Missouri 7 year old TWH ridden in  walking horse bit and Aussie/ Fox Poley saddle ,trail ride mostly by Experienced tail rider

Question: When I first purchased my mare, her feet were terrible!  She had been out on pasture and her feet had not been taken care of, she had pie pans and what looked to my farrier a possible abscess at one time in the right front that had blown out the top at the coronary band.  She was not lame though and had a wonderful light way of going and running walk though a little pacey at speed.  We have done a lot of work on her feet.  She does not pick her front feet up very high at all/ a real daisy cutter.  The problem is she has fallen several times.  Yes, with me riding her.  She's a big mare 15.1 hands most likely in the 1200 lb range, large boned alittle wide.  I have done everything I can think of.  My original farrier put her in a weighted plantation shoe and yes, she picked her feet up higher, but after a couple of shoeings her feet especially the right couldn't continue to hold the shoe.  When I couldn't get my farrier to use his hoof gauge I started using the farrier who I currently use, who uses his hoof gauge.  We have in the last two shoeings increased the angle of the front feet and she is breaking over quicker, some success, but she fell again yesterday.  To keep her light on the forehand I constantly have to drive her into the bit, but as soon as I stop she gets heavy on the fore hand.  Is she just lazy?  I would hate to really get after her if this is something out of her control.  There doesn't seem to be any physical problems.  When I first purchased her, I rationalized that she was in poor condition (she was), but she is'nt now, in fact she may be alittle fat!  She is on a good hoof supplement (Farriers Formula).  We can't change her angle any more as she has been alittle gimpy with the last change so I have her wearing easy boots on the front right now.  I believe the angle in the front is about 57 degrees.  And yes, she is a little choppy now, not bad, but not as much glide as before.  She would rack before, but we seem to have lost the rack completely now.  She is gaiting in her paddock now
 free though.  I probably have given you too much information, but anyway maybe you can sort something out.  Otherwise she is a great mare, she will go anywhere I ask, Anywhere!  Thanks for any help you can send my way!  Sincerely Cheryl Bratt

From Panelist Laura
Sounds like those feet may be too steep now.  Have your farrier look at what 
this horse's natural angles (pastern/shoulder) are and only deviate a few 
degrees from that.  If you get too far away from the natural angle you will 
cause your horse harm to her joints.  I would stay away from a heavy shoe for 
this horse.  The heavier shoe will tire her muscles out and cause her to 
stumble more.  If you want higher action - look into getting a horse with 
more natural animation than this mare.

A few things you could try:  work her over ground poles and cavelleti to get 
her to pay attention to where she walks and picking her feet up.  Try a 
rocker toe shoe (keg shoe weight) to help her break over quicker with the 
front feet.  Ride her over high weeds and big dirt clumps to teach her to 
pick her feet up better.  And as you have already found out, be sure to 
always keep her collected while riding her. 
Good luck with her.

From Panelist Nancy
I have had a problem with a TW being bad about falling with me also.  
This is what we did:  we cut his toes very short (actually at that time we actually squared them off).  I'm speaking of the front feet only.  And we shod him with a shoe that is popular with the cutting horse people.  It is straight across the toe.  The farrier set it back a bit from the toe.  We left enough heel so that he wouldn't be walking on the bulbs of his feet.  He was barefoot behind.  He has never stumbled since.  We are keeping him 
barefoot now, but always with a short toe and a little length on the heel.  

(Again I am speaking of the front feet).  He had been so bad about stumbling 
and falling that I was beginning to dread riding him.  He never stumbles 
anymore.  I don't consider myself an expert on feet, but this is what we did 
and it has solved the problem for us.  Hope it will for you.


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