Sunday, March 14, 2010

Horse Training – Overstepping or Overreaching

Laura from Virginia e-mailed me and asked is it a common problem for horses to reach too far forward with a rear hoof and clip the back of the front hoof.

Laura, this is called over-stepping or over reaching. Short backed, long legged horses may have this problem. You did not tell me if your horse was young, what breed and size. A picture would help. But this is a common problem which is usually exacerbated at faster gates – particular the fast lope (canter) or gallop.
The terrain you ride in can also affect this. For instance, thicker looser soil or sand can cause a front leg to momentarily “stick” and the back hoof to clip the heel or the heel bulbs of that front leg.

I had a Paint Horse, half Tennessee Walker - half Quarter Horse, who had this problem. I resorted to Bell Boots on the front end to protect the heel bulbs of his front legs. I was also fairly careful about not letting him really take off go in deep sand or unknown terrain. I had this horses as a 6 month old foal and he did get much better over time about not over reaching. I think that’s pretty common too that as the more your ride a young horse, the more comfortable they get carrying weight over different types of terrain.

I’ve seen over stepping result in the back leg clipping a front shoe and pulling it half way off, but another common injury is a bruise or laceration to the heel bulbs. Bell Boots come in handy to protect the heel and heel bulbs. If you didn’t use them and your horse clips his bulbs, then the Bell Boot also comes in handy to protect the injury after your clean it and dress it up.

I use Pro Equine Bell Boot. They are thick Cordura with double Velcro straps and have a tab in the back that fits between the heel bulbs to help hold the boot in place and keep it from rotating.

Check with and look for Bell Boots or Overreach Boots – two names for the same thing. This is an inexpensive training aid to have on hand when training or working horses who may over reach or over step from time to time.
Good luck with that horse and safe journey.

1 comment:

  1. i have this problem with my 8 year old quarder horse mare about 15'2 hands short backed. but i use bell boots and she still reaches under and causes laceration to her heel. have and idea's???
    from washington state