Q: My young Thoroughbred came off the track at the end of last year. He often trips during schooling and I’m just wondering what might be causing this? He has quite flat feet.

Asked by Bianca de Silva

A: When horses are tripping, it is important to first rule out any injuries, neurological problems, lameness issues and foot pain.

Flat feet can be associated with under-run heels, a long toe or both. This affects the horse’s way of going, whereby breakover is delayed, potentially causing him to trip. It can be dangerous to ride a horse who stumbles continuously, so have a chat with your farrier to try and resolve the problem as best you can. If he is shod, ask your farrier about the possibility of lightweight shoes, but remember that no amount of shoeing will fix the problem unless the hooves are trimmed correctly first. There is also the possibility that your TB is still trying to establish his balance in a different training method. It might be a good idea to do some groundwork and balance exercises with him, accompanied by the corrective farriery work to get him on the right track. Try and keep to riding him on shallower surfaces for now. Avoid riding on gravel and slippery ground. Be patient as it takes a while for hooves to change shape.

If you see no improvement with the farriery, contact your vet for another opinion.