Thursday, September 9, 2010


Milo trips on the front and the rear. Its a bit unnerving to ride because you dont know when it will happen and when/if he can recover from it. Ive been doing a little research about why he trips and what I can do about it.

First reason I found was lacking balance. So I did a search on how to spot balance and decide if that was an issue for Milo. While we all know that he is downhill which could be effecting his tripping on the front, it doesnt explain tripping on the back. I found this article from Horse and Rider online by Bob Avila on how to spot balance in a horse. And was intrigued by the way the #1 horse looks in his mid stride. It got me thinking about which of those three horses Milo would be most closely related to. So I reviewed the video that was taken a few days ago and tried to get a still shot of Milo in mid stride. This is what I was able to get:

compare to the stud used in the article:
Ok please disregard how much more fabulously Mr Avila is balanced than I am, and I know I got the strides opposite. But aside from that, they are very very similar. Both are reaching with their front legs still and driving from the hind. I think the stud is more round through his back and relaxed than Milo, who looks yes coiled but also a bit tense.

Interesting comparison? So maybe Milo isnt lacking overall balance. What could be causing the tripping then?

Second reason I found was shoeing issues. While Milo isnt shod, he is still obviously trimmed. Here is a good example of correct front legs:
Photo credit Here is Milo (sorry, best image I could find was with his polos on):

First thing: his right is twisted in and not straight. He also has a club hoof on that same leg (as per the farrier saying so). Ok, so that could explain the front end tripping, what about the hind?

Well, the last reason I could find was pure laziness. I could see that. I had read that horses can do something called "forging" where they drag the tops of their back hooves. Something to combat that could be doing some pole work to encourage picking up his hooves. Well, I have been working on poles and it still happens. The only thing I can really think of is that I am requiring him to work more off of his hind end more-maybe this could be putting undue stress on his hocks (something we already have found is weak)? I dont know if the problem goes that high, however. It always feels like he just didnt catch himself with his hoof. Maybe that assumption is wrong.

What are youre thoughts? Have you had a horse that trips on the hind? What was it caused by? How did you combat it?


An Image of Grace said...

When Grace's hock was bothering her she would drag her left hind toe. It has only recently gone away. So if it were me, with any imbalance in the hind end I would be looking at hocks and maybe how to shoe to support for any weakness.

paint_horse_milo said...

good to know Melissa. He seems to do better when we work poles in the beginning, but if not its more when he trips. And its occassional. Maybe its a combination? I will have to address this to my farrier again and see what he thinks... btw, the good weather is almost gone, when are we going to have another Pope ride? :)

The View From A Saddle said...

I have a mare that trips constantly! Front end mostly, but hind end as well. Her reason... she's lazy. She's the laziest horse I have. I don't do anything about it either. haha. She is the horse that everyone rides when I have people over and the first time she trips I say "Oh and she trips a lot! Just sit back in your saddle and don't lean forward too much." I don't think there is much you can do about it... Other than this mare, the only trips I have are little accidents if they don't see a root or rock.

Sarah said...

I have heard of horses tripping because they don't know where their feet are. Almost like a 3 year old who tries to dance but is never sure where his feet or arms should be. I hope you get what I mean.

One of the things that I had heard helps this is going over poles, around stuff, and (maybe)side passing. (I know for sure the poles.) Maybe that's why he does better when you go over poles?


Kate said...

Tripping behind can also be due to catchy stifles - it feels like a stumble or trip but what is happening is the hind leg momentarily can't move forwards. If that's what it is, slow conditioning to strengthen the muscles around the stifle joints is usually the best solution - lots of trotting, particularly up hills as the horse gets more fit, and limiting turns and circles to large ones until fitness is there. Walking and trotting over ground poles is also helpful.

in2paints said...

My mare trips A LOT. She trips at the walk due to what seems like a catchy stifle (I've only seen it once with my own eyes... usually I just feel it). She also is terrible about dragging her feet and it causes her to stumble a lot. She does it quite a bit at the canter, and on occasion nearly falls down.

I've tried different trimming methods and shoes, and it doesn't really seem to make a difference for her. I'm hoping that once I'm able to ride her on a consistent basis the stumbling will occur less frequently.

I attribute it mostly to lack of muscle tone. She's also built downhill, so the universe is working against her.

paint_horse_milo said...

in2paints - this seems like what might be happening with Milo. I havent seen able to see it because, well, Im on Milo. And Milo does it mostly at a canter, and he too, is downhill. Let me know if you find a solution (maybe fitness wise) on how to help this.