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How to encourage picking up feet?

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  • How to encourage picking up feet?

    I observed that my horse likes to drag his hind legs. He doesn't really pick them up and he is not particularly engaging his hind. There is nothing physically wrong with him so I think it's because he needs to develop his hind more. I was thinking hill work and cavalettis. Am I on the right track? What
    else would you recommend? Thanks

  • #2
    dragging hind legs IS a symptom of pain and lameness, so there IS something physically wrong with him.
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble

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    • #3
      twcolabear I have the same problem with my mare. I had her vetted and there is definitely nothing wrong with her, and she CAN pick up her hind feet when she wants to (eg when she goes arab on me). Vet diagnosed lazyness and said work on exercises that engage the hind. lateral work is good, hill work is good if you have a hill (we don't), he wasn't too big on cavaletti but didn't think it would hurt. Mostly he said keep asking for FORWARD.

      One good exercise is to go on a 20m circle in working trot and spiral circle in to 10m then leg yield back out to 20m and then go large and see if they can maintain the hind reaching under for awhile.

      good luck, i'd love to hear of anything yuo find that works.
      arabsrock

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      • #4
        Got a TB the same way. Has been seen by vets and trainers......lazy buddy.

        Actually he goes in heavier shoes in the back in the summer when he has them than what is on his front feet. He will actually drag his toes so bad without them that he will file away the front of his hooves!

        This winter we were having the same issues inside...but in South Dakota you really can't have shoes on when there is ice outside...they just slip really badly and get ice shoes on. I thought about weighted bell boots or splint boots but they are like over $100 a pair.

        So instead I went to Walmart, spent like $14 and got a pair of those exercise weights that you can put on your ankles. I warm up in them and wallla! Horse picking up his back feet. I don't jump in them or do any seriously hard work...but just warming up in them helps him.

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks for suggestions.
          He's been seen by a vet and hes fine, he's just never been one to move much.
          I like the spiraling exercises, Thanks for reminding me about them.
          Any other suggestions?

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          • #6
            Starting with the trot changes in tempo

            Baby steps for a about 5 steps, and then long big trot, and back again. Over and over and over!


            Do this until the hind leg is quicker to respond to that forward after the small steps.

            The hind will really pick up if your connection is really letting them stretch into it
            ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
            http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

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            • #7
              This horse is definitly sore! Dragging back legs is a sign of muscle spasms in the lumbar region and/or in the hamstrings.

              If you want to know how to locate and repair the problem, send me an email and I will answer.
              www.hartetoharte.org
              Ask and allow, do not demand and force.

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              • #8
                Firstly, not every horse that drags their hind toes is sore or hurting. I know plenty of horses that have slightly drug their hinds up through the levels. That said, it also CAN mean there is a problem.

                Personally I am hesitant to say either way unless I see a video of the horse. Without seeing the horse move no one can give correct advice IMO.

                I would recommend either posting video, or taking a lesson with a really good, competent dressage instructor.
                On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

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                • #9
                  When my young horse started work she dragged her hinds a bit - she is totally fine now she is stronger and fitter and mature. Quite a common condition.
                  Take her out of the arena and get her working.
                  Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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                  • #10
                    Rider needs to activate the hind end by keeping her lower leg back where it should be.

                    Perhaps the sharp eye of an instructor can help.

                    Transitions will help if ridden properly, also riding the downward transitions forward helps. Just because the rhythm changes does not mean the forward can stop!!

                    Once you get the forward, don't get in its way with the reins. Ride it, and enjoy it.

                    All difficulties are not time to call for medications and treatments. It is amazing how we, as riders, get in their way!!!!!
                    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.

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                    • #11
                      Haven't read all the replies, but...

                      ...does he travel the same way when at liberty? I mean when meandering in the pasture and doing things on his own accord?

                      Most horses do not drag their hind legs unless there is a conformational defect or some other physical impairment that is causing them to do so.

                      This is a common symptom of EPSM, EPM, residual effects of a bout of azoturia.

                      I'd take a good hard look at how the horse travels freely (not with a lunge whip behind him) then see if there is a difference between that and what is happening under saddle...and try to figure it out from there with a very good trainer and/or lameness expert.
                      www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                      "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                      Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

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                      • #12
                        twcolabear -- is your horse a TW? I just wondered because of the tw in your screen name.

                        If so, your problem is not an uncommon one, at least in my experience using a TW for dressage.
                        www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                        "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                        Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sid View Post
                          Haven't read all the replies, but...

                          ...does he travel the same way when at liberty? I mean when meandering in the pasture and doing things on his own accord?

                          Most horses do not drag their hind legs unless there is a conformational defect or some other physical impairment that is causing them to do so.

                          This is a common symptom of EPSM, EPM, residual effects of a bout of azoturia.

                          I'd take a good hard look at how the horse travels freely (not with a lunge whip behind him) then see if there is a difference between that and what is happening under saddle...and try to figure it out from there with a very good trainer and/or lameness expert.
                          I agree w/this. I would definately consider your horses conformation and be sure that your horse can actually get his hind feet off the ground - a lot of horses cannot due to conformation. Straight stifles, flat croups, sickle hocks, soft pasterns, the list goes on and on.

                          This does not mean that most horses cannot pick their back feet up and go over caveletti or jumps or whatnot. It means that in their day to day life and work, those back feet are ground bound.
                          "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                          ---
                          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

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