Cross firing

By Kayleen Sullivan

What is cross firing?

Refers to the diagonal interference of the legs when the horse is working at a fast pace although cross-firing is sometimes evident at slower paces.


The right hind foot hits the inside of the left front leg in the area or the knee, or the diagonal front leg hits the inside of the hind leg, usually at the hock.

Can Lead to Injury


  • Diagonal interference of the legs with the right hind leg/foot hitting the inside of the left front, or the diagonal front leg hitting the inside of the hind of the hind leg.
  • Wounds to the legs where the diagonal leg/hoof hits the other leg/hoof.


  • It means that the horse is on two leads: the front two legs are on one lead while the back two legs are on the opposite lead instead of moving in a synchronized way.
  • Lack of balance and muscle control are the main reason for cross-firign which may occur either occasionally or consistently.
  • May be the result of pain from injury, improper alignment of the hore's body, imporoper shoeing or saddle fit, poor or abusice riding skills on the part of the handler, and/or improper training of the horse.