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Franklin Levinson's

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Lazy horse in the arena

Hi Franklin,

My name is Lisa and I own a 13 yr. old paint gelding. I have owned him about 8 months now. When I ride him in the arena and I cue him to trot, he will put his ears back and just walk faster. He doesn't seem to want to trot or canter in the arena. But when I go out on the trail and cue him to trot or canter, he has no problem. Another problem I have with him is when I am out on the trail he seems to trip a lot. I am getting to the point where I am hesitate to go into a canter because there has been a few times he almost went completely down when he tripped. I don't know if he's just lazy and doesn't want to pick up his feet or if he is just clumsy. He is shod on a regular basis. I had pads put on his front feet to see if it was just that he has sensitive feet, but he still trips. What can I do for these problems?

Thank you, Lisa

Hi Lisa,

You only mention riding your horse. Relationships with all horses are formed first and foremost through playing and dancing with your horse ON THE GROUND. So, it would seem, as you don't mention any ground play, you really don't have much of a relationship going with your horse other than you riding him when you want. Please consider there is more to horses than the human activity of riding them.

If you want to develop his forward movement anywhere, do it on the ground first long-lining and lungeing him. If you have access to a round pen, that is a good tool as well. Ground driving him in an arena would be wonderful for him and you. This would handle your problem of him moving in an arena. As far as the tripping is concerned, there are several possibilities to look at: First is foot or leg pain which a veternarian would have to check out. Second is whether or not he is getting shod properly for the type of horse and the type of feet he has. Again, I cannot offer an informed opinion on this as I cannot view the horse. I can say that 90% of stumbling problems comes from the horse being improperly shod (for the horse, its situation and conformation). Only about 10% comes from injuries and pain. You might consider trying a different farrier (as difficult as that may be for you). Ferriers tend to be primadonas in my experience with them.....and at 60 years of age and a lifetime with horses, I have had lots of experience with farriers.

Anyway, I hope I have offered some interesting suggestions. Good Luck and please keep me posted.

Sincerely yours, Franklin

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