Horse falling over? Lazy or health related?

ellhall

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Last summer I was lucky enough to be given a 16.2hh, 16 year old schoolmaster on loan. Despite his age, he's still full of life and more than happy to be ridden - I use him for hacking and flat work. However, just after Christmas, I was trotting in the school and he tripped and fell, luckily I got out of the way and I assumed he had just lost his footing. However, since then, he has done this twice more and the last time I actually ended up in A&E....Basically, I'm unsure whether he is just being lazy and can't be bothered to pick his feet up properly or whether there may be some underlying pain or health issues causing him to be wobbly or something? He never does it in the field. I'm not sure whether to just call it a day with the school work and just use him for light hacking? Obviously, I am more than happy to get him all checked out and this is something that I will be discussing with his owner. Thanks :)
 

weebarney

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It could be his shoes, his back, legs or saddle causing the issue so getting a vet to check him out is probably the best place to start.
 

BethanT

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That's really not normal, he needs looking at by a professional.

Agree with the above. With his age into consideration as well it is likely to be something underlying. No harm in a vet check though. Hope all is ok though
 

MotherOfChickens

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get it checked out-horses don't just fall over. Could be any number of things including saddle fit. Don't hack him, having a horse fall on the road is not fun.
 

ellhall

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Thanks for your replies, it has confirmed my thoughts on getting him checked out - hopefully he's okay but best to check.
Thanks again.
 

Polos Mum

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16 isn't really that old so I'd investigate - I might even start with the farrier as too long toes can cause tripping and a good farrier will be able to spot stiffness as he picks up his legs to shoe to give you/ vet an idea of where to start.
If it's something simple like more frequent shoeing or a reflocked saddle it'd be nice to keep him going at the level he is
 

ellhall

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okay, I actually have the farrier coming tomorrow so I'll start with that and see what he says. Thank you. :)
 

Meowy Catkin

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Horses with badly balanced hooves (long toes, under-run heels) will trip a lot and a bad trip could result in a fall.
I also knew a mare with ringbone and sidebone and she would trip and fall over every nown and again.
Another horse I knew would fall over and he was later diagnosed with narcolepsy.

I agree that getting a Vet is wise - there are just so many possible causes and you need a diagnosis to know what is the best way forwards.

ETA - I've just seen that you've got the Farrier coming. That's a good start, but beware if it's the Farrier that has caused the bad hoof balance (if that's what the horse has), they might try to fob you off by saying 'that's just how his hooves are' or if the horse is TB/part TB the bad hooves might be blamed on that (TB's can have wonderful hooves, so don't accept that the breed is the problem).
 
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southerncomfort

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Glad you are getting your horse checked out. :) Feet would definately be my first though.

Do you have some pics of your horses feet? Their are some good feet experts (not me!) on here that might be able to see if something is seriously out of kilter with the balance of your horses feet.
 

ellhall

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Thank you Faracat, I will definitely keep that in mind! My friend at the yard uses a different farrier so might be worth getting a second opinion also. I don't have any pictures of his feet at the moment, but I will take some this afternoon. Thinking about it, a friend of mine did actually say to me a couple of weeks back that his feet weren't great (feeling awful now) I will see if the wear on his shoes is even too and will definitely get a vet to have a look too - thanks for all your replies :)
 

canteron

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All good answers, definitely get the horse checked out.

But remember, a vet/physio/farrier can only ever take a snapshot of what the horse is like on that day. You have the opportunity to check out what is habitual, so some thoughts ...

Trot up your horse, video it and really study the video.
Does one foot have a lower action, more dishing, etc, etc.

Look at your horse standing, does it tend to weight one foot more than the other. Does he stand evenly. All these things can be important. Get to know your horse - the vet/physio/farrier will only be able to have a snapshot of what they see at that moment, you on the other hand have the opportunity to find out whether that is typical.

Really really get to know your horse so that when talking to vet/physio you can maximise their knowledge (and remember all they can have is an informed opinion based on what they see and what information you can give, always remember, you know your horse better). It may also be that if there is stiffness the physio can give you exercises to help with flexibility, but I would start by doing lots of flexibility/massage work anyway, it can only help.

The other thing of course is you could be riding the horse on its forehand too much. In which case you need to really check your position and also get some exercises to get the horse off its forehand. Again, I always find getting someone to video really helps me to see my bad habits.

Maybe investigate bare foot, my cob who used to trip, had much better preprioception (awareness of his body) without shoes. Some horses do, some don't. I might now reconsider shoeing, but I have a much greater understanding of his physiology for being barefoot for a bit. I found the Phoenix Horse Barefoot Forum really useful for our barefoot journey.

Good luck!
 

ellhall

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Thank you Canteron for your reply, that's really helpful and I will trot him up etc this afternoon - I have some video's of me riding him and others riding him so will investigate those also! Thanks very much :)
 

Tnavas

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Falling over can be a sign of heart problems - best to get a vet to check the horse over.

In the meantime, check foot length, possible neck problems, nerves to front legs travel through the 7th Cervical vertebrae.
 

SkewbyTwo

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Definitely get a vet, can be early sign of navicular. Ditto hoof balance check first though. You haven't changed farrier recently, by any chance?
 

ellhall

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SkewbyTwo, he's had his current farrier for about 4/5 years so luckily no - but will still get a second opinion. :)
 

Tnavas

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Definitely get a vet, can be early sign of navicular. Ditto hoof balance check first though. You haven't changed farrier recently, by any chance?

Falling over is definitely not an early sign of navicular. Signs of navicular are slight shortening of stride, unlevel steps especially on hard ground and on a circle, pointing of the affected foot at rest.
 

spookypony

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Agree with the others; could be anything from a hoof balance problem all the way to a serious neurological or heart problem. I wouldn't get on him again until it's been investigated. Yes, riding him too much on the forehand could exacerbate the tripping problem, but to the point of actually falling over 3 times? That sounds a bit unlikely to me, unless there's something else wrong.

As Faracat implied, the problem with asking the farrier tomorrow is that if he's the one that caused the problem in the first place, he likely won't be able to spot or correct it. Still, you should ask, and in the meantime by all means take some pics and arrange for a second opinion (I'd go for a reputable barefoot professional, because up here I see very few shod hooves that look appropriately trimmed to me, but you may have a better selection of farriers where you are). I'd get the vet out, but after speaking to the farriers.
 

Tiffany

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Understand your concern. A horse on my previous yard started tripping so farrier changed his shoes and he was fine after that. Could be that simple or could be he needs a full check by the vet.
 

Gloi

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Is something causing the horse to be on his forehand. My first thought would be that, at that age, he could be starting with arthritis in his hocks so he isn't using himself as well as he used to causing the tripping.
 

Pearlsasinger

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I would definitely advise getting the vet's and farrier's opinion but if it happens in the school, I do wonder if it could a result of the going. Is it deep/uneven/patchy? Of course if it has happened anywhere else it couldn't be attributed to t the going.
 

Cazza525

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I retired my mare for tripping and stumbling. Retired her at 22 shes 23 now. Shes in perfect health in every other way . Too risky x
 

Goldenstar

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Many many things cause old horses to trip .
As others have said it's a job for a vet .
Such horses ought not to be ridden because it's neither fair on them or safe for the rider .
 

LadyRascasse

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There are some many possiblities of what it could be. I would always start at the feet and work up. Bear in mind that even if you get an opinion of a second farrier they are NOT allowed to say anything negative about the other farriers work.
No farrier should speak or write disparagingly of a colleague to a third party, since the effect is to undermine public confidence in the profession. This does NOT however apply to evidence given in a court of law and in instances where professional negligence or misconduct may be involved and where in the interests of justice, everyone must be able to speak freely

I believe vets are free to give opinions on hoofs though .
 

Goldenstar

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Every body is free to give opinions there's lots of farriers that thrive on slagging each other off .
 

LadyRascasse

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Goldenstar, they aren't they can be up before the disciplinary board if a compliant was made, that quote is from the farriers code of conduct. slagging off another farrier is gross misconduct just like it is in any job.
 

PollyP99

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Goldenstar, they aren't they can be up before the disciplinary board if a compliant was made, that quote is from the farriers code of conduct. slagging off another farrier is gross misconduct just like it is in any job.

Agree with GS they all do it regardless
 

Moomin1

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Thanks for your replies, it has confirmed my thoughts on getting him checked out - hopefully he's okay but best to check.
Thanks again.

I fail to see why anyone would need to consult a forum of strangers in order to come to the conclusion this horse should be checked out by a vet.

Just baffles me.

Anyway, hope all works out ok.
 

Moomin1

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Falling over is definitely not an early sign of navicular. Signs of navicular are slight shortening of stride, unlevel steps especially on hard ground and on a circle, pointing of the affected foot at rest.

Any of which may well unbalance the horse/cause stumbling/falling.
 

Orangehorse

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Lots of good advice OP. 16 isn't that old. But you need a vet to look at the whole picture. It might be as simple as too long a foot, and a different shoe could solve the problem, or it could be anything from knee problem, to back problem or hind leg. You could ask the vet is some physio work might help.
 
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