I'm part loaning a lovely gentle cleveland bay 10 year old gelding. He's a sweetie in every way, but trips and stumbles when we're hacking out (cinder tracks mainly) he had an abscess on his hoof before I started my loan, which the owner assured me is fully healed and he's sound. He's unshod, and was recently seen by her farrier, again before I came along. His hooves are a very large and slightly oval shaped, but short enough. The owner reckons it's cos he isn't used to being ridden. He's kept out 24/7 with other horses. Is there anything I can do to curtail it? I feel unsettled when it happens?
Hi difficult one if horse is not shod and hard to give advice without pics of hoof or seeing a trip or horse moving, as tripping can be due to many things. I did have a short striding heavy cob for a few years, she was trippier than average and I had the farrier put shoes on her with an early breakover point. This helped an awful lot. I think you need to discuss your concerns with the other sharer and ultimately consult with the farrier. If the other sharer doesn't want shoes then just keeping the toe of the front hoofs rolled with a rasp between farrier visits may help. Any good farrier would show you how to do this and get a rasp for you. Hope this helps.
You said he isn't used to being ridden so I take it he isn't very fit. Does he stumble from the beginning of the ride or is it just later on? It might be that he is tiring easily and not picking his feet up. How does he go? Is he slouching along paying no attention or is he alert and striding out? If it's the latter and he's stumbling then there may be a physical problem, but if the former he might improve when he gets more muscle tone. Agree with Elansofar about talking to the farrier to rule out foot problems though.
brilliant, thanks guys. I'll speak with the farrier and discuss possibilities of rasping/shoeing the front feet with the owner. He has not been ridden at all, and seems to trip from the get go. He is a bit fat and unfit so we can work on that and see how things progress. Will update. Thanks ever so much!
Shoeing a horse that trips is not the answer. You need to work on improving the balance of the foot and work with a good farrier/trimmer to identify why it's happening in the first place. Do lots and lots of reading and research about barefoot. Rockley farm is a good place to start.
Thanks Foxy, will do. The farrier is coming in two weeks.... He's been basically standing round in his field chowing down for quite a while, so I'm hoping a multi pronged attack will help, like good hoof care, picking out regularly filing/rasping/trimming and then maybe a little bit of schooling over some poles to get him to pick his feet up a bit more... He was better this week.
I think you could narrow this down a bit. Not tracking up due to an inability to either to lack of fitness/muscle, or because the feet aren't coping. What's he like on grass and smooth Tarmac? If he doesn't trip then, that suggests to me that hoof boots might be needed for more challenging terrain.
my first thought was that if he has not been worked much recently his mind might be wandering! Sounds daft, but I ride horses that trip and spook when they're not concentrating. Working first on impulsion (use your legs, carry a schooling whip), and then on getting him on the bit. Lessons and lunging can be useful. Maybe once he is a bit fitter, walking and then trotting over poles on the floor to remind him to pick up his feet. Even if his feet do need attention, none of this can hurt.
Hey this is all great stuff guys, please keep it coming! I'll totall post some pics. Foxy I checked out Rockley Farm. Really interesting stuff. I had a better look at his feet myself, (although I'm not really sure what I'm looking for!)
He seems a little bit 'gone to seed' but not terribly. His frogs are not symmetrical, but they seem deep and the heel is there, if a bit flakey. The base of his foot is a bit smelly (thrush?) but looks fine, apart from one area with a minor crack, and on his hind right there is a crack running up his hoof which is apparently a sand crack.
He also has a patch of 'rainscald on his chest which is getting a bit worse. Not visible but flaky to the touch. Have been putting sudocrem on, but wonder what else can be done....
His skin seems generally a little lacklustre, but am hoping regular grooming might improve that?
Will get some photos up.
Had our first solo hack the other day and he tripped a few times in trot. Other than that and a couple of little shy's at a plastic bag he was awesome. I haven't cantered with him yet, I think I'll do that in the school as I need to build up my trust that he won't fall flat on his face, and I'm building up my confidence and fitness slowly. I have an ankle injury at the moment so just working on a nice outline in walk and trot.