Wisconsin 7 year old American Saddlebred ridden in double bridle low port curb solid shanks , twisted snaffle and Cut back saddle by a Trainer

Question: I have this new 5 gaited mare. When I got her I had her teeth done by a equine dentist. She doesn't flip her head anymore except the second way when you ask her to canter and she stops. My question is with her slow gait we are having a miss beat. She seems to be missing her right hind worse the first direction then the second. She sometimes will time right but not always. I have her shod a 1/2" longer in back then front. She has alot of HOCK action not as much front action. Chains on back help some, Chains on front help more. She has alot of GO..forward.. I am thinking to have her adjusted by a chiropractor, and putting a jointed curb on her..? 

Any suggestions for getting her timing.

From Panelist Liz

Yes I would most defiantly get a vet and chiropractor both to check this mare. Being she  is a Saddlebred and being worked 5 gaited she is built for a ventroflexed (hollow) carriage and is asked to be carried in this position even more so in riding. It is very common for these horse to have back, neck and other physical problems show up with this kind of work.  Plus shoeing not anatomically correct but to force a gait or make gait through shoeing along with chains, adds to the stress.

I would recommend also that teaching this horse to have a relaxed walk where it can be asked to go more head down as a relaxing and stretching the pulled up frame she is being asked to carry will help strengthen the back and relieve some of the physical stress that can come from this kind of work.


From Panelist Theresa

Many times I find my timing problems are directly due to the mouth. Assuming this  horse is not "characteristic" of the rest of your training horses, then I would evaluate the horse thoroughly. When a horse is not properly on the bit, it will definately hinder his consistency.  I would assume for some reason this may be the problem.

Since the teeth were done, We can eliminate that as the culprit. However, due to teeth problems, she had been doing a lot of head tossing, I would definately have the poll/atlas and tmj checked very well. Any problems of the C spine could also directly relate to  bitting problems.  These problems will affect the way the horse goes on the bit. The fact that she goes one way well, and quits on the other I think would back up a need for
chiropractic/accupuncture adjustments. 

Atlas problems could also  relate to the hind end problems as they cause the horse to hollow between the last rib and the sacral region of the back, where you need to be engaged.  If the atlas is out too long, and the hollowness keeps developing, the stress through the lumbar sacral region may cause muscle stress over the sciatic nerve areas, causing a stringhalt type movement.

As far as bitting, I am not as familiar with what you are achieving in the ASB,  so I will refrain from answering  this portion of the  question. Good luck with your girl.


From Panelist Laura

Since you have already checked her mouth, the next thing you might check is the shoeing.  Even the very best farriers sometimes have one heel a little higher than the other or one toe a little longer.  The higher the action your horse has, the more difference a small angle or length change will make.  I recommend you or your farrier make sure that both back feet match each other (angles, toe length, heel length) and both front feet match each other.  The shoes should mirror each other - fronts to fronts, hinds to hinds.  Even a difference as small as 1/8" can make a big difference in timing in a big  going horse.


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