Tag Archives: jump horse too young

My horse has an odd angle to her back legs.

Good straight back legs

Good straight legs

Question: I have a 4-year-old, 17HH Dutch Warmblood mare that’s got an odd angle to her back legs. When she stands, there is a straight line from hip to hock, but then it dives in.  I want to use her for jumping, but something tells me (gut instinct) that those back legs may not take the work involved. Everyone at the barn tells me that her legs are big so there is no problem, and that I should be riding her by now. What do you think? Can I breed her?

Also, what exercises can I do to strengthen them without having to go over fences?

Answer from April Reeves: Good instincts. This appearance of a sharp angled hock is called ‘camped out’ or ‘sickle hocked’. If you were to stand the mare so that her back legs had a vertical line from top of hock to bottom of pastern, you would find that line would be pushed out behind the point of the hip. Some sickle hocked horses just stand with their back legs up and under, and some (camped out) stand with their back legs out. Sickle hocked horses tend to have too much angle to their hock joints, while ‘camped out’ back legs sit back from the hip line, with the angle more pronounced through the gaskin.

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Horse rushes and refuses jumps, and is getting worse!

Question: I have a 4 year old mare who is getting really bad and I need help NOW. She rushes jumps to the point where I can’t stop her and is now running full speed past them and refusing. My coach said that we need to practice more, and to jump her 6 days a week. We have been doing that, but she is getting worse, not better. What am I doing wrong? My coach is getting impatient with her.

Answer from April Reeves: I don’t usually answer questions like this as they make me absolutely stunned at how stupid people can be, but this one I have had in various forms lately, so sit down and listen! I’m telling it the way it is (I’m afraid to ask what age you broke her).

First Thing To Do

FIRE YOUR COACH! I’m not kidding. I am absolutely disgusted at any coach who jumps more than 2 times a week (a level 3 I might add). Do it NOW! Or that thinks it is okay to jump a 4 year old (mare jumps up to 3′ 6″).

Second Thing To Do:

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