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Starsnstripes
Aug. 7, 2009, 12:15 AM
I have a nice young horse that has real trouble striking off in the trot and canter to the left. He's willing enough to do both but is very crooked in his first couple of steps - throws his head and neck to the outside and his shoulder to the inside. I have tried placing poles on the ground, asking for the transitions in both corners and on the straight, I have tried using an opening rein on the inside and lifting the inside rein up while keeping steady with the outside rein and using a strong inside leg and, so far, he remains crooked. He's a big guy - 16'2" and about 1350lbs - and he's wearing me out! He goes in a french mouth snaffle and plain nose band. To the right he doesn't have these issues. Any tips or suggestions would be appreciated. (I've had horses in the past that were better in one direction but with time I was always able to sort things out. I'm older now - past 55 - and want to make this as easy for him - and me! - as possible!)

goeslikestink
Aug. 7, 2009, 02:53 AM
I have a nice young horse that has real trouble striking off in the trot and canter to the left. He's willing enough to do both but is very crooked in his first couple of steps - throws his head and neck to the outside and his shoulder to the inside. I have tried placing poles on the ground, asking for the transitions in both corners and on the straight, I have tried using an opening rein on the inside and lifting the inside rein up while keeping steady with the outside rein and using a strong inside leg and, so far, he remains crooked. He's a big guy - 16'2" and about 1350lbs - and he's wearing me out! He goes in a french mouth snaffle and plain nose band. To the right he doesn't have these issues. Any tips or suggestions would be appreciated. (I've had horses in the past that were better in one direction but with time I was always able to sort things out. I'm older now - past 55 - and want to make this as easy for him - and me! - as possible!)

read this link and all of pages one and links on that page as its all relevent
http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum/showthread.php?t=178116
2nd - look at your self
as the answer is in your question----- in your brackets

give as in you give on your strongest side and horse will even up on the opposite side
hes a young un balanced horse and needs to learn to go forwards and striaght
cant go trotting and cantering until you have balance in walk, then in trot the in canter
the horse needs to learn to use himself.
and this is a common rider error some horses do favour oneside to the other but people can make that worse by favouring the same side, so they have to learn to give as in you give so the horse becomes straight and the other common thing that peeps do is to work the better side longer than the worse side so horse then works better in one way than the other

Rusty Stirrup
Aug. 7, 2009, 08:05 AM
goeslikestink is right. Most young horses do this. Balance, fitness, practice + time.

slc2
Aug. 7, 2009, 08:51 AM
Have an instructor help you. People often get tense when they know there is a problem and tend to block the solution and even do the opposite of what's needed. Have an instructor show you what to change in your riding...and put away the poles....

Longe your horse to the left with the left side rein a little shorter so he is bent in the proper direction - if he is bent in the wrong direction, he will pick up the wrong lead, so you may also have to bend him using short gentle actions on the longe line. Ask him to canter. If he picks up the wrong lead, gently bring him to a trot (as quickly as possible) and ask again. Encourage him and be kind, and emphasize forward motion.

Horses who don't pick up the correct lead are typically throwing their shoulder or hip in the wrong direction right in the moment of the change, ie, away from the lead. SOmetimes it happens very quickly right in the moment of the transition, but usually there is a position correction you can do long before the transition. If it is only right in the moment of the transition you have to ride it very well.

Usually, the problem is basic - the horse doesn't have a connection to the bit (contact) and is somewhat crooked all the time, and when the transition is asked for, the crookedness and lack of connection (not really 100% pushing out to the bridle, but behind the contact) is more obvious, at that point, he CAN throw his shoulder or hip to the outside...often the problem is a lack of connection on the outside (right) rein and often it is the left lead they don't get because there is less of a connection on the right rein.

Correcting the basic problems always corrects the transition.

Work on leg yields toward the right can help to give the rider the idea of getting more contact on the right side, if that's the problem. Usually, even if that isn't the problem, correct work on leg yields in both directions helps to supple the horse so the transition is improved. When you can leg yield, you can also keep control of the shoulder and hip so they don't fly to tthe outside during the transition.

goeslikestink
Aug. 7, 2009, 11:56 AM
what book did that come from slc2 considering you dont even know how to lunge a pony
or long rein one

op- agree with rusty strirrup to, you cant ask a horse to bend if hes not balanced and working young horses on circles be lunge or rounded penned only puts extra strains and stresses on undelevoped legs and mussles

Rooty
Aug. 7, 2009, 02:25 PM
Get the horse in shoulder-fore position before the transition and maintain a good outside rein connection during the transition. If you are anything like me, I have a tendency to give the outside rein when the horse swings the shoulder out, so I REALLY concentrate on not doing that. Why oh why do I want to do the exact opposite of what I should I do not know.:D
Like someone else said it will take developing balance and time, time, time.

Valentina_32926
Aug. 7, 2009, 04:29 PM
You stated "...has real trouble striking off in the trot and canter to the left. He's willing enough to do both but is very crooked in his first couple of steps - throws his head and neck to the outside and his shoulder to the inside.

Block shoulder from popping right using inside thigh and positioning horse into shoulder fore (SF).

For SF (Think inside HIP to outside rein)
1. be certain you are using inside leg AT girth,
2. outside leg slightly behind girth LIKE A WALL but not pushing just blocking (or you get haunches in),
3. 99% of rein contact on outside rein.

If he turns his head outside use MORE inside leg. If you must use inside rein just use once (squeeze) then release do not hold.

You maye have to ride in SF for a long time until he is evenly strengthened on both sides of his body.

slc2
Aug. 7, 2009, 06:46 PM
If a horse suddenly has a change in behavior or is suddenly getting upset about being asked to do something under saddle, he may very well have pain. However, not every training problem is due to pain. And pain usually has a lot of other symptoms - how the horse moves on the longe line, in his stall, even how he 'gets over' in his stall when asked to do so, how he moves in the paddock, how he sleeps, how he lies down and gets up, how he appears when being mounted, in those first few steps away from the mounting block, etc.

twofatponies
Aug. 7, 2009, 07:02 PM
I am not a 100% dressage person, but I do have a mare who came with some pretty funky crookedness. I've worked with her differently on each side to help improve it, and it has helped a lot. She has more trouble bending to the right, so, for example, I do my first trot work to the left, warming up in big figures. Then when I switch to go to the right, I start out with a couple big figures (on the track, or big circles) and then add in some spirals, smaller circles, etc. to help her strengthen and use her right hind more effectively. I often then do the first canter work to the right, so the "using the right hind effectively" stuff is still fresh in her mind, then do a little to the left, and then do a little more trot or canter work to the right.

At the walk I spend some time on the right doing spirals or shoulder fore, whereas on the left I just focus on straightness, even keeping a feeling of straightness, not bend, through turns, as she bends *too* much to the left.

Anyway, just some suggestions of things that have worked for me.