Crooked young horse... Experiences or advice? EDIT: NEW VIDEO FROM LESSON TODAY! #26
I am having a really difficult time deciding what to do with my four year old Hanoverian mare and was hoping someone here has seen a similar problem. I am stuck between a rock and a hard place financially so cutting down on diagnostic costs if at all possible is really important to me.
She seems sounds and comfortable 99% of the time, but she really does not want to track straight with her right hind leg, especially when going to the right. The problem seems a little bit better when I ride slightly shoulder fore to the left, but it is still present. You can see what I mean in these photos where her right hind leg is clearly inside of her right front.
Obviously, she is a pretty big mover and I am hoping it is just a compensation for not having enough room to figure out what to do with her hind end. I am worried though that it may be a very subtle unsoundness. Would you look at a horse like this to buy as a prospect?
A huge part of my problem is that I have not been able to get good help with her because of my location. Can anyone recommend a trainer on the west coast who may be looking for a working student? I really need to progress with this mare while I still can and I am horrified by the thought that I might be ruining her or riding her through a bigger problem. Am I just neurotic?
I will try to get a video from behind if anyone would thing that would help.
Last edited by Sonichorse; Oct. 24, 2011 at 07:32 PM.
Riding by myself is so hard. I know if looks pretty minor because she still moves pretty fancily, but she is so resistant to going truly straight that I've gotten myself all concerned and frustrated. She does it at liberty and on the longe, too. I need some eyes on the ground and bad!
She is young and my guess is you just need to make sure you are not asking too much and focus on developing her strength. My 4 year old WB (5 years ago) was very strong physically but had some straightness issues too and as he developed and I took my time with him - he has straightened out and works very through and correct.
fid the right chiro and look hard beyond the "obvious"
I suggest finding a chiro who has dealt with hind end lameness; many will tell you there is not much to be done for hind ends ; that just means that THEY don't know what to do; There are at least two holistic vets this area , o. va. . who have had good success dealing with rotated pelvises; do NOT go for expensive Xrays; definitely NOT joint injections especially hocks and stifles this is something much higher.
Thanks for the advice so far! I don't think there are any chiros in this area (central Oregon) unfortunately.
Things are extra compounded by the fact that I am recently out of college and working in food service right now so I don't have much money. I want to sell this horse but don't think she will be marketable if I can't get her moving straight. She is so fun and sweet, wish I was in a position to really get the most out of having such a nice girl! This is why I am looking for a working student position.
Anyways, sorry if this is all rather whiney! I really appreciate everyone's input a lot.
this is very interesting...... she is really tracking off to the left with both hinds... you can see it very clearly in the video. at first i thought it was only the right hind, but both do it.
she seems to have a ginormous overstep...
but here is the thing... my guess is that this is how she is compensating and is getting out of her own way - ie: i dont think she can physically get her fronts off the ground fast enough so her hinds wont clip.. so she puts her hinds to the left.
my quick non pro guestimate is that she is being ridden over tempo and way to low in front. if she were mine and i was riding i would get her more up in front - more in horizontal balance, so her muzzle was about even with her hip or thereabouts and i would slow her down, closer to her own natural tempo.... so she can learn to balance better. i would also be very careful with my inside rein and not unbalance her, and i would not do too tight of turns etc while she learns to rebalance herself.
this is a nice mare. i would find help. where are you located?
I am in central Oregon, and I agree; I am running her off her feet a little in this video and I have wondered about that, too. Rewatching the video, I think it is worth mentioning that it was taken pretty soon after I broke my right leg so if it looks a little hyper active, that is a big part of it. Unfortunately she does it at liberty somewhat as well. I will focus on riding her in a slower tempo and more uphill balance tomorrow and see if it helps. Thanks for the input and advice!
FWIW....A friend's very nice quality young mare had tight, hard muscles and an extremely difficult time with straightness--Ridden, on the lunge, or at liberty. She also liked to lean on the bit and motor around too fast. She lived in bell boots for chronic over-reaching. Turned out that she had EPSM/PSSM. Diet changes were the answer. She now gets good grass hay, soaked alfalfa pellets, beet pulp, rice bran and a vit e and selenium supplement. Absolutely no grain or sugar.
You may want to do some research on it.
Very good point about the diet, and I will look into it.
The thing is, I am riding her over tempo because she is naturally quite lazy to a little bit balky. She would much rather stand still or trot around like a pony. The video was taken around 60 days under saddle and so I was maybe a little over zealous about forward and running her off her feet. Now, six months later, I have definitely been letting her slow down since I've been confident in the forward command and feel like she is, for the most part, in front of my leg. She still isn't tracking straight behind though unless I severely over correct.
i watched another video where she did it intermittently. when she was going at more slow tempo she didnt but when she was being pushed or a little more on teh forehand you could really see it.
i think, and this is no reflection on you as a rider because you appear competent enough - that i would not want to mess around with this mare until i had someone VERY good to help you undo some of what she is doing. If this is a habit then unlearning it might prove to be very difficult.
if she is sound and healthy then she needs to learn how to manage herself so she can walk.trot canter and not step on herself or go wide/sideways behind.
you will need a really really good person at training thru issues like this.
Again, I do want to reiterate, I have known a lot of horses this age who do not track straight and it straightens with correct training and physical development.
THAT SAID OF COURSE have a vet/chiro/massage/saddle fit etc etc always double check. There is sort of a staple list to go down and sometimes you have to go down that list 2-3 times with different professionals.
Case in point, we have a paint who looks like a WB cross and is solid bay - no one believes he is a paint - he is 2 degrees uphill and his neck sticks up out of his shoulders high - he doesnt have a smidge of typical QH in him AT ALL.
The girl got him cheap because he had a lot of quirks and was very very green. We figured out he'd been started in an ill fitted saddle - and he has an ego so he gets really mental (and hot) if he doesnt feel confident about something. Which at that point was everything. Including standing in crossties. But he is a real handsome mover and incredible jumper. BUT VERY CROOKED.
IT WAS ALL IN HIS BACK from the ill fitted saddle. BUT once we remedied this, he had residual MEMORY and anticipated the back hurting so with a good saddle, two massage therapists, a vet-chiro visit and full lameness exam etc - he was still crooked.
I went back to dressage 101 and started his training at the start to DEVELOP his body muscles STRAIGHT. After 6 months of patient good development of his back and hind - he is now straight.
Truth is, none of the vet, chiro, etc did anything but eliminate things but that is ok. I think that is responsible! What did the trick for him was - 1. good fitted saddle plus 2. correct physical development training.
There are good dressage barns in the Eugene and Portland areas (as well as others, I'm sure). Are you not able to haul in for lessons?
It does look like you need to sloooow down so she can balance herself better, go in a more relaxed way, work in a steadier rhythm, stay out of her own way. Even though you're seeing it on the longe, that could be because she's going too fast on a circle on which she can't ballance at that speed without getting out of whack. I'd really focus on relaxing her and finding the natural rhythm at which she can be balanced, and really try to take your time to get her set up for transitions, changes of direction, etc. so she doesn't get all cattywhompus through them. Teach her that you will create the situation in which she can feel safe and confident that she won't get thrown out of balance, that she CAN do whatever you ask of her, so that she'll relax and all that positivity will recycle itself into steadier, more balanced work, and only that work for which she's ready at this point.
All that said, I agree with ruling out anything in her body that might be amiss through vet/chiro/tack fit/etc.
find a Tellington TOUCH practitioner better yet a clinic" training" to take her to They can teach you how to prepare her for the "body wrap" also use the "'rearning obtacles" to help her develop awareness of her hind end; as well as your awareness. It is worth the time and effortI do enjoy watching as they learn a way of going.
Last edited by Carol Ames; Oct. 21, 2011 at 12:56 PM.