Training One Over At the Knees

by Dana Hokana | November 7th, 2011 7:00 PM | No Comments

Q. Hi Dana,

I have a yearling that is over at the knees. I plan to start training him myself next year. I have attached a photo of him. He is able to lock his knees in at times and look just about normal, other times he clearly stands over. He will be 2 in February.  With him being over at the knees should I be waiting till he is a late 2, like next fall to start riding him? If I start riding him in April, will that hurt his knees? Due to his over at the knee problem, would you recommend I get him x-rayed first to see if they have closed up before getting on him? Also are there any exercises that I could do to help his knees get stronger (or less over and straighter) when I do start riding him?

Thanks, Cindy

A.  Hello Cindy,

Your yearling colt looks really pretty.  I like the fact that he looks strong over the loin, I have found that most horses that are strong over the loin are stronger lopers with the ability to have a lot of lift.  He also looks pretty in the head and neck.

As far as your colt being over at the knee, I have had some good show horses that were over at the knee and they did great.  They had long careers and I had good success with them.  I did a lot of exercises to encourage lift and collection and a lot of medium trotting to encourage them to really reach and use themselves.

I really encourage you to ask a vet that you really trust his opinion about when to start him and how much to work him.  My beliefs are to do what you can to promote longevity in your horse.

I hesitate to give you any recommendations as to when to start your colt or specific exercises for him without you first talking to your veterinarian.  Let me know what your vet says and when you start him and I can definitely give you more exercises.

Good luck to you,


About the Author

Dana Hokana is one of the top female trainers in the Quarter Horse industry, and currently operates Dana Hokana Quarter Horses in Temecula, California. Raised in Southern California, she has had a lifelong love for horses. Dana has trained multiple Western Pleasure circuit champions, winners at major futurities, and horses who have placed in the top ten in Western Pleasure at both the All American Quarter Horse Congress and the AQHA World Championship Show. Riding her own stallion, Invested Dimension, she captured an AQHA Reserve World Championship title in Senior Western Pleasure.

Dana’s DVD series entitled “The Winning Strides Series,” is designed to educate horse owners and riders from the basics of horse handling and horsemanship, to competing at high levels in the show arena. Skilled at teaching in an encouraging, relaxed, non-intimidating way, she carries these traits into the instruction in her video series. Dana will be a featured clinician at the Mane Event in Red Deer, Alberta, and has spoken at the Equine Affaire in Pomona, California and was a clinician at the Equine Affaire in Massachusetts and Columbus, Ohio, focusing on topics from grooming to western pleasure.

Now is your chance to have your questions answered by Dana! Just submit your question using the comment section below or the email link, and she will respond to select questions in future posts.

Leave a Reply