I've got a 10 year old, 15.1 hand, Iberian Percheron cross gelding named Malachi who doesn't seem to be very body-aware. I can get to his feet; he does very well with the Buck Brannaman ground work (moves very lightly when I get him focused ect.) I've read through the Knowledge Base articles, watched Buck's 7 Clinics DVDs, and started on the new Melanie Smith-Taylor book. We've also done some pedestal work and he's an expert smilier.
But despite all of these improvements, he still tends to run into things under saddle and when he's turned out. When I'm riding, for example, he'll aim at a jump standard or a tree when I ask for trot. We still have work to do on steering, but he exhibits clumsiness even when he's turned out. I was beginning to wonder if he has poor vision or if he has the worst self-preservation skills of any horse we've ever met. He's even injured himself several times by running into things when he was loose.
I just wanted to know if you could suggest any different exercises or maybe more readings that could give me tools to help him care about where he's going. Or is this just innate clumsiness that can't be sorted out?
Taylor, the very first thing I'd suspect is a vision problem. But it might be any number of other neurologically-related problems. You need to make an appointment with a vet who is knowledgeable in this area and let him perform a complete examination. Once those results are back, you will probably be able to make a sensible plan. -- Dr. Deb