Non-USA 4 year old TWH Ridden in a solid snaffle and Tennesean Saddle in Pens and Pasture by intermediate Level Rider.

Question: My young Walker is coming along fine with his gaits but is still learning, as am I.  He is being consistently ridden 5 out of 7 days/week for approx. 1 - 3 hours (depending on the type of work) per session.  After a recent 2 hour trail ride I was grooming him and noticed he has been nicking himself with his back toes on his front feet just above his heels.  I put bell boots on him and this seems to be working.  My question:  Why is he nicking himself (especially on one foot in particular)?  Is he doing this also when turned out to pasture?  Do I need to be concerned when he's turned out?  Is it because he is young and learning his gaits?  I really don't want to square off his back hooves unless I really have to.  I have been told that he will do this at a dog-walk.  Unfortunately, sometimes he has to dog-walk (deep ditches, pleaces he's unsure of his footing, etc.) 

From Panelists Lee

Sadly, what you have is a shoeing problem and not just a "gait learning"
problem.. Horses that scalp or forge do so  because of the timing of the
pickup of the front hooves vis a vis the timing of the set down and reach of
the hind.  To some very small extent this will change as the horse becomes
better conditioned and learns to carry himself with a bit more collection as
he walks.  However, in the mean time he is nicking himself up, a "bad
thing".  Go ahead and modify his shoeing behind to help prevent this
problem.  That solution is better than trail riding in bell boots which trap
sand and other debris and can create rubbing sores ..

Good luck,

Lee Ziegler

From Panelists Robin

He is "forging".  A simple solution is for the farrier to "roll" the toe on his back feet,just take off  a little with the rasp.  The horse is forging on one side more than the other because he is just "right-handed" naturally.  Just like humans horses have a dominant side. 

My Best,

From Panelists Darla
He is clipping himself because of his overreach and timing.  It is in his best interest and yours too that you have him balanced and take off some of his toe in the back.  He can injure himself and be lame if you do not help him out.  The farrier will be able to answer your questions if you can find one that knows gaited horses.   


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