PDA

View Full Version : Heavy on Left Rein



nsh
Oct. 21, 2011, 11:26 AM
Any suggestions on what I might be doing to cause my horse to be heavy on my left rein? He is heavy whether the left is on the inside or outside and if the left is on the inside he has a crick/slight bend to the outside. Even with the bend, he does not want contact with the outside rein.

Keg-A-Bacchus
Oct. 21, 2011, 12:43 PM
My horse had a similar problem once. Do you notice you collapse your seat to one side or the other? My horse was asymmetrical along his back muscles so it caused me to "fall in a hole" when he would bring his opposite hind backward. This caused him to brace on the left rein. He reflocked my saddle so it lifted me outb of the hole and sat me level. Problem instantly solved. Now my horse could start developing that muscle and we had the fitter come out monthly to slowly take the extra flocking out of that side as his muscle developed. After 3 months he was symmetrical on his own, the saddle was back to even flocking and my horse was straight and even on both reins! It was quite amazing!

mbm
Oct. 21, 2011, 12:59 PM
all horses are naturally heavy on one rein. over time we aim to develop them so that heaviness disappears.

the reason why they are heavy is that they are stiff on one side and dont step up evenly into the contact.

a very good trainer will help you. if you cant afford a trainer there are books you can read but nothing will work as well as educated eyes on the ground.

mvp
Oct. 21, 2011, 04:51 PM
2.5 possible causes:

1) Horseling is weaker in his left hind. He's moving himself along with his left foreleg.

1.5) You are weaker and/or less dextrous in your left hand. In effect, this kind of rider has made the horse "less educated" on the left side of his mouth. To make this more complicated, it may be that you are crooked, too.

2) Your left leg is weaker.

Notice how much of this comes from his hind end and your body?-- nothing to do with hand at all.

How to tell the difference?

IME, the horse who is willing to travel straight (not asking for anything special from behind) and who still feels heavy or unresponsive in your left hand has been ridden by some very right-handed people. The horse whose hiney is harder to move sideways from your left leg is the one who is weaker there or who has been ridden by a right-sided person for a while.

Hope this helps.

luchiamae
Oct. 21, 2011, 09:01 PM
You may need to counter-flex to have him more straighter and less heavy.

mbm
Oct. 21, 2011, 09:08 PM
unequal rein pressure is 99.9% of the time about the horse being not straight.

the entire point of dressage is to straighten the horse and get them supple, balanced etc.

just work the training scale with a competent trainer and your horse will come more even in the contact.

fiddling with the reins (beyond giving on the heavier rein) wont get you the result you want.

KatieH
Oct. 21, 2011, 09:32 PM
I've been dealing with this recently with my young horse - a combination of massage (he was sore through the poll and left shoulder, wanted to take left rein all the time) and counterflexion so that he HAD to make contact with the outside rein in both directions has really helped.

mbm
Oct. 21, 2011, 11:57 PM
how does counter flexion help the horse learn to carry weight evenly behind bend evenly side to side and step thru evenly?

because uneven contact is the symptom of that disease ;)

luchiamae
Oct. 22, 2011, 08:14 AM
If you counter-flex he can't lean on the outside rein. Which is what I was assuming was going as we weren't given video or photos of the rider and horse in action.

It's not very often, but sometimes it's not the rider. Mostly it is (definitely agree with that), but sometimes its not :)

nhwr
Oct. 22, 2011, 09:22 AM
Check his teeth.

mbm
Oct. 22, 2011, 01:09 PM
ok, so while it may be possible for the teeth to be out, for the horse to need a chiro, and the rider may very well be crooked, ALL horses are crooked to one degree to another, and the ENTIRE point of dressage is to straighten the horse and make him even poll to tail and side to side. (this is why straightness is in the training scale and why steinbrecht said "ride your horse forward and make him straight"

the only cure that will be long lasting and effective is correct training. period.

it isnt difficult to work thru this but you need to understand that the horses body is much like ours... it uses its body in the easiest way possible unless there is a reason to do otherwise.

think how hard it would be for most folks to one day start writing with the opposite hand. this is, in effect, what you are expecting of your horse if you expect him to have even contact from the get go.

correct, progressive development will correct this. it is just basic, correct training.

the one other thing i will add if that you never pull or fiddle on heavy rein , you GIVE on it until the contact is even..... even if that means the horse does neck bend as a result.... as long as you are working the BODY of the horse correctly you will see results.

nhwr
Oct. 22, 2011, 01:29 PM
When a horse is heavy on one rein in both directions, it is likely to be something more than a strength issue.

mbm
Oct. 22, 2011, 02:09 PM
no. a horse will be heavy on one rein no matter what direction because it is the hind leg that is weak.

really, it is all there is any standard theory book.

BaroquePony
Oct. 22, 2011, 02:10 PM
Yeah, like rider issue?

mbm
Oct. 22, 2011, 02:13 PM
? even if you have a perfect even rider most horses are born crooked.

i am not sure why this is just a controversial comment? sure, it may be the rider (and i said so) but even IF it is the rider, they still need to give on teh heavy rein and work the horse via the scales.

correct training (of horse and rider ) is the cure.

BaroquePony
Oct. 22, 2011, 02:36 PM
Yes, most horses are born crooked. If the rider actually is in the correct position, the horse miraculously becomes un-crooked. Just don't over do it.

BaroquePony
Oct. 22, 2011, 02:37 PM
mbm, you are basically right, sometimes I just cannot muster up the patience.

mbm
Oct. 22, 2011, 02:46 PM
: ) i am not right, the dudes that spent their lives working and refining and passing the info down to us mere mortals are the ones that are right... me i am just mimicking what they taught me via books and my long suffering trainer ! lol!

OP: if you post vid or pics it will help. if you dont want to do that maybe send a link to some folks via PM.

mjhco
Oct. 22, 2011, 07:52 PM
: ) i am not right, the dudes that spent their lives working and refining and passing the info down to us mere mortals are the ones that are right... me i am just mimicking what they taught me via books and my long suffering trainer ! lol!

OP: if you post vid or pics it will help. if you dont want to do that maybe send a link to some folks via PM.

How many horses that are heavy in one rein or the other have you ridden /trained? You speak with such authority I just have to ask. Thanks for your response.

alterhorse
Oct. 22, 2011, 08:01 PM
Any suggestions on what I might be doing to cause my horse to be heavy on my left rein? He is heavy whether the left is on the inside or outside and if the left is on the inside he has a crick/slight bend to the outside. Even with the bend, he does not want contact with the outside rein.

Arrange to be observed by a trainer who understand the biomechanical relationship between horse and rider. Then follow their suggestions.

mbm
Oct. 22, 2011, 08:04 PM
How many horses that are heavy in one rein or the other have you ridden /trained? You speak with such authority I just have to ask. Thanks for your response.

?? all horses are uneven to one degree or another. the entire point of dressage is to straighten the horse so they carry evenly behind, etc.

therefore, every horse i have ever ridden was crooked to one degree or another. that isn't a big deal. the big deal is : was i able to work them so they were more even and the answer to that is - yes.

(and before you ask - i have ridden since i was 6 - and i am now approached close to 44 years of riding - i have ridden many many horses.... ;))
but i didnt make up all this stuff - it is just standard dressage theory german style that any good trainer can teach you.

kinnip
Oct. 22, 2011, 08:25 PM
Yes, most horses are born crooked. If the rider actually is in the correct position, the horse miraculously becomes un-crooked. Just don't over do it.
Don't know that I'd call it 'miraculous', but a correct and balanced position paired with correctly executed gymnastics (and flexions, if you're game) do produce a horse that is even and straight within a handful of rides. It ain't magic, but it also ain't a long term investment. Any trainer worth their salt should be able to get a horse moving evenly pretty quickly. The actual muscle development takes a little longer, thus the caveat "don't over do it". This is not rocket science!!! Would you give a personal trainer the Nobel Prize?

nhwr
Oct. 22, 2011, 11:09 PM
So ok don't check anything, read and all problems will be solved, according to the German system.

In the rest of the world, things might be different.

BaroquePony
Oct. 22, 2011, 11:18 PM
Things go better sometimes when educated riders train the green horses and educated horses train the green riders.

Then everybody's muscles get off to an easier start.

I know that doesn't resolve American inginuity on horseback, sometimes one longs for a more efficient system so that the glitches are more satisfying to resolve.

nhwr
Oct. 23, 2011, 12:06 AM
Don't disagree, BP.
But equine biomechanics suggest that a horse that is compensating in both directions probably has something (beyond normal one sidedness) going on.

Might be a physical issue on the part of the rider, might be a physical issue on the part of the horse, might be something else.

"Correct training" even if one can agree on what that is, doesn't necessarily cure everything.

BaroquePony
Oct. 23, 2011, 12:19 AM
It is really hard to tell though because some riders have a death grip originating from their strong side.

None of that can be fixed by the chiro, the massage therapist or the acupuncturist.

I have seen many damaged horses from poor riding over extended periods of time.

Or, it could definately be something wrong with the horse.

lstevenson
Oct. 24, 2011, 03:38 AM
I agree that heaviness in one rein is always a sign that the horse is crooked. Part of the definition of straightness in the horse is equal loading of the hind legs. Which puts the horse evenly into both reins.

OP, I will temporarily open up one of my articles on this subject. Hope it helps!

http://www.myvirtualeventingcoach.com/articles/the_quality_of_the_contact



http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com
Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Virtual-Eventing-Coach/121366797928434)

cadance
Oct. 24, 2011, 01:54 PM
I agree that heaviness in one rein is always a sign that the horse is crooked. Part of the definition of straightness in the horse is equal loading of the hind legs. Which puts the horse evenly into both reins.


agreed, I just recently went through this problem, and it is definitely a straightness issue, idk how anyone could say otherwise. now she's finding other ways to avoid loading the hind end..hah

BaroquePony
Oct. 24, 2011, 02:06 PM
I am one of those that doesn't believe that horse's actually hunt for ways to evade. I think they evade because we are not riding correctly. They evade to avoid discomfort as best they can with all of that *gear* (bit, noseband of varying degrees of pleasantly ok to extreme bondage, bridle, saddle, rider) on.

Forte
Oct. 24, 2011, 04:31 PM
Agree with MBM on this one. I've never met a horse that wasn't stronger on one rein than the other. One of the major goals of dressage training is to make the horse straighter and equally supple/strong on both sides so that the horse becomes more even in the contact. First of all, make sure that you are sitting straight and the saddle is in the middle of the horse's back. It's very tempting when the horse is heavy on the left rein to constantly pull, fiddle, supple, niggle with the left rein in an attempt to make the horse lighter on that side. In my experience, what usually works better is to concentrate on getting the horse horse to take more contact on the light/hollow side ( in this case the right side). Concentrate on pushing your horse in a solid right rein connection, rather than thinking so much about the left. Also, any exercise that activates the left hind leg is going to make the left rein lighter. Shoulder-in left is going to be your friend here (as long as it is correctly ridden) as it will drive the left hind under the horse's body and push him into your right rein connection, therefore making him lighter in your left rein. If you are not far enough along in your training to do shoulder in, leg yield off the left leg can be helpful too. You can try doing "nose to the wall " leg yield off of your left leg and really think about pushing him into the right rein.

BaroquePony
Oct. 24, 2011, 04:45 PM
Horses are crooked, just like people in their being one-sided or the other, but focusing on the horse rather than the rider is usually not going to give the best results.

SisterToSoreFoot
Oct. 24, 2011, 05:50 PM
Yep, a straightness issue, and often a rider issue, too. It can be a cycle...horse is crooked...rider gets heavy/crooked to try to fix it...horse gets more crooked...and so on.

OP, try riding another horse. If that horse gets heavy on the same rein, you'll know its you. If it doesn't, you'll get the mental/physical picture of a straighter horse, and it will help you straighten your horse.

I don't know how many times I've thought "my horse has X problem" and then I get on another horse and sure enough! X problem! The common denominator was ME!

Schatzi09
Oct. 25, 2011, 12:29 PM
I had this same issue crop up with my 4th level horse. Although hers got bad overnight. Turns out she had some serious chiro issues that, once corrected, the left rein heaviness went away. If this is something that happened overnight, then check for pain issues. If this has been an ongoing problem, then follow mbm's advice!

nsh
Oct. 25, 2011, 01:29 PM
1) I have no doubt the reason behind him not being straight is me. Based on comments I really examined my riding through feeling what I was doing. I am sitting heavier on my left seat bone than my right (both directions). I am right handed and my right side is the stronger side. I used to collapse, but I've been working very hard on centered riding and feel that my core is stronger and more stable. I'm a classic type A personality and I noticed I was holding tension. I started pinpointing my tension and letting that go. My legs actually became longer and softer. I think I'm holding tension in my elbows as well. I will start becoming more aware about my weight distribution and see what happens. I have a wonderful horse and his issues are a reflection of me. everytime I've fixed myself... the results show immediately by his stride, suspension, and contact. Luckily he doesn't hold on to my bad habits and is very happy to work with me.

2) I'm having the saddle fitter out thursday.

3) I'm taking a 5 day clinic with Erik Hebermann starting Friday.

4) I do work with an instructor who had me flex my horse to the outside. The result was the crick in the neck issue, where he was still able to avoid the outside rein. I agree with other posters, if I don't fix the problem 'me', counter flexing will not address the issue, but seems to cause more issues. I haven't tried letting go or softening the left rein. I think this will be very good and I'll give that a try tonight.

This is great! Thank you all so very much.

Dry Clean Only
Oct. 25, 2011, 01:45 PM
1. Let go of the left rein. Can't be heavy in it if nothing to lean on. Stong half halt/ correction but soften as soon as you get any response while keeping him forward, you should feel like you are holding the bend with your leg and seat not the hand.

2. More left leg but without tensing your left side and blocking the energy.