OK so I'm not sure what to do. my ottb who I have pretty high hopes to take into dressage and hunters, forges (sorry meant interfering) his back feet (i think it's his back feet, he is narrow too so he could just be hitting his left on his right and so on) onto the inside of his fetlock. I believe he's been doing it for a while, he has small scars in the place where he hits and he opens them up every time I ride him without the boots.
I've been using SMB's to protect his fetlocks But of course I'm not going to be able to use them in the dressage ring. I could leave them off just for that but he knocks himself pretty hard without the boots on and then doesn't move as nicely. and I would like to find the source of the problem instead of just using boots forever.
Oh yes I almost forgot he has front shoes and is barefoot in back
Anyone have advice or experience with this?
Thanks in advance
Last edited by Juneberry; Nov. 30, 2008 at 03:20 AM.
Forging = hitting the front shoes with the hind shoes.
What your horse is doing is called interfering, or perhaps cross-firing, if he's hitting the left front with the right hind. Talk to your farrier about it--sometimes it's due to shoeing, and shoeing can usually help alleviate the problem.
ah right interfering... pardon. anyway yes that is what he is doing and I have spoken to the farrier about it. He doesn't seem as concerned as I would like about the issue.
I can definitely feel the difference in his movement before and after he hits himself though which to me signifies something important. we are also unfortunately in 4-6inch deep sand footing which I also think might be part of the problem.
anyway this might just be as simple as giving him a breakover with his shoes right now he is in regular flat shoes. but he also already lands heel first.
but does anyone have experience with a horse interfering in this way?
Just out of curiosity, is your horse very forward? Perhaps running a bit, rather than sitting and pushing? If so, perhaps slowing him down and asking for a bit more "sit" would be helpful.
Depending on what his feet look like, giving him a more aggressive breakover in front will help those front feet get out of the way a bit faster. I think it would be interesting to have someone video your rides, from as low as possible--having his legs and feet on tape, where you could slow it down and really LOOK, might be very helpful to really determine where he's hitting, with what leg, and in what phase of the stride.
Does he really need shoes in front? Could he go barefoot?
My farrier is very concerned that my horse occasionally knocks herself behind. For that reason, and a few others, he's put her in plastic shoes. If your guy doesn't care that your horse hits himself so badly, perhaps it's time for a new farrier? If you'd like to post your location, perhaps you'd get some suggestions.
Forging is a problem and for your farrier not to be concerned about this problem is a problem not to mention disappointing.
You haven't given much background info but is your boy young and going through a growth spurt? Does he have conformation issues that might make him more susceptible to it? Does he do this always or is there a reprieve for the first couple weeks after shoeing before he starts again? If he has only been doing this since you've had him shod it's likely a timing issue.
If he lands heel first he likely tends to grow a longish toe. A long toe/low heel equates to a delayed breakover. It can be a fraction of a second in timing that is throwing him off. In his case his front feet are weighted in comparison and he cannot roll back the toe naturally at the same rate as he can behind. Slowing down the hind feet by delaying breakover is not wise and sans extreme conformation issues or a significant growth spurt I would suggest that you need to speed up those front feet!
You can try shoes on all fours with a rocker toe in front or if your horse can go barefoot I would do that; it's healthier and less expensive. Either way you need to trim or shoe often closer to five weeks if you are doing the average eight or so.
If he toes out, he may be going to his shins, and there may not be a whole lot you can do besides put shin boots on him. Front shin boots are kinda like tendon boots with the protective shield on the inside of the cannon bone rather than covering the tendon and are a lot lighter than smb's and a whole lot cheaper. An old trick you can try is dark boots, and white shoe polish on the front feet to show where he is hitting aside from the obvious spot as where they hit changes with extension and speed - the faster they go, the higher up they hit - has nothing to do with collection but foot flight path which changes with speed and some do go so high they hit their knees. I doubt he is doing this with his hind feet, as base narrow horses tend to be passing gaited at a trot simply because of conformation and are more apt to scalp, shit speedy cuts or hind shins with a front foot. Horses that trot also do not crossfire but they will grab a quarter when the hind foot lands, but it is always on the sane side, never the opposite front foot; crossfiring is hitting a front quarter with the opposite hind foot.
I dont know of much that helps as far as shoeing goes...can ry aluminums on the front so he doesn't hit as hard but beyond that, I don't know. Just make sure he is trimmed level and balanced, put light shoes on him and hope for the best
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I have a very leggy TB mare who was notorious for forging. She wouldn't hit her fetlocks, but you could hear it almost constantly. She's (hopefully) going to be an eventer, so I started doing a lot of dressage work with her. When she's working properly off her hind end instead of being on the forehand, the forging stops completely. It was pretty amazing the first time it happened.
My TB used to do this when I first got him. The first time I rode him he had four shoes on and all I heard was the clicking and clacking of him hitting himself.
Then I bought him, switched his farrier, pulled is back shoes and he has never done it since. Well, he also knows how to use himself now and not run around with his legs going so rapid. He used to kind of scurry around the ring with his head in the air. Silly young TB's.
I would talk to a different farrier perhaps. I know if my horse did this my farrier would express concern and do his best to help the problem. That is why he is my farrier.
he is a 4yo almost 5yo and off the track. he stopped racing at 3 something and got put to pasture to be a horse for a year before I bought him this August. I'd say he's probably done growing however he hopefully will still do some filling out
when I got him he had no shoes (for about a year) but was super ouchy on the gravel footing around the barn and down our driveway. so I had the farrier put all 4 on him and then with his 2nd shoeing went to just fronts.
the hitting of his fetlocks looks like it has been going on for a while. he had scar tissue that I noticed there shortly after buying him. and when he hits him self he opens it back up. it's nothing huge it's just a little spot on the inside back of each fetlock. I have a feeling it's because he is so narrow. but I will have my farrier look closer at his balance in the front before we decide which direction to go with his feet.
and it looks like we have some lateral work to do to try and build up that chest.
No, he does not look heavy on the forehand, but he is definitely a bit too much on it, and you are leaning forward quite a bit as well , which could exacerbate this in combination with perhaps other contributing factors, such as delayed breakover.
Oh yeah, you could always get a good vet/chiro/message therapist to come out and watch him move under saddle and at liberty then work on him and see if they can find anything with his body in particular. That's what I would probably end up doing.
I forgot to add - in some cases, gelding scar restrictions can be a factor too. If the gelding scar is cool/cold to the touch, he probably does have restrictions that could pull uncomfortably when the horse moves the hindlegs and to avoid the discomfort, the horse may travel more narrow behind than he normally would.
yeah I have to admit my equitation isn't all that great... I've had over 7 years off from riding while raising two daughters. so yeah I'm still working out the kinks and building up muscle.
Also to clarify this interfering is only happening on his front legs
but what I should have said earlier was that he will interfere with himself even on the lunge. with no tack at all so I doubt it's a rider issue. though I'm sure I'm probably not helping it.
In my defense however, we are still working at getting him going forward at one steady speed so I unfortunately seem to get thrown around a tad.
I'm going to try and avoid the vet or chiro for now as I'm just finishing up my last term in school and don't really have the money however if muscling and farrier work doesn't seem to help (as well as my riding getting better) the vet and chiro will be the first people I'll call.
And considering I'm in Oregon and my outdoor arena has gotten thoroughly soaked he probably will get a break for a little while if I don't see improvement so as not to worsen the issue.
Last edited by Juneberry; Nov. 30, 2008 at 11:46 PM.
Also to clarify this interfering is only happening on his front legs
OK, so now that we have established the actual loaction of the interferrence, we can focus right on that
Does he have a conformation flaw in the front that perhaps causes this problem (toeing in or out)? Does he hit both fetlocks equally often or one in particular?
When you lift up his front hooves, are both heels even, or is one higher than the other. You can also test this by measuring the collateral groove depth at the heels - is one deeper than the other?
There could still be muscle involvement as the pectorals (chest muscles)erpower the lateral muscles. Many horses also have a tendency to pull the non-dominant front leg in more. In Dressage this is referred to as the horse moving more like a tricycle. It is usually common in young and undeveloped horses. This could potentially also cause this problem or make it worse.
I believe he is hitting them both equally and unfortunately it will be a week before I can really do anything with him again and really look. his exercise has been so irregular these last couple of months
when I go out in the AM for his breakfast I'll double check his heels I'm pretty sure they are even, but I'll take some pictures and some of his legs as well.
also he had these scars when I got him so apparently he did it during his racing career too.
Last edited by Juneberry; Dec. 1, 2008 at 03:16 AM.