Alabama 5 year old Spotted Saddle Horse/TWH ridden in walking horse bit and Trooper saddle on farm roads, pasture by beginner.

Question: We raised the horse here as a pet.  He has never been a problem other than being a little lazy.  Im 52 years old with a bad hip so the lazy is not a problem for me.  I use horses to run birdogs (field trials), just want a smooth and safe ride.  My problem is that he stumbles.  A few times he has fell on the front end to his knees. I dont know much about horses and I know even less about shoeing.  I was hoping that some of you knowledglable horse people could recommend a farrier in my area who knows corrective shoeing measures for gaited horses. 

I just dont know who to trust. I love that old horse and want to be able to ride him. I live in Northwest Alabama and would be willing to trailer the horse to the right farrier.  Please try to give me a name and phone number and not the name of an association.

Thank You, Charles 

From Panelist Bob

I suspect that your horse's main problem is his laziness. I have had several 
people contact me in the last year with this very problem. I tell them all to 
have their horse trimmed to his/her natural angle and shod with flat keg 
shoes. I then tell them to carry a riding crop and tap their horse with it if 
they stumble. Four of them got back and told me that this worked fine. In one 
that continued to have problems, we had the toes slightly rolled.
Bob Blackwell

From Panelist Lukka

One thing to think about, is that lazy horses often stumble because they're
"falling asleep" and stop thinking about the trail and what they're doing.
Just as if we're out walking and not watching the trail, and as we're in our
own thoughts we might stumble over a pebble.  In those cases the horse has to
be kept tiny bit more active, let it go a bit in serpentines once in a while,
stop and go without a direct nessesity, just to let the horse do different
Worth a try.

From Panelist Stella

I do not live in that area, but one of the best people to ask would be your 
veterinarian for a suggestion on farriers. He is likely the most familiar 
with a number of them firsthand. While lazy horses are more apt to stumble, 
especially if their toes are too long or lateral balance is off and they are 
possibly interfering, it is also an early symptom of EPM,a neurological 
degenerative disease. You may want to have the vet take a preliminary test, 
and he can likely evaluate the hoof angles and balance at the same time. 
Perhaps the horse is not so much lazy as not feeling well, so it is good to 
at least rule out this possibility for your own peace of mind; EPM can now 
be controlled with medication if caught early.

To help develop your trust and judgment of farriers, it is always a good 
idea for owners to educate themselves as much as possible in recognizing a 
well-trimmed naturally balanced hoof. There are a number of good farrier 
sites on the web with information and illustrations to help you, for 


From Panelist Liz

Hi ,

In regards to trimming and shoeing this horse it would be no different
than any other breed. Correct angle in relation to the pastern,
balanced from side to side and a normal toe length as with any other
breed. Please don't be trapped in thinking gaited horses need a gaited
farriers. Any farrier that has had a good education and understands
equine structure and looks at each one as and individual should be
able to do this horse.

It is also possible that his feet are not the reason for his stumbling
but lack of conditioning or just being lazy , not paying attention and
picking up his feet are. In this case maybe wake him up some and ask
him to use himself more . Some good exercises such as going over
ground poles, working simple patterns such as serpentines and figure
8's . Anything to keep him alert and paying attention to you and where
he is going.

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