We have a short sturrup girl at our barn who has a paint horse. He is your average 15 hand paint gelding.
About every few jumps he will land cross cantering. It doesnt matter if he gets a good spot, or a chip or a long spot. He will land cross cantering both directions. Sometimes it's the right hind, or the left hind. There seems to be no pattern, or a favored leg etc. It is very random.
The trainer and myself (assistant trainer) have ridden him and we cannot keep him from cross cantering.
We have done some gymnastics, grids, canter poles in a large circle. Nothing has seemed to help. Do you think it has just became a habit?
He has not had any chiropractic work, would that help? She also looks at saddle fittings
He maintains his leads on the flat, no cross canter issues. He has never had any soundness issues, goes barefoot.
I have a student in a very similar situation. Her horse lands cross cantering far to often. However our situation is different in that he *usually* only does it when he gets to a very tight spot and when I get on him I can keep him from doing it even to a tight distance.
We are having the chiropractor come out for our guy, he is only 4 and hasn't ever been adjusted and she had a less than perfect fitting saddle that we have already replaced that may have caused some problems. For us some of it may be that the horse is still green and trying to figure out what to do with his legs when his rider gets him to deep, but he has been stiff through his neck lately and some other things that make me think he needs to be adjusted as well.
So to sum it up, yes I would have a chiropractor come out and take a look, it definitely won't hurt.
All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day. ~Author Unknown
If it's both ways and under all riders regardless of ability?
It's pain related. Start with the vet though, not the chiro. You need pictures to see if there is anything going on in the back end. usually it's arthritis in the joints, like the hock, sometimes the stifle. Chiro is great but cannot relieve arthritic pain or replace that joint lubrication that gets lost with age. Thats what the injections do. He could also be backsore from a saddle that does not fit or need a good adjustment from the chiro on a regular basis...but please start with a good vet exam.
Have to say, also a chance his conformation just cannot handle any jumping, particularly if he is very straight in the hock and "camped out". They just can't do it and will swap leads, cross canter or whatever to relieve the discomfort when asked for something they are not physically able to do comfortably.
When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.
Agree with other posters. Another thing to check is lunge him over fences without saddle or rider and see if it still happens. Whether it does or does not, you'll get some additional insight/information.