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#362899 - 12/19/10 07:46 PM Bunny Hop in Canter
Willy_Wonka Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 07/25/09
Posts: 99
Not quite sure if his belongs here but..

My horse - 10 year old paint who I have owned since a yearling.

Has for the last month or so- Or I have realized more since I have been riding him more on a regular program and he went from outdoor board to indoor (day turnout in at 3 until 8 next morning) .

Is bunny hopping in his canter. He just lifts and strikes with both feet down to go into the canter on both leads.
But on the right lead he will do it in every corner and will by the third corner switch the back then switch the front(about half way down the wall) to end up with a counter canter by himself. I am not asking for a counter canter and he does it every time. I am also very carefull to watch my body position making sure I am not accidentally asking him. I had someone else ride him to see if it is me and it is not.

Why could this be? Anyone have any clues?

Is it a health issue ? trainin? Fitness? etc.?

Thanks for you help in advance.
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#362907 - 12/19/10 08:02 PM Re: Bunny Hop in Canter [Re: Willy_Wonka]
Firefilly Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 07/21/06
Posts: 1681
Loc: Haldimand/Niagara, ON Canada
Sounds like a stifle issue or injury to me frown
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#362918 - 12/19/10 09:09 PM Re: Bunny Hop in Canter [Re: Willy_Wonka]
TrakLuv Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 07/27/06
Posts: 464
Loc: Erin, ON
My horse did the same thing a couple of weeks ago when she hurt her stifle. I second the stifle.
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#362931 - 12/19/10 10:50 PM Re: Bunny Hop in Canter [Re: Willy_Wonka]
Rehab_Lady Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 357
Loc: Whitby, ON
Could be stifle, hip, or back. I suggest you call a vet.
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#362986 - 12/20/10 10:44 AM Re: Bunny Hop in Canter [Re: Willy_Wonka]
Barncat Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 09/22/05
Posts: 2005
Loc: North of Toronto, Ontario
I also think that you're going to need a vet as this is a new behaviour. And it could quite easily be a hock problem. (Most common area in the hind end to have issues.)
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#362995 - 12/20/10 11:08 AM Re: Bunny Hop in Canter [Re: Willy_Wonka]
Willy_Wonka Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 07/25/09
Posts: 99
I figured it was somewhere in the hind end. Just had no idea where.

I think my horse likes the vet or something. She is very good to him :P
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#363120 - 12/20/10 06:39 PM Re: Bunny Hop in Canter [Re: Willy_Wonka]
Pocket_Pony Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 03/21/07
Posts: 189
yup sounds like a hock or stifle to me.
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#363621 - 12/24/10 07:48 AM Re: Bunny Hop in Canter [Re: Willy_Wonka]
cherham Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 719
Have you checked his teeth? No kidding...had a mare a few years ago doing the same thing. Worse one direction then the other...simply refused to go forward at the canter when asked for a bit of contact. We did radiographs, accupuncture, ultrasounds, chiro work, blood tests.....etc etc etc.

Finally ended up doing a full body nuclear scintigraphy examination and it showed a tooth abscess that even trained vets specializing in teeth and three of the equine clinic vets could not detect with radiographs or examination. Who would have guessed it? The horse probably thought we were crazy working on her back and legs, joints etc when the problem was actually in her mouth. Tooth gone, canter issue solved 100%. Go figure..if only they could talk. smile
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#363681 - 12/24/10 02:57 PM Re: Bunny Hop in Canter [Re: cherham]
Willy_Wonka Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 07/25/09
Posts: 99
I never would expect that in their teeth to affect their canter. Did she show any signs at the trot or walk?
We have done the saddle fit issue, the chiro, and the acupuncture but nver really thought about the teeth


Edited by Willy_Wonka (12/24/10 02:58 PM)
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#363791 - 12/25/10 06:09 PM Re: Bunny Hop in Canter [Re: Willy_Wonka]
Garnered Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 10/11/04
Posts: 634
Loc: Hamilton
My horse used to do the bunny hop at the canter every single time.
Used to frustrate the heck out of me.

He did it because he didn't have the appropriate muscle required to do what I was asking him to do.. even when it was regular canter.. nothing special.

It could just be something as simple as not having the muscle or having a sore back from the change in schedule.

Good luck figuring it out! I know how frustrating it is.
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#363801 - 12/25/10 09:07 PM Re: Bunny Hop in Canter [Re: Willy_Wonka]
mallard Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 440
Loc: Ontario
Hock or stifle.
Time for the vet!
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#363808 - 12/25/10 09:58 PM Re: Bunny Hop in Canter [Re: Willy_Wonka]
dogandponyshow Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 01/07/07
Posts: 111
Loc: burlington, ontario
My mare used to do that-bunny hop and swap hind lead. Vet checked legs, stifle etc and couldn't find anything. Kept telling me it was her attitiude and possibly arthritis. Had a chiro look at her and her back was out. One or 2 adjustments and no bunny hop. Did not show the weakness at walk or trot as they use their hind ends differently from when in canter. Good luck and I agree that it is too bad they can't talk!! Let us know how you make out.
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#363897 - 12/26/10 06:23 PM Re: Bunny Hop in Canter [Re: dogandponyshow]
Willy_Wonka Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 07/25/09
Posts: 99
Thanks everyone for your help.

Currently we are scheduling to get his teeth done in January. And if there is still no improvement we are going to get the Chiropractor in.

We had our barn owner who works closely with the vet and has seen something like this with another horse and he said it might be a little arthritis forming in his hocks.

Which when we had the acupuncturist come in she mention how the hock is the cause of it and she did acupuncture and gave us stuff to do some sweats around the hocks and knees and wipe some of the stuff on his stifles. He went well after that with a bit of hopping. She also gave us some stretches to do. Which seems to work and it just seems like the hop is in the beginning within the first few strides of the canter and then it is okay after. Just have to remember to do the sweats and stretches before I ride.
But hopefully its just a tooth and will go away completely or is just an adjustment.

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#364485 - 12/29/10 06:07 PM Re: Bunny Hop in Canter [Re: Willy_Wonka]
2ndInCommand Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 05/14/09
Posts: 150
While hock or stifle is more likely, my horse did this when his SI joint was 'out', as discovered by the chiropractor. His biggest symptom was that he couldn't hold his lead behind in the canter, and bucked as he switched back and forth every few strides.
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#368579 - 01/19/11 11:15 AM Re: Bunny Hop in Canter [Re: Willy_Wonka]
Willy_Wonka Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 07/25/09
Posts: 99
So my horse is really interesting.

So I contacted the dentist but unfortunately she is unavailable to do dentristry at this time due to the fact that the temperature is so low it's too hard for the horses to be under when its this cold. Which I fully understood so I decided to get more advice before I started spending cash everywhere.

Had the BO check him out said he needed to be worked more to develop more muscle. I said okay and have increased

So I contacted his old massage therapist who actually works with his trainer and asked her for a reputable chiro. she knew. Explained to her the situation and she offered to come out and see as she has seen this before ( with mostly paints, appaloosas and qh).

So she came out and told me that this is a riding issue.
That my horse had manipulated me to ride a certain way so he didn't have to use himself ( because structurally for him it is hard due to his long back and something else I forgot). And because he has done this to me for so long he really hasn't developed the proper muscle. She also told me that she would still give me the chiropractors number if I wanted it but she strongly believes this is a riding issue that can be worked through with the exercises she provided me and she will continue to help me until he is through with it.

He is such a bugger.
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#370620 - 01/29/11 11:56 AM Re: Bunny Hop in Canter [Re: Willy_Wonka]
Hony Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 1049
Loc: Oakville, Ontario, Canada
If your horse didn't do this before and has started doing it in the last month it's not a riding issue, it's a soreness issue. At minimum have someone flex his hocks. Swapping off is a classic indication of hock soreness. Get him checked by a vet because if it is hocks it will only get worse.
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#371048 - 01/31/11 12:16 PM Re: Bunny Hop in Canter [Re: Willy_Wonka]
Jill Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 08/17/00
Posts: 830
Loc: Mt. Pleasant, ON
My mare suddenly started having canter issues, one of which was swapping out behind. She had a urinary tract infection. Home remedy of 3 tablespoons of baking soda in her feed everyday and she was back to normal.
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#372534 - 02/06/11 09:37 PM Re: Bunny Hop in Canter [Re: Willy_Wonka]
*Sioux* Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 04/22/01
Posts: 3058
Loc: Airdrie, Ab
Our horse started doing a funny bunny hop thing in the canter as well, but in her case it seems it was a fractured splint bone. Now the last we checked it still hadn't healed and she hasn't been ridden since so we don't know if this "cured" the bunny hop, but that seems to have been the problem.
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#372992 - 02/08/11 09:59 PM Re: Bunny Hop in Canter [Re: Willy_Wonka]
Willy_Wonka Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 07/25/09
Posts: 99
I have been riding him lately, 3-4 times a week

And using the exercises the massage therapist gave me and the hops have virtually disappeared, and reduced greatly. There is still the odd one but the size of the hop is smaller and there now is no lead swapping.

Now if it was hock soreness would that just be due to a dramatic increase of exercise? ( He literally went from pretty much maybe once a week to 3-4 times a week, I know it was so bad but the barn was so far away and I had no license. Thank god for moving somewhere closer and getting my G2)
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