Stumbling Hard After Jumps

Has anyone had this happen to them and their horse? My horse has had a hard stumble after a jump three times now - about every six months. No other symptoms, although he will be seeing a neurologist in about a week and a half. The wait is hard for me and I am looking for any insight/similar experiences. Thank you!

I have no clue if this has any bearing whatsoever on your horse’s condition, but a mare I looked at purchasing stumbled badly after jumps. It turned out she had a bone chip in a front hoof-- I forget which one.

I hope your horse has nothing serious the matter with him!

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Other than extra long hooves (which seems like it would be obvious and you’ve no doubt already checked), I would think getting x-rays of his front hooves / legs would be a good idea to look for issues.

Front feet seem like an easy place to start. I’d also have cervical arthritis in the back of my mind.

Wasn’t there a thread on this recently? I don’t think it was so frequently, but the horse had some bad stumbles on the backside of fences.

It may have been mine. I made a couple other posts about different specific topics (neuro and cervical spine experiences) to see if anyone had experiences / diagnoses that seemed similar to my horse.

The only other thing I can think of is if you are riding the horse on the forehand, then it is rider error. If the horse is being ridden collected. Then I would seriously consider not jumping this horse until you find out why.

Definitely agree, I am not even flatting him until we are able to identify what is going on. Even then… I just don’t know if I will ever feel safe to jump him.

You can go to local hunter/jumper shows in the USA and watch dozens on dozens of horses going around on the forehand. None of them are having huge stumbles like this after fences. It might make the issue worse but, I highly doubt going around on the forehand would be the single/major cause. Definitely sounds like there’s something wrong with this horse, but it’s going to be hard to track down until other symptoms start to show.

I’d personally start with front feet and front legs. Neuro and neck/back would be next.


It depends on the horse’s conformation as well. In my case Pepper was conformationally woeful with a 6 foot carpet snake neck.

Coupled with a rider who had no idea about contact. Whenever anyone said more rein. I gave him more rein. It never occurred to me to take more rein as he had such a soft mouth and I was completely clueless.

All that time being ridden with his weight on his front legs. All that time with my weight on his front legs. In the cross country you could hear him thundering across the ground.

He stumbled and went down in the front in a walk on a free rein. He came up for a part of a second and flipped sideways. My helmeted head hit the ground first and he ploughed me 6 foot across the ground and I was knocked unconscious and ended up with concussion.

I was put into lessons. I learned to ride. He went across the ground in cross country as light as a feather and he never stumbled again. I owned and rode him from rising 7 until into his 30’s.

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I wanted to provide a quick update in case this helps someone else. After four days of testing, my horse was diagnosed with neurological Lyme.

He was ranked a 2.5/5 on the neurological scale, with ataxia in all four limbs, worse behind. Although he suffers from moderate to severe neck arthritis, x-rays followed by a myelogram and robotic CT ruled out any areas of compression and this was eliminated as a potential cause of his neurological deficits. Although very rare, his spinal fluid showed a WBC count 12x higher than the high end of normal, elevated protein levels, a low mast cell count, and general inflammation of the nervous system. Cancer has been ruled out, as has EPM. Further testing showed a sky-high level of Lyme’s antibodies in the spinal fluid.

He will receive IV antibiotics at New Bolton for a week and further IV treatment will be continued at home if he responds well. General prognosis and question of returning to be a riding horse is unknown.


Your horse is so lucky that he is owned by someone who listened to him enough to post on a forum and to get a vet check.

I think you as a rider are also lucky that you did listen and did not continue to jump and ride.

We do not have lyme, etc here, so zi jave no experience, however it sounds like you were heading towards a bad fall if nothing was changed.

Please update again when the treatment is over whether he can return to being ridden safely or not. I would like to know.


Glad you have a diagnosis, and jingles for a speedy recovery.

Arthritis in the neck could certainly be at least a partial contributor in the hard stumbles after fences, considering how much they use their neck for balance when jumping.
For my late gelding, neck arthritis caused him to suddenly start falling in the trailer.

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I’m glad you got a diagnosis for your horse. I’m sorry that he has an unknown future. I know the disappointment-- I loved the mare that turned out to have an enormous bone chip.