Sunday, October 5, 2008

Fear and Other Thoughts

Worldshowbound says-
My problem is that she won't pick her feet up and tends to trip - a lot. A couple of times we almost went to her knees and would have if I hadn't basically caught her and brought her back. I'm starting to have nightmares of us going down and me being seriously injured. Any suggestions?

I already kinda sorta answered this on the comments. But it stayed on my mind, so I want to go a little farther. I have had horses trip in the front that were simply heavy on the forehand. Almost always it was because they had been consistently ridden with too much rein and not enough leg. They would lean on my hands, and not pay attention to their feet. So I would suggest checking how you're riding her first. Do you need to loosen your reins?
I also emailed mrs mom who writes the horsefeathers blog. She has a lot of interesting insights on feet. Here's what she says:
Six yr old under saddle and tripping:Could be heel pain, BUT... first I would take a look at some side views, comparisons of front legs, and look from the ground up at the feet (make sure the hoof capsule is not way out in front of the horse, like Sonny's tend to be,) and look overall at the conformation of the horse. Most times in tripping, when you add a rider into the equation with hoof capsule that is out of place (ie: too far forward,) you get incidents of tripping. *IF* the horse is built well, and his feet are UNDER him as they should be, and you still have tripping, its time to check balance of the hoof, and for heel pain. I know this is not a whole lot, but just taking a guess is tough. Pictures can help you a LOT with questions like this one, and give you room to advise a bit more. Hope that helps, and this gets through this time!Take care and have a great weekend-Mrs Mom and the Insanity Crew at Command Central

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Hope this helps, I'm gonna go ride, but I'll post again later today. See Ya!


  1. Fear and all the crap that goes with a Mother_ucker.

    However now as a 52 yr.old former fearless and still very skilled and competent rider I have to say that you must respect your fears as well as overcome them if at all possible.

    I too now am really only comfortable on my own horses or a few friends horses.I know them inside and out and feel relatively safe on them at all times.I do not get on my babies for their first rides anymore,mostly because I can't afford anymore broken bones or replacement parts.I do all the ground work,manners,long lining then I pay a 26 yr.old awesome rider or my 21 year old niece to put some saddle time on them.When I see that all is going well I will then feel OK to get on and finish them.Crazy thing for me is I have no fear of starting them over fences when it's time for that.But getting on a fit,clueless youngster for their first couple of rides....NO WAY.

    I also am way more careful of who I ride with out cross country or on the trails.I don't know if'it's because I so do not want to get badly injured or just the # of total idiots I have encountered on horseback lately.I'm talking wrecks waiting to happen and even scarier these people seem to have no clue that either their riding is that bad or that their horses are!!Has anyone else experienced this?

  2. Yes, yes, yes. People who are in over their heads are the ones who scare me. I'm fine with newbies, we were all there at one point,but not when they overextend their abilities (or their horses)and endanger everybody around them. Knowing your limits can save your butt.

  3. mugwump, didn't the person with the tripping horse say that the horse had only had a half dozen rides or so? If so, couldn't the problem be that the horse is unused to carrying the rider's weight? If it were me, and I ruled out obvious problems, I'd be sure the horse felt very solid, stable and comfortable at the trot before I loped it. In my experience they don't fall down much at the trot. Just a thought.

  4. That was me with the tripper. She is a mare that was purchased prior to going to auction (abandonment). My friend felt bad for her - skinny, horrible feet, bred every year - so she bought her. After two months of good feed and feet care, I told her I would start her so that she could go onto a good home. If one couldn't be found, my friend would keep her as an extra trail horse. I'm pretty sure that the mare has been broke to ride as it really wasn't that much to get her going. She's very smart and has been coming along great. I've found that with more conditioning, she is becoming lighter on the forehand and the tripping has pretty much ceased. We did vet check her to make sure there wasn't anything serious going on - looks like a case of a horse that has been hanging out doing nothing for too long. I do appreciate everyone's suggestions.

  5. I'm glad she's getting better, having a tripper can be scary

    My younger mare, purchased as she was rising 4, was very trippy. Then again, she did shoot up from 15.2hh to 16.2hh and had no idea what to do with herself

    Holding her together and making sure she always wore boots when working was my solution - and having the toes rolled on her shoes to minimize the amounts of toes she rubbed off on the road

    Now that she's 7, 8 in January, she's rarely tripping, if at all. The work and maturity has pretty much cured it, she was just a gangly youngster, no underlying problems, thank goodness. It's a great relief!

  6. I've been training and showing for almost 30 years now and I can relate. I used to be fearless when I was in my 20' & 30's, now, not so much. I was really worried about loping this mare because of this issue, but I always kept off her mouth like I do other horses I start. Maybe in her other life her owner always had a death grip on her - who knows. I do have to talk calm myself when she starts off in such a quick pace and she seems to relax when I talk to her (I know a lot of people don't use verbal commends, I do - but keep them to a minimum such as "take it easy" or "you're all right." She's turning out to be a nice little mare and I hope that my friend keeps her. :)

  7. Yeah, and if she's used to being "held up," that alone can definitely cause the tripping!

    I would have your farrier square her toes though, just to make things a little safer while she's learning to ride the right way. If you have a Natural Balance farrier in your area, I'd give them a try. I've seen them work wonders!

    And thanks for rescuing her, that's great!