|Wisconsin, 16 year old Paso Fino ridden in
snaffle bit and western saddle in pasture by intermediate rider.
Question: My 16 yr old mare has begun to stumble! About a year
and half ago she began an occasional stumble while pleasure riding. There
is no injury and no limping. This
Is there a special way to trim gaited (paso fino) hoofs? Should I try placing her saddle back a little further on her back?
Those observing her stumbling say it appears she is coming down on the toe of her foot rather then the bottom. The only time she stumbles is when she has a rider? She runs beautifully through the pasture when turned out?
Is this a correction to hoof trimming, placement of the saddle etc. or should I look into possible medical reasons.
Thanks for any help you can give me.
From Panelist Liz
Trimming the hooves of a Paso fino would be no different than any other breed. The hoof angles should be the same as the pastern angle, the hoof should be balanced from side to side. They should not have a longer toe than any other breed.Hoof trimming should be kept maintained about every 6-8 weeks.
Once you have ruled out any problem with trimming next would be soundness. Having a good vet do this for you .
If all is still fine then I would start working on some exercises such
as going over ground poles and getting the horse to start using it's self
more. It could just be boredom, not paying attention or lack of conditioning.
Make your rides interesting by adding safe obstacles where the horse will
have to pay attention to execute them. A Paso Fino normally has a higher
head carriage due to how the neck comes out of the shoulder. If she is
going on a loose rein and not carrying her self correctly then the
hind quarters are not being engaged , thus making her heavy on the forehand.
If this is the case have her bring
From Panelist Erica
Hi there, this mare of yours sounds extremely familiar. My mother had
leased a mare 16yrs old, Paso Fino who also frequently stumbled. The more
often she was ridden the more she would stumble. She became so bad that
she even once fell down and flipped her hind end over her front! We immediately
put her on joint supplements and had her on daily Bute as not one joint
in her legs was not sore/stiff. Her name was Amaretta. What seemed to help
under saddle was taking it slowly and asking her to pick her head up. Her
I wish you best of luck with your mare.
From Panelist Jonathan
Ofcourse , the very first thing is to get a clean bill of health from
a vet !!! I believe this is where you will find the answer since this ailment
has been so long in duration and progressivly getting worse . If you wish
you may ask her , while in halter , to give her head to you in a extremely
"slow" , extremely tight circle to the left and then the right . Inevitably
Upon the event of a vet exam finds nothing physically wrong , you have multiple options of trial and error at you disposal to find the answer . Here are a few that come to mind , based on my experience with the single-footers I raise . These suggestions may fit what you do or they may not . This is multiple choice time .
In my opinion , many gaited horses kept in gait for hours at a time
, ( as I do ) or longer than they are comfortable doing , will over-tax
the gait specific muscles causeing tired muscles to surface resulting in
a rear leg stumble . Now this has always been in the rear from my experience
. I understand you did not specify front or rear tripping so i will assume
it to be the rear . To give this muscle group a rest I allow my horse
Also your horse may be just be lazy but as I indicated earlier and especially considering her age , it more than likely is physical . I'm not saying she is old , it's just that i find certain age related ailments start popping up in the later third of there life expectantcy . You can try the old time standard of walking , or slow gaiting her over low obsticles , on sandy beaches , or the old farmers favorite , soft plowed fields . This in conjuncton with a more natural angle of foot of as close to 55 degrees as posible will keep her mind on lifting rather than slideing or dragging her rear feet as well as her fronts . Just incase this is a unstated and unlikely front foot stumbleing problem .
Lastly , but not least , is one of my favorites that i believe will pretty much cover the positive results of all the above . Simply turn her out in a one acre pasture . Ask her to "go to work " while cracking a buggy whip ( in the air only please ) ;) sending her off at a gallop . I prefer this to rideing at a gallop ;) . She will gear down as she gets farther from you so ask again while walking towards her until she moves off again with speed . Do this for the amount of time suited to her health and physical state ( or yours ) untill she comes in for join-up so much you just can't refuse . As I stated , this will result in the benefits of all above with the added bonus of creating or polishing good ground manners thru dominance clarification .
Most of all keep it fun for her and you , and hopefully she will get a clean bill of health from your vet to try some of these suggestions .
From Panelsits Stella
Starting to stumble while under saddle can be a symptom of EPM disease,
so do get your horse tested for this by a vet to rule it out asap, it has
become more common, and there are now medications for it if discovered
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