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Racehorse Lugging out

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  • Racehorse Lugging out

    I will be posting this same topic on a couple different forums, but I need the most advice I can get.

    I have a 3yo TB Gelding that has ran 5 times. Every race he lugs out severly. He has no soundness issue (currently or prior) and we deemed it as a bad habit. We have tried a Spicer Bit and a Springsteen Spoon bit with a bull extended cup outside blinker. We were able to get him to work on the rail with the Springsteen, but in the race he still blew the turn.

    We are thinking of trying a Janes bit (SP???), but would also love other suggestions!

  • #2
    Are you SURE there's nothing wrong? I've never see one lug out just by 'habit'. Have you had his teeth checked?


    • #3
      have the inside foreleg checked and the outside hind as well if the teeth are fine but he will be shedding caps at age 3. If it is habit, try a murphy on the blind before a james bit - james bits are more for horses that plain don't steer rather than something that bears in or out. Probablyu causes pretty much range from caps to sore in one spot to all over body sore to unbroke. Is this recent or long standing? Something happen in the infield to startle him??
      Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

      Member: Incredible Invisbles


      • #4
        Try a cage bit, but most importantly get a rider that actually won't be afraid of it and KNOWS HOW TO USE IT PROPERLY. I had one that was getting 7-8-9 wide on the turn. Did the teeth, spent oodles getting 2nd and 3rd opinions on soundness, tried every bit. It can be a bad habit. All it took was a cage bit and a rider with good hands. Also, some of these critters in this boat get worse the more you fight them. Also, you may want to ditch the runout blinker which, in my opinion, can make the problem worse for certain horses.


        • #5
          Originally posted by DickHertz View Post
          Try a cage bit, but most importantly get a rider that actually won't be afraid of it and KNOWS HOW TO USE IT PROPERLY.
          AFTER you make sure there is nothing wrong. I am betting left front. Most horses lug away from the bad side.
          McDowell Racing Stables

          Home Away From Home


          • #6
            Is he getting out in the morning as well ? Make sure he is being galloped properly and not being pulled up on the outside fence. Of course first and foremost check for soundness issues, but bad morning habits turn into bad evening ones.


            • #7
              Agree with DickHertz.


              • Original Poster

                Have only had this horse for about 3 months now and only ran him once. He has only ran 5 times (twice as a 2yo) and lugged out from his very first race on a mile track. We did his teeth, which were pretty bad. Also, had vet overlook him and he checked out a-ok.

                I gallop him and he does do the head tucked to my left knee while bowing outward. I can gallop him on the rail and he does change leads for me. (Never knew a horse who could have his head tucked to my knee and beable to switch to his left lead without stumbling, althetic much!). We thought we had the issue solved with the Springsteen bit, for we worked him 1/2 mile on a 5/8 mile track and he took the turn like a pro! Come race time, we ran him at Fairplex (which btw is NOT a good track for a horse with his issue, but . . . ) and he blew the turn in the same bit. Different riders maybe????

                I also came across an idea of a Burr with the Springsteen bit. However, I will have a different vet over look him and also check into that cage bit.


                • #9
                  I've had a lot of luck with a Houghton bit.


                  • #10
                    Is he a speed horse or a closer? Maybe if he is off the pace he is ducking from dirt in his face.


                    • Original Poster

                      He is a total speed horse, to the lead the whole way. He will blow the turn while working by himself so the dirt would be ruled out.


                      • #12
                        .....just read you only had the horse 3 months. Did you ever do x-rays of his knees & ankles? That's what I would be guessing now. I had a mare a few years ago like this that "checked" out by 4 vets as sound on the flexions and jogging. Mare continued lugging out & didn't feel bad galloping. Had her x-rayed & what she had was a chip in the knee that was bad enough to affect her while going a decent gallop/breezing/running, but not slower than that. She would jog/gallop undersaddle sound as could be.

                        Just a thought. I had to ship mine to the clinic for x-rays as the vets on the grounds said she was fine... Had another one too that took two people to walk in the shedrow as he was such a good-feeling horse. Checked out by 2 vets as being ok. Legs ice cold. Jogged with the rider ok...galloped sore. Had the vets scratching their heads. Took him to a clinic & he had a fracture of the cannon that we needed the better x-ray machine for (he WAS x-rayed all 4's at the track & nothing was found).

                        #1. Check the teeth & if they ARE bad it might take a week or two for the horse to 'realize' it doesn't hurt & changing to harsher bits will probably just make the problem worse...

                        #2. Take x-rays of front legs.

                        A friend at a neighboring track witnessed last month a gelding that lugged out so bad he ended up one morning -- just galloping -- going over the outside rail injuring a VERY good exercise boy. Horse had just win 3 in a row & was also a speed horse. Also had chips. Horse ended up ok out of the incident (rider unfortunately not as lucky) but I don't know who's going to want to ride him for the races now......

                        Maybe you have the 'fluke' that it's a taught bad habit...but for me I would do everything possible to find the problem before just changing bit after bit 'hoping' he stops...


                        • #13
                          If X-rays come out clean I suggest a bone scan-- it's spendy, but eliminates, without a doubt any soundness issues that may not be popping up on X-rays. Horses don't just "lug out for no reason"---there is always a reason--you galloping him with his head bowed to the left also could be the culprit.
                          The only difference between a runaway and a fast gallop is nothing but a SMILE
                          Most horses cross the Rainbow Bridge, but TEDDY JUMPED IT!!!
                          Member of the COTH Enabler Clique


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by EquineRacers View Post

                            I also came across an idea of a Burr with the Springsteen bit. However, I will have a different vet over look him and also check into that cage bit.
                            Trust me when I say this...for a horse in this situation a burr ain't going to help one bit
                            Last edited by DickHertz; Sep. 16, 2009, 03:16 PM.


                            • #15
                              I've been on several horses that were sound, and lugged out bad. One only did it in the a.m, never in the afternoon and was a multiple stakes winner. The second did it always, and it was a habit (we claimed him).

                              I found that a cage bit did wonders for the second horse mentioned, and a burr and extension blinker helped the first horse in the a.m.


                              • #16
                                I agree. A horse can be dead sound and have this type of issue (among others)

                                Acertainsmile, did you know the horse had the bad habit before you claimed it? After dealing with one of these crazy critters, I will never claim a horse I know is a jackass during races especially. before having one of these, I probably would have claimed and thought "we'll fix it" !!!


                                • #17
                                  Sound horses can lug out. Mental issues do play a role for some. as others have said ensure that there isn't a subtle soundness issue and they do tend to "get off" of whatever they are protecting. Also look for ulcers in the mouth as a result of the teeth being in less than fine repair.
                                  Every rider has equipment they prefer. I prefer and Australian ring bit with or without an extension depending on how intent the horse is in lugging. I hate the extended blinker, but I also hate a longer than the right left arm from pulling. I also hate two hands on the inside rein. I do try everything in my power to avoid the blinker. JMBE as the last horse that I had the extended blinker on sent me over the outside fence.
                                  Cover all of your bases. And sometimes we have to realize not every horse is going to find the rail the way we prefer.


                                  • #18
                                    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that a cage bit and Houghton bit are essentially the same thing. And they DO work well for horses that get out/bolt.


                                    • #19
                                      One more thing

                                      This may be a matter of semantics but I've always referred to horses that pull to the right (towards the outside fence) as getting out and horses that pull to the left as lugging in. Is this a regional thing, or am I wrong?


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by foundationmare View Post
                                        Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that a cage bit and Houghton bit are essentially the same thing. And they DO work well for horses that get out/bolt.
                                        A cage bit isn't the slightest bit similiar to a houghton bit. A cage bit has 6-8 prongs that are contained in a disc like thing on the side the horse tends to lug towards (they are reversible) when the rider pulls outward on that rein the prongs stick out of the disc and poke him in the side of the face/mouth. A houghton has a thick wire that encircles the lower jaw.
                                        McDowell Racing Stables

                                        Home Away From Home