Virginia 5 year old racking/tennesse walker ridden in 6 in shank low port with wintec english saddle in pasture, trails by experienced rider

Struts left fore hoof is slightly clubbed (farrier says on a scale of 1-10 he is a 3).  When he does a slow flat walk, he does a right foot stomp, spending more time on the right foot versus the left. 

When he speeds up it is slightly more pronounced.  Are there any training techniques or shoeing techniques that would help him smooth out his gait. Thank you in advance for your advice.



From Panelist Liz

Hi!

When it comes to shoeing or trimming correction this should be in the hands of your farrier but in my opinion to make to many changes on a club hoof that is still there after maturity is better left to it's natural angles, as to not stress a leg that is set to move for that club hoof. To much or even any could be a risk of serious damage. Know that this is a limitation of your horse and do not ask him to do more than that hoof can handle.

In regards to riding to help him, lightening up in the front could help. This means be sure he is engaging his hindquarters as much as his structure can handle to get more weight distributed off the front. Maintaining a centered balanced seat of the rider will also make it
easier for him to carry him self and the weight of equipment and rider with out added stress.

Elizabeth



From Panelist Stella

Generally, most club-footed horses are more "back at the knee" in this leg than the other,which makes it the weaker of the 2, so there is probably some strain to the tendons and ligaments of the knee he is trying to alleviate, and hence tends not to want to put much stress on it, compensating with the right fore.

Since you mostly trailride, I suspect you havent worked much on collecting him, but doing so should help...the principle of collection is to teach the horse to displace some of his forehand weight to the rear, and use the hind end and legs more, lighten on the forehand...That way, there will be much less stress to the front legs, and this should make him - and you - more comfortable! By using both his back legs more, he will become less dependent on the right fore, and use his front legs more evenly, as neither will have to work so hard...BTW, collection smooths out the natural gait of all breeds of gaited horses...and while some people think its only necessary for show, I'd beg to disagree....riding in the showring will only be a few minutes, I think its more important for a horse to be smooth as possible for the many hours you spend on trail! 

Collection does NOT mean you have to hold a horse in, its not "from the head." True collection should be "self-carriage"...a frame of carrying itself that the horse then learns to do on its own, with maybe only one cue as a reminder, if necessary...one that's "locked in" 
-becomes a habit to drive really well off the hindquarters-will remain so on just a loose rein. It also makes them much more agile and sure-footed on rough, winding, uneven trails,too!

Stella Manberg-Wise
 
 
 
 

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