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Hi there,

I just love your site. I do have a question for you. I have a five year old Standardbred. He's broke, and has done some mountain riding. He has spent two months in professional training with an all round rodeo champion... who has since retired from rodeo but continues to train horses. I am a totally green rider and my first experience wrapped me around a tree... my second dumped me on my back, and offered me a long walk home on a twisted ankle -- only because I was too frightened to get back on. I have since overcome that fear with this horse. He is my best friend... he's very gentle... and soooo forgiving. My problem is that he keeps tripping. Mainly due to not paying attention, from what we can tell. And not just a "little" trip. We're talking down on his front knees and bouncing his nose off the ground tripping. I have tried putting him on a longe line and trotting him through posts set on the ground.... but this didn't seem to help. Even his months in training didn't help. How do I get him to pay attention and not trip so much? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Again... great site.

F. M.


Before I got too involved with training, I'd get my vet and a good farrier involved. In my experience, tripping is often an early sign of a foot problem: abscessed sole, infection in the white line, etc.

It could also be the result of trimming the foot at an incorrect angle. If your farrier doesn't routinely use a hoof gauge, I'd start shopping for another one.

If the critter's feet check out okay, then I'd start looking at when and where he trips. Is it on soft ground, uneven ground, rocky ground? Does it happen when he's fresh (and lively) or when he's tired?

Finally, on the basis that a horse will reflect the rider's attitude, I'd want to know about your own riding techniques. If he seems inattentive, perhaps he's responding to your own inattentiveness. Remember, a horse can't see as much detail as a human, so you need to be constantly watching for things that may trip him. That's kinda hard to do at 25 MPH, which is why I try not to canter except on a safe surface.

Happy Riding!

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