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Can progress with training result in over-reaching?

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    Can progress with training result in over-reaching?

    I'm just curious if anybody has heard of a horse beginning to over-reach as its training progresses. My TB has suddenly started losing shoes like crazy after a year of keeping them on just fine. (He's shod only in front.) I know there might be lots of other reasons for this, and I'm addressing those, but I'm also testing the theory that after a year of steady elementary dressage work he's now stepping far enough underneath himself to nick his shoes. Although bell boots don't seem to make a difference, my farrier's opinion is that my horse is over-reaching.

    It can also be connected to stepping under plus being on the forehand. If the front feet are a millisecond slower than the hind feet in leaving the ground they can catch their heels. You should video him being ridden at his bigger trot


      Is he pulling them off during your rides or are you just finding them out in his pasture? I don’t necessarily think increasing work could cause it, but it might just amplify a problem he already has if he’s working more.

      My mare overreaches too and I never do just fronts on her for that reason. She gets 4 shoes or no shoes. If they overreach it’s because the front feet don’t move out of the way so when your horses toe gets longer the slower it moves out of the way. If you don’t have backs on, his back feet are wearing down naturally while his front feet aren’t because you have shoes on them.

      I’d try doing 4 shoes and also see if your ferrier can do a rocker on the fronts. You could also try shortening your cycle especially this time of year when their feet grow faster. Also make sure your saddle isn’t pinching or interfering with the shoulders.


        If a farrier is trying to blame it on something else, he/she becomes my first place of suspicion. I believe incorrect angles are the #1 reason this happens.
        However, increased power plus being on the forehand absolutely can add to issues, and you're at the point on training I have seen horses start having problems, when six months later they are not having problems anymore.
        If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.


          When is he losing the shoes? Do you ever hear sounds of him forging while riding?


            Original Poster

            Mostly he loses shoes in the pasture, just once in the ring, but I thought maybe clipping an edge while under saddle might loosen them. He's not heavy on the bit, but could for sure go on the forehand enough for his front feet to not quite get out of the way. Shod front feet being a bit longer/heavier than unshod back feet makes a lot of sense also. I'll be more diligent about rebalancing him during our rides and seriously consider adding back shoes, along with the hoof strengthening measures I've already got going. Thank you, all!


              Perhaps, but he is traveling so level that he's pulling the front shoes. My horse is short-coupled. Try front shoe bell boots, which he might have to live with, My horse has to live with them because he regularly can pull front shoes. He doesn't forge when riding and can go very uphill. The uphillness causes the issues with shoes in the pasture. Front bell boots on 24/7 have helped tremendously. Good luck!!
              Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation


                Originally posted by netg View Post
                If a farrier is trying to blame it on something else, he/she becomes my first place of suspicion. I believe incorrect angles are the #1 reason this happens.
                However, increased power plus being on the forehand absolutely can add to issues, and you're at the point on training I have seen horses start having problems, when six months later they are not having problems anymore.
                I disagree. A change in the horse's way of going absolutely can change the trim/shoe for immediate cycles. Ask me how I know with my current horse.
                Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation


                  Yeah, I think this is a phase of training. It does denote progress. Your horse has learned to step under more, but hasn't yet figured out he needs to take a longer stride with the front legs. Keep up the good work. He'll get it sorted out. In the meantime, maybe try a different farrier if your current farrier is blaming everything but the trim.


                    If you're using bell boots, make sure they come all the way down to the ground. You want them to cover the back of the shoe. You might need to go up a size from what you're using. I agree with the other posters as well, though. Watch your toe length and the break-over point.


                      I agree with netg. Whatever the reason the farrier needs to address it.

                      Farriers do get sloppy some times.
                      Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                      Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                        OP, might you be overdriving the horse onto the forehand? I liked your idea that Horse needs frequent rebalancing during rides. And, as others have mentioned, shortening the toe/rolling the toe might help, too. Especially if he seems to pull the shoes most often in turn-out.


                          In my experience frequently losing shoes is most often a farrier issue. Ask your farrier what they can do to reduce the chances of losing shoes.


                            My incredibly short backed arab, who was barefoot at the time, did start to clip herself in the front legs & heel bulb with the hind when we really started collected work for 2nd level. And our solution was steel shoes in the back, aluminums in the front, and bell boots all the time until she learned where her feet needed to be. I'd been using the same farrier her entire life and we only needed to do this for a yea or so until she figured out how to NOT take pieces out of her heel bulb while working. But her back is short enough that you're surprised a dressage saddle fits up there.

                            Most lost shoes and interference are farrier issues, unless your horse has a glaring anatomical issue.