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Old 05-05-2011, 03:50 PM   #1
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Cantering on the pavement?

At the barn there is a girl who is a bit younger than me who got a horse as a gift from her grandfather. This girl borrows the BO's horse for her friend to ride so she doesn't have to ride alone. The Boarder, I'll call her A, got a beautiful, four, almost five year old filly as a present. The girl's friend, call her L, rides a gentle 30 year old mare.
The BO refers to me as the "trainer" and that her horse, the old mare, is "mine". A couple weeks ago they told me about how they like to race on the road, full out galloping at some points. There are no trails around here so we mostly ride on the road. Now, I have no problem with a good gallop, but on the pavement?
This is dangerous for numerous reasons, but I'm worried about the health of the horses. The old mare has mild arthritis in her joints that is manageable. And the filly is still growing. What kind of damage will this do to their legs? I want a full explanation other than that it is bad because of the high impact.
I've already yelled at them about it, but I really want to scare them. The boarder gets to stay there for only $100 a month, whereas the average is $850 in my area. And the friend gets to ride the old mare for free. The old mare is in great shape, I think she will last for a few more years, but they need to take it easy with her. At this rate they could make her permanently lame, or worse.
The BO will definately want to kick them out for this. She isn't very 'horsey' which is why I'm her encyclopedia of knowledge. She only cares about the health of the horses.
There is no other horse that L could ride, only a couple minis. And the deal was that A would board there so that L could ride with her. There is no where else that they could get this deal. I will bring it up with the BO soon, but she will want a full explanation of why this is such a problem.
Sorry that this is a bit of a rant as well, I'm just so angry with their insolence.
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Old 05-05-2011, 04:18 PM   #2
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Yeah a full gallop on a paved road can be dangerous for numerous reasons, one being (I am assuming these horses are shod) pavement can act like ice and increase the risks of slipping or falling.
Another is the high impact like you already mentioned. I bought a 15 year old QH gelding a long time ago that had 'bumps' on his feet and legs. Upon further reading I discovered he had whats called ringbone which is a calcification on the bone that can be caused by hard riding or excessive riding on 'paved road' (qoute from the book)

Don't be the rider who gallops all night and never sees the horse that is beneath him ~ Jelaluddin Rumi
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Old 05-05-2011, 04:30 PM   #3
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Some of my worst falls on horses were from cantering on pavement. One time, I just turned into someone's driveway and the horse fell with me - definitely not cantering.

The occasional run on hard pavement would not hurt the horse that much, IMO - more the danger of falling with the horse.
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Old 05-05-2011, 04:43 PM   #4
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Learned the hard way many years ago when I thought I was a great rider (teenage years) and was constantly cantering a horse I was leasing on the side of the shoulder along the road.

End result was a horse that came up severely lame with popped splints--this was a pleasure show horse=beautiful palomino mare. I learned very quickly the seriousness of what I had done.

Not to mention possible stress fractures, falling, ringbone (we have a retired Standie off the track who has severe ringbone -a result of the years on the hard racetrack-- he is a pasture pal to our other 2 Standies who fortunately are rideable.

I would definately without any hesitation tell the BO-today!! These girls do NOT deserve the opportunity to ride these horses==I shudder to think of how sore those poor horses must be. This pounding will also aggravate any arthritis the old mare has as well--she has probably earned an easier retirement than this.

I don't know how old these girls are--I learned a long time ago tho that just because you can gallop a horse and stay on doesn't mean you are a good rider--if in the event this is what is going on with these girls. It is a true horse person who takes into consideration all that is happening with the horse's health and well being-not how much fun they can have at the horses expense.

Tell the BO ASAP and keep these girls off the horses until they learn some proper care and riding of horses. Sorry for my rant...

Last edited by whistler49; 05-05-2011 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 05-05-2011, 05:13 PM   #5
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They may not know any better; if they knew better they likely wouldn't have told you.

Be sure that the BO educates them (or has you do it) in a way that makes them truely understand and not just feel the need to hide their galloping from you.

Faking that the old horse is lame for a bit may make them realize the risk they were taking with her health/soundness and that it will have reprocussions for them if/when she gets hurt.

I hope the BO has liability waivers and has clear rules/dos and do nots to guide these kids before they get hurt and she gets sued.
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Old 05-05-2011, 05:16 PM   #6
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last year "Bratt Jack" shied into the road in front of a truck and we went down hard. Truck stopped in time but the poor guy's face was white as a sheet.
I would stand up for the horses, you are the knowledgable one of the bunch. Nicely tell the girls one fall on the blacktop will likely do the old mare in and at least put the pretty filly out of comission for a while. Maybe they don't know?
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Old 05-05-2011, 05:40 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the responses. The horses are not shod, they have good feet and there has never been a need to. I don't know if they've done it since I yelled at them, I assume that they have though. They definately know better, it seems they care more about their own enjoyment at that very moment than having a good horse for years to come.
We've been meaning to update the rule book, for a while it was just me and the BO, so there was no need. BO will be informed tomorrow, I'd rather do it in person than over the phone.
Great idea EquineAlberta, will keep them from riding for a few weeks. The BO actually grounded them from riding a couple months ago for not cooling out the horses properly.
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Old 05-05-2011, 06:13 PM   #8
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Agree with everything said here ... and as an added tidbit, just in case they give you any trouble about mounted police officers riding on pavement regularly - mounted officers use special shoes for that kind of work.

And then of course, there was also the riderless horse at that wedding last week ... some say that was started wtiha bit of a shy, but then a slip on the pavement.
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Old 05-05-2011, 07:09 PM   #9
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Want to scare the pants of them? Let them know that the old girl could have a heart attack and if she does she will drop like a ton of rocks and god help the rider. The horse is too old to be galloping like that. I know, it happened to a young lady in my area. She had just asked her 31yrold horse for an extended trot and down he went. He blew the main aorta where it enters the heart.
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Old 05-05-2011, 07:24 PM   #10
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Laminitis- aka road founder- can happen just from one good run on pavement. One joy ride could mean laminitis- not worth it- not to mention all of the previous reasons. I also had a very bad fall on the highway with my horse-thank god neither of us were hit by a car. its one of the last things ill ever do with a horse. way too risky and not worth it. show them/teach them what laminitis is and the seriousness involved (coffin bone/lamine disconnect and rotate-its a scary thing!) hopefully that'll scare them out of it- if not I would not let them ride off property without supervision. they can be as upset as they want to be-the horse comes first.
Proud parent of Sassy , 20 y/o TB Mare , and Spirit , 8 y/o TWH Gelding, Finally, Mika , 4 y/o QH mare .
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:25 PM   #11
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An HT member died when her horse slipped & fell on pavement.
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Old 05-05-2011, 09:01 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by dixiesmom View Post
An HT member died when her horse slipped & fell on pavement.
Gosh, I almost forgot about that!

RIP Stephanie, a.k.a. QuartersAllTheWay.
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Old 05-06-2011, 12:57 PM   #13
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Geeze! A gallop? I won't even let my girl trot on the pavement (or prance, that's her version of a compromise ). I also am not a huge fan of parades. I was at one once up in the hills near Yosemite when a beautiful black stud (luckily without rider) spooked, started backing, his back feet found the edge of a long steep driveway and lost his footing. Horse slid down with owner in tow on the other end of the lead. Luckily neither were hurt, but the hill was so steep they couldn't get the horse back up it to finish the parade because he kept slipping back. They finally had to bring a trailer down and load him into it. It was quite the ordeal!

Anyway, not only is it dangerous, but you can remind them they've been lucky thus far. Each time they go out could be their horses last ride. One wrong step and that beautiful filly could turn into a beautiful pasture ornament or worse.

Maybe showing them what laminitis looks like could be a good visual aid
Little Miss Goldie Fox a.k.a. Diamond Girl AQHA
two happy little Chi's & wife to an Airman

"Loving horses isn't just about loving the animal, but loving the commitment that comes with it"
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Old 05-06-2011, 01:45 PM   #14
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I had a pavement incident when I was 16. I always rode on the gravel roads, but there was some large farm machinery coming my way, so I had to get well off the road. I didn't realize that the driveway I directed her into was freshly paved (it had been gravel 2 days before) and she went down. We were both really lucky that the worst we came away with was bruising - me more than her because she rolled on my leg. I felt so guilty for putting her into a dangerous situation.
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Old 05-06-2011, 02:54 PM   #15
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Riding on the pavement is very dangerous. My friend and I did it as a kid ran a six mile windy road that if a car came would of killed us and the horses .I would never ride on pavement now I don't even let my kds walk the horses on pavement.

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.
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