Performance Problems

As riders and owners there are times when you may ask yourself,

"Does My Horse  Have a Problem or Experiencing Discomfort?"

If in doubt get your horse checked out. If there is nothing wrong with your horse, there is no charge.



  • after the winter months when there is lots of mud. Due to mud, horses walk in a different way which puts strain on there body, especially the back and shoulder muscles.

  • after a period of lameness due to a stone bruise or joint pain/strain.

  • after an accident, even if the horse appears normal. In some cases it can take a few weeks before symptoms surface.

  • when your horse looses its cover in the paddock and straps are broken or is found with cover around the neck.

  • after major dental work or when the teeth are sharp or jaw has been out of alignment.

  • under a badly fitting saddle.

  • at the end of the season before you turn the horse out. Insures that the horse is pain free and can have a good holiday.

  • when the ground is hard a horse can jar up and become sore in the muscles.


  • nervous look in the eye, or a look of pain.

  • unusual behaviour.

  • suddenley difficult to catch. 

  • rub marks from the saddle

  • cannot put on weight, (pain or digestion problem)

  • loss of condition, (pain).

  • temperment change.

  • weight loss - this may be a restriction in the poll or jaw.

  • swelling on the back and withers after riding.

  • rub marks on the hair at the back of the saddle, especially in the winter,(saddle may be too wide and rocking around on the back). 


  • resting the same leg all the time.

  • does your horse snarl and lay back his ears when he sees you coming with your favourite saddle ?

  • standing with the feet out the front and out the back.

  • when urinating, one back leg when stretching out behind or weight on the toe not the heel.

  • biting when the girth is done up - (check the saddle fit)

  • difficulty doing a belly lift, (thoracic lift, run pen under the tummy to see if the back will lift up.

  • muscle tying up problems.

  • difficulty picking up a back leg - (also check selenium levels)



  • starts out stiff and frees up with movement.

  • difficulty walking up and down hills, (Check saddle fit and that gullet place is secure).

  • shaking the withers - (check the saddle and cover fit)

  • bucking, (spring grass or pain).

  • rearing or doing half rears and spinning in a circle.

  • coming behind and above the bit.

  • feeling like you are not sitting straight in the saddle.

  • stumbling in front and behind.

  • reluctant to back up or cannot back up, (check for stifle pain)

  • head tilting - (check the teeth).

  • difficulty bending in one direction or at all.

  • changing leads behind in canter especially on a circle,(pelvis or inside hindleg pain, shoeing levels out).

  • not wanting to pick up the correct canter lead.

  • wanting to go with a low head carriage most of the time.

  • going on the forehand.

  • hollowing the back when riding or a cold back.

  • not going forward, especially on one rein.

  • lameness.

  • uneven gait or shortened stride.

  • problem lengthening and shortening of stride.

  • falling in on a circle, (tight inside back muscles).

  • falling outwards on a circle.

  • jaw tension, munching on the bit - (check the teeth).

  • not rolling in the paddock or not rolling all the way over.

  • have a high head carriage or an over developed ewe neck. The head raises in order to hollow his sore back.

  • over reach or strike the heels with his hind shoes.

  • starts his ride calmly but becomes agitated as ride proceeds.

  • resists flexion to one or both sides, as the saddle panels are too close to his spine.

  • cold backed, back sinks when mounting.

  • does not want to pick up canter leads both ways.

  • stretching front legs out in front when saddled or girthed.


  • jumping flat.

  • refusing or running out.

  • jumping with the head up.