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Please tell me this is a fitness issue (forging)

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  • Please tell me this is a fitness issue (forging)

    My horse is one week off a solid 2 months of stall rest. He was sick for a month with strangles (it went through our barn) and the following month in quarantine until his test results showed negative.

    I started with just hand walking and putting him on our Equi-ciser to keep him at a walk as I know he has lost a lot of fitness and I didn't want him to tear around in turn out and injure himself. I did turn him out after excercise and he was good. Day 5 I went to lunge him in a halter and leg wraps only, no other gear. He was very sensible (which is odd in itself because this horse is a normally a very high energy horse) I kept him in walk with a little trotting.... and he's forging and brushing with his hind legs at the trot.

    I had his feet trimmed the first day he was allowed to be touched by anyone other than "strangles educated people" by the same farrier I've used for over a year. This horse has never forged or brushed. Should I be worried? Give him time? Would side reins help? I didn't want to start "working" him right away as I would have liked to let him enjoy turn out and some freedom for a while and obviously being in a stall for so long.... he's not fit.

  • #2
    My horse is doing the same thing after the winter off. I'm just giving him time to get fit. If it doesn't go away, I'll worry about it then.
    "If you can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em."


    • #3
      Forging can be a fitness/laziness issue. I have never associated brushing with that.

      Forging is the front feet not getting out of the way fast enough - easily caused by lack of forward movement, though can also be caused by long front toes.

      Brushing is an issue with lateral movement of the leg as it moves forward - lack of fitness doesn't do that. SOME horses do straighten out as they get more energetic, though I personally have only seen that with paddling.

      I personally would look first to the feet. How long before he was quarantined had he been trimmed? You're looking at minimally 8 weeks since his previous trim, and I'd guess probably more. So, a foot that becomes that long could easily, by many farriers, be left too long once trimmed again.
      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


      • #4
        Probably those front toes got long during the quarintine and although you had him trimmed, it make take until the next trimming until he is back to his normal balance. Be sure to mention the forging to your farrier so he can address the issue.

        On the fitness note, I have experienced this with unfit horses who stop when they become fitter, but they don't come out of the stall forging. It normally occurs when they have become notably tired (when the shoulder and chest muscles fatigue they may not get the front feet out of the way in time) If your horse is doing this not tired aka this seems to be a new way of moving, I would say feet.


        • Original Poster

          He was due for trim right before quarantine, so he went 14 weeks! He actually got better the longer I lunged him so it wasn't him getting fatigued, and I stopped after 5 min because I didn't like what was happening so he didn't work long enough to get fatigued.

          I did notice his feet were rock solid hard. I guess standing in dry shavings for two months isn't all that great for foot health and I have no idea if that would lead to forging? And I just thought this nightmare called strangles was over!!!

          Thanks for the responses - I'm going to go ahead and call the farrier.


          • #6
            Yikes! Well that lends itself to my thought that he was way too long when he got trimmed and more likely than not the farrier didn't get everything trimmed that should have been.

            Also, glad you mentioned the hard feet and shavings - standing around in that for long enough can have a detrimental effect on the health of the feet. When I had to stall my WB gelding, it only took 2 weeks for his heels to noticably contract. This quickly corrected once he was able to get out for longer and longer periods of time (which started as just the time it took me to clean his stall).
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


            • Original Poster

              Yikes is right! LOL (Not sure whether to laugh or cry). I'm sure I'll get it sorted out. Thanks again.