Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bad Steps

The last two days have been lovely, so I rode Spider instead of doing ground work. I noted last week that he was dragging his hind feet in the sand during some of the lateral work. The last two days he's also started taking off steps behind.

I don't know exactly what's happening, since I'm sitting on him and don't have anyone to watch us go, but it seems that he's either tripping or slipping on his left hind when he trots. Usually after I have asked him to put more weight on that leg. I can't reproduce it on the lunge line, so I don't really know if it's a soundness issue or just that he isn't fit enough to do what I'm asking him to. Flexing it doesn't produce a visible difference, either. I'm sort of at a loss. Since I can't see what's happening, I really can't even say for certain what's wrong. I'll take him out today on the lunge line again, with side reins this time, to see if I can get him to do it. I'll try flexing him again, also.

I'm 99% sure that he's just out of shape and I'm asking for too much. But that 1% chance that he is actually unsound is worrisome. I suppose I'll be doing just ground work for a little while, then only walking under saddle until I can get this figured out. It's supposed to get hot and steamy again, anyway... no big loss.


  1. If he's out of shape, it could very well be a stifle or stifles catching - this joint is prone to weakness, just like our knees, and requires muscles to support its proper functioning. My mare Maisie has historically had catchy stifles, and the best remedy is slow steady muscling up - for a while only in straight lines or on very shallow curves. Trotting is the best for this. Once the horse is more fit, trotting up hills can be very beneficial for strengthening.

    Hope you get it figured out!

  2. Good luck with this. Slow conditioning sounds right. As you say, with the heat it's hard to do more anyway.

  3. Kate beat me to it. Sounds like it might be a stifle issue. If so, legging him up at the trot is the best solution. You can also rub some liniment around the joint before you ride.

    The steam heat will be back, so they say, so no point in trying too hard to solve the problem now anyhow. Bummer as my knees are going to be treated next week, just in time for the weather to turn back to "Nasty Summer of 2010."


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