Hello everyone,

I am very curious to know if a horse can be clumsy. I know of this horse that trips a lot. He may even trip two to three times per lesson. There is nothing wrong with this horse that I can tell but I find it hard to believe that a horse can truly be just clumsy. I have ridden this horse and he tripped almost everytime I did. I was told that I might be to blame as I was not sitting straight and deep enough in the saddle thus imbalancing him but I've also seen very adavnced riders ride him and he tripped as well. What could be causing this? Is he really just clumsy? I would love any and all input.

Thank you in advance for your help and enlightening me on this subject.

Still Green

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From personal experience when my horse is tripping.. a)his toes are too long or b) he's not moving forward from his hind end enough, and falling on his forehand or c)the ring really needs to be harrowed.

Hope that helps? (0:
If he is older AND tied in below the knees, it may be due to weakness in the foreleg.
There may be arthritis in the knee.
He may need to have his toes trimmed more often. This is very important in any horse that tends to trip. Hooves tend to grow faster in warm weather, needing more frequent trimming or shoeing.
Hope this helps.
Is this horse a draft horse or draft cross??? You might want to check into this......
EPSM or Equine Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy is a muscle disease most commonly associated with heavy horse breeds.
The Clydesdale I lease was very stumbly and lethargic and did not have good muscle developement
did some research and provided the information to the owner and she allowed me to put him on a high fat diet.
Well he has changed so much, better attitude, more energy, he muscled up and very seldom stumbles now (if he does it is due to him being a bit too relaxed LOL)
You might want to do some research as EPSM can be controlled simply by diet.
In addition to what has already been posted, consider the horse's conformation; some horses just ain't built right! Others may be lazy, or simply inexperienced. Riding a horse like this puts a bit more onus on the rider to do the best they can to compensate in part for shortcomings the horse may have. For instance; if you know horsey does not have good impulsion, then you have to be on top of that asking for it more often. If he's not engaging his hind end, you may need to teach him how to do that. If his attention wanders a lot, resulting in him stumbling, then you have to be more attentive, learn to catch him early enough to remind him to concentrate.
Could be a physiological issue, wherein he may actually be in pain, and lifting his legs any higher increases the discomfort. Tack issues can cause or worsen this situation.

The horse may not be shod or trimmed properly; preventing a flat footfall. Some horses need a severe breakover to ensure an even transition from one step to the other; I've seen a lot of "experienced" farriers who do not know how to do this correctly, & instead just shorten the toe.

Eyesight is often overlooked because we just assume that horse can see a lot better than we can. Almost all horses are far-sighted to some degree or another, & their depth perception is less developed than ours. If the lighting or surface of the ring is uneven, they simply may not be able to navigate it smoothly because they cannot gauge where to put their feet all the time.
Thank you Michelle, Jackie, Lee and Kevan for helping me out. I really appreciate you all taking the time to respond. There is so much knowledge on this site from people who have experience that I know someone will be able to help me figure this out.

I will definitely immediately Google EPSM. He is a Friesian. He is kind of lazy but to my untrained eye he looks quite fit...... but some people who have more experience with horses have commented he is a little chubby.

I had also initially thought it might have been due to the ring needing to be harrowed but I have also ridden him when it had just been done and the result was the same. The ring has very even ground and is very well maintained.


I know the farrier comes about every 6 weeks for the shoes. I don't know Kevan maybe what you were saying is correct. How can you tell if a horse needs a severe breakover? Would you be able to tell me if I posted a picture?

I also considered that maybe it was due to his conformation but alas I am also not good with this either. I will post a picture up soon. Maybe somebody will see something that I don't or that I don't know to recognize.

In regards to eyesight I am not sure if he sees perfectly well but he is only 7.

I want to thank you all again and hopefully with a little more of your help I can figure this out eventually. I also wanted to say that I learned a lot from what you have posted so thank you.
Friesians have a naturally comfortable walk, some are more "comfortable" than others & do appear to shuffle. Their action is animated enough that few need that breakover I mentioned, but there are always exceptions, and of course no accounting for individual conformation. Pix would of course help, but watching him move might lend some clues. If you can post a video we may gain some clues. Better yet if you can catch him mid-stumble!

A few hints on trims/shoeing:
If he's barefoot, the wall should be trimmed to just a hair below the level of the sole, with the sides & quarters matching the contour of the sole; this is the natural concavity the bottom of the foot has. Never, ever trim the sole, for any reason. Trim only as much off the bars to level them with the hoof wall, no more. The toe shoudl be pulled back to just ahead of the white line, with a moderate roll at the toe. Front toes can be squared off a bit to allow for a smoother break, hinds should be rounded unless conformation dictates otherwise.

Obviously if you're trimming for a shoe, then the hoof wall needs to be flat all the way around, but the same length applies on the wall as in a barefoot trim. The roll on the fore would be replaced with a rolled shoe instead. There are a lot of breed & gait specific "specialty" shoes folks like to fiddle with, & the Friesian crowd are no exception to this curious habit, so getting into specifics on shoes would fill a book. Simple rule is; if he ain't walkin' right, look at the feet first.
Does he have a very thick forelock, and if so is it left loose when he's being ridden, or does it get braided or tucked asice in the browband? Reason I ask is I had a Morgan gelding that seemed very clumsy--he had a very thick forelock that i always left loose on his face--so one day I braided it, just to see if that was the problem, and I was amazed at just how much difference this made--no more clumsy horse.
Thank you Kevan and Mini Morgan.

I will try to post some pictures or video that could possibly help in identifying the problem on Tuesday or Thursday as this is when I will see him.

He does indeed have a long forelock that is not braided. I will try braiding it next time to see if there is a difference. I hope it is something as simple as this.
Have ur farreir look at his feet and see can he tighten them up more. I had the same problem with my horse always triping up so one day i said it to my farrier about my problem and said he would take the hoove back
another little bit andWOW the difference it made no more triping . the only thing now is i have to keep her shod every 4 weeks any longer than that and the triping starts again!!!!hope this helps best of luck.
Thank you Michael,

You are probably right.

I want to thank everybody helping me with this. I have learned a lot from my fellow barnmice members.

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