!!! Oh how wonderful, my parents thought. I came home for a visit and just about puked looking at the horses feet. They looked like they belonged on a cow. LONG toes, no heel. Around this time I noticed that Flame no longer did anything but walk in the pasture and she was tripping constantly now. I had no money (or clout) to get a proper trim on the horses so it had to stay the way it was.

Skip to the end.
I moved home and became interested in trimming. My friend had been learning from 2 different farriers as well as going to several Ramey clinics. She agreed to come out and trim my horses. Long story short after 2-3 proper trims Flame started gaiting/trotting/cantering in the pasture again. I even got brave and took her out on some rides. No tripping. NONE. She was about 27-28 when this occured and was good for about a year. Then she hurt herself and can't be ridden againg, but that's a different story.

I'm sorry but I get really leary when I hear "knows how to trim TWH." I'm sure that other trimmers had something to do with her issues as well as us causing problems with riding/balance, but that last trimmer really caused her a lot of pain. JMO. *steps off soapbox*
 

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I agree with everyone who said to look at his feet and get a farrier or trimmer who will bring his break-over back. I am not a professional farrier, but I have studied feet for years, and that is the only cause of a horse tripping constantly that I can think of, short of maybe an older horse with arthritic joints or chronic lameness. If he is sound otherwise, I would just about bet money on his toes being too long and his break-over being too far forward. And besides, that should be an easy fix. One proper shoeing and you should notice and immediate difference. :p

Like Riosdad said, a rockered toe would be a good place to start. Also, there is a shoeing system called "Natural Balance" shoeing that will also do basically the same thing. The shoes have a very distinctive look because they are made to bring the break-over back. Look "Natural Balance Shoeing" up on Google. :) While you don't HAVE to use those shoes or a Natural Balance farrier, it will give you an idea of what you are hoping to accomplish.
 

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What really makes me big believer in the Natural Balance/Hope for Soundness trimming is that my Mustang naturally wears his feet just like their trimming practices and he is wonderfully sound barefoot. I may roll the edges once in a while, or lower his heels a tad, but he always has his toe naturally squared and his breakover brought back, all on his own.

The first thing I did when I got my Foxtrotter and she was trippy, is rocker her front toes with a rasp. It's been 3 months now, and if anything she has more rocker than she did before, so I think that is how she wants her breakover too. She still does occasionally trip, but not as bad as before. I am also going to see if I can keep her barefoot for as long as possible. If she gets tender this summer when I ride alot and the ground is hard, I will use Easyboot Epics. I have had pretty good luck with them. :)

The Mustang was an ex-rope horse and shod when I got him, and it took him a good year or two, but now he can go anywhere barefoot. I'm hoping the Foxtrotter will do the same. But I digress.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
How do you get a horses hoof so you don't have to have shoes???

When I lived in sandy South Texas as a kid, I hardly knew what a shod horse looked like. Living in North Georgia, that is a different story. We not only shoe our horses we have to put "drill tec" or "borium(sp)" on them. It will keep the horse from slipping on pavement or on large slick rocks (I learned the hard way about a horse slipping on slick rocks). Whenever I have tried to go without shoes or if a shoe comes off they will go lame within 30 minutes. Where we ride the trails are usually very rocky or some of the logging roads have gravel on them.

So how do you get by without shoes??? Inquiring minds really want to know!

Rhonda
 

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I'll let others (more educated) give you the in depth info but from my experience it depends on several factors: the individual horse and it's hooves, type of riding, and riding conditions. From what I've heard going from shod to barefoot is a process and can take a long time (and hoof boots) until the horse is comfortable being ridden barefoot on varying surfaces. Some people say that all horses can be barefoot comfortably but I'm not sure I agree with that. I've never had to shoe (yet) but am not averse to doing so if my horse requires it to be comfortable.

You will find a ton of info if you use the search feature and search "barefoot vs shod" or "barefoot".
 

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this has been interesting reading. my appy stumbles quite a bit. late last summer (i'd been away from him for a while), i got a farrier out here (good fella, but i haven't gotten him on the phone since then...) who trimmed and put shoes on his front to see if we could help the tripping problem. he picked up his front right foot and looked at me saying "he's got pain in his knee." have yet to make it to the vet for it, which i really think we need to do when finances allow. his hooves are white as can be and generally soft. i'm looking at having him shod all the way around this spring, and would like to try this natural balance stuff. that looks worth a shot...

our other two don't need shoes at all. the TB has hooves that grow funky (and fast), but the old gray, well, you could ride that horse anywhere and nothing bothers him. he's just getting old...
 

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Wow...great thread! I have an older (16) running QH who tends to drag his toes when he walks. He also stumbles on gravel roads. He's barefoot (his feet are so beautiful I hate to shoe him if at all possible to avoid it) and needs trimming 2-3 times a year, since he keeps his feet nice and ground down. I will talk to my farrier to see if we can't change the shape a bit to help...There are also some new type 'boots', easier to use than EZ boots, and (IMO) better for the horse...I may try those.
 

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I'd agree with looking to his hooves. I've had good success with rolling the toe. I also think this horse just may need more time to re-balance himself with a rider. I have an 18 hd. draft cross and when we started riding him, he stumbled quite a bit. You wouldn't think 150 lbs or so would throw off a horse that big but it sure did. Now that he's got a year under saddle, he will occasionally stumble when he's day dreaming on trail but otherwise, he's doing great!
 
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