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What Causes A Horse To Hitch Behind?

Updated: Mar 13, 2023

Hitching behind is occasionally caused by an unbalanced hind foot, but it is usually caused by an unbalanced front foot. The front foot on the side where the horse steps short behind will be found to be the offending member in most cases. The heel of this foot is very apt to be too high. It may measure no more by calipers, but by observing from the side as the horse is led past it will probably be seen that the heel and toe do not strike relatively the same to the ground as they as they do in the case of the other foot; probably the heel of the offending member comes to the ground relatively too quickly, which means that the stride is short with that foot.

If the length wise balance is correct, stand directly in front of the animal as he is led toward you and you may find that there is a wrong lateral balance to the foot, which perhaps is not shortening the stride but is causing the animal to take more time in making the stride on that foot than the other, owing to the fact that the outside of the foot to the ground, whereas the inside does not come to the ground until forced there by the weight of the animal.

Either of these conditions may easily be the cause of hitching or going rough behind, the animal acquiring the habit in an effort to avoid quarter-cutting or scalping.

By remedying the unbalanced condition of the offending member and driving slow until the horse recovers his confidence there will be no further trouble.

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