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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2006
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    50

    Default Advice and help needed

    I'm getting back into more serious riding after a hiatus(moved, wedding, new horse, etc.) and I am having a serious issue.

    My right hand and left leg are so dominant that I am finding it virtually impossible bend, balance and engage my horse to the right. I cannot seem to use my right leg effectively to fill out my left (outside) rein. My left hand seems possessed and just gives up contact and I REALLY have to concentrate on keeping my right hand working but soft. To the left, with my right hand as the balancing rein, everything is much easier.

    I do have a friend, who is a wonderful and experienced teacher, helping me when she can, but I was wondering if anyone had excersizes or strengthening tips that would help me develop strength in my right leg and feel in my left hand.

    Another note- I do not have a fenced ring. I ride in an open area that used to have footing and is now mostly grass. There is a fenced paddock that would make a nice, large grass ring and I can certainly use that. We alternate "ring" work with lots of hilly trail rides to help both of us get back into shape.

    My horse is pretty willing(he tries to do whatever I ask) and I want to get over this hump. It's becoming a huge obstacle for me.

    Thanks.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 4, 2011
    Posts
    113

    Default

    i am curious to see what others say, as i also have a more dominant left leg. its hard for me also, because my horses stiff side is to the right, so not only is my leg weaker that way, but she requires more support that way. when i am riding, i try to feel my whole body, and feel my legs being long at her sides. in my mind, i 'feel' with the muscles in my right leg, to make up for lack of actual muscle, and its actually getting stronger, bit by bit.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2005
    Location
    Northeast
    Posts
    10,430

    Thumbs up

    Maybe you can get some ideas here.

    http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=311538

    It is a long slooow process, and requires a patient instructor.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2006
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    50

    Default

    Thanks merrygoround. I read through that thread and it gave me some good ideas for quieting my inner analyst.
    Luckily, I do have a patient instructor (and horse!). I know it takes time and patience.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 30, 2006
    Location
    Williamston, NC
    Posts
    1,513

    Default

    I ended up with a dominant (stronger) left leg after fracturing my right hip. The right leg is not as physically strong after injury so I always ride with a whip on that side to reinforce my aids. Learning to ride with 2 whips was an intersting experience. It takes time. The first step is awareness. Just wanted to encourage you not to get frustrated. If you are able have your friend school your horse when able. She'll probably discover that your horse is much more responsive on one side than the other making things even more difficult for you. Hang in there and welcome back to the world of riding.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec. 20, 2009
    Posts
    3,256

    Default

    I have a dominant right hand, and my mare wants to lean on the right rein. I'm going thru a very focused process right now of almost "over releasing on the right when it is the inside rein. A little rotation of right wrist (to get right flexion) , then give and PUSH w/ right leg. This is helping her - she has nothing to lean on - and me, as its making me very conscious of when I do get too strong with that rein. It has the additional effect of making her "take" the left rein. Try this a bit; you may find it helpful. Start at the walk, on a circle. Also leg yields. Its hot down here in the Sunshine State, so we do a lot of stuff at the walk. You can do it just about anywhere. Then move on to the trot.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 2007
    Posts
    2,899

    Default

    Try leg-yielding toward the more empty left rein to help fill it up whenever you feel it go slack. Also be aware of the placement of your left leg when it is the outside leg. It should be further back from the hip, helping to bend the horse behind the saddle around your inside right leg. So basically let the stronger left leg help you bend the horse's body around the weaker right leg. That will automatically send a bit more energy into the horse's left shoulder/your left hand.

    Also, your horse is more then likely weaker in the left hind leg. The horse pushes more with the right hind so you feel more contact in your right hand. Carry your whip in your left hand for awhile and ask that left hind leg to carry its fair share!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2007
    Location
    Landrum, SC
    Posts
    1,759

    Default

    Doing things OFF the horse to improve your coordination will be most helpful. Simple things like using your "off" hand to open doors, turn pages, pick up objects, brush teeth and hair, open drawers, etc., will help you learn the fine motor control that will translate to more effective riding. Ditto for your legs. Pay attention to which foot you move first when you take off walking, and switch. Pay attention to how you stand... if you routinely rest one leg, learn to stand evenly on both.

    Taking yoga, Tai Chi or other classes designed to target overall body symmetry, awareness and stretching can also be really valuable.

    Finally, massage and chiropractic may also be helpful in getting you properly balanced.

    We spend a lot more time on the ground than we do on the horse. You can't tackle issues like yours only in the saddle.
    Athletic Horses. Educated Riders.
    www.Ride-With-Confidence.com



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar. 15, 2007
    Location
    (throw dart at map) NC!
    Posts
    4,779

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ponygirlnmh View Post
    I'm getting back into more serious riding after a hiatus(moved, wedding, new horse, etc.) and I am having a serious issue.

    My right hand and left leg are so dominant that I am finding it virtually impossible bend, balance and engage my horse to the right. I cannot seem to use my right leg effectively to fill out my left (outside) rein. My left hand seems possessed and just gives up contact and I REALLY have to concentrate on keeping my right hand working but soft. To the left, with my right hand as the balancing rein, everything is much easier.

    I do have a friend, who is a wonderful and experienced teacher, helping me when she can, but I was wondering if anyone had excersizes or strengthening tips that would help me develop strength in my right leg and feel in my left hand.

    Another note- I do not have a fenced ring. I ride in an open area that used to have footing and is now mostly grass. There is a fenced paddock that would make a nice, large grass ring and I can certainly use that. We alternate "ring" work with lots of hilly trail rides to help both of us get back into shape.

    My horse is pretty willing(he tries to do whatever I ask) and I want to get over this hump. It's becoming a huge obstacle for me.

    Thanks.
    Well, it seems as though you recognize this problem, which is more than what many do. So kudos to you!

    An open arena is great! You can do simple things like dropping your stirrups and doing circles and leg yeilds to the right and the left. Your success in this work will depend on your ability to develop both sides of your body, and these types of excercises are designed to help develop both sides of your body. It is difficult to be strong with one side of your body without stirrups. Always ride to a point: a tuft of grass, a brown spot, whatever. Put soem markers in the field to give you something to ride to or ride around. Give yourself some time to develop both sides of your body equally.

    Dropping your stirrups at the walk, trot and canter is a great way to work on equalizing your right and left sides. Riding a well trained horse is another great way to illustrate your own problems - they do exactly what you're telling them to do.

    Good luck!



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