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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 20, 2005
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    Kentucky
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    332

    Default horse doesnt like to bend through his left side

    OK, i've recieved some feedback from my trainer on this, but i want other suggestions. My horse has a much harder time bending when traveling to the right, and does not take as much of hold of my left hand as he does the right. He also legs yeilds much better to the left than to the right. When circling, he likes to fall into the circle when traveling right. Soundness-wise he is ok (for him, who is older and has some arthritis). He wings with both front legs but worse with the left front. He also is less willing to step under himself with the left hind and instead likes to swing it out, but after getting after him he steps under much better.
    His main job is being a hunter, but after some soundness issues last year my eventer vet suggested that we start crosstraining with some dressage to strethen the backend area. He has consistantly gotten much better than he was before any of the dressage work, and I'm sure that most of the flexibility problems he has are more instilled from habit rather than from pain. He does get his hocks and him left fetlock injected once a year. So, can anyone think of any excercises we can do to become more flexible and workable through our left side?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct. 19, 2005
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    Default

    Well that's very common in horses in general as most are right side dominant like people. This means they right side is stronger and longer and the leaft weaker and shorter, hence the resistance to bend to the right on the circle.

    Basically you will need to work on strengthening and stretching the weaker left side so your horse will become more even left and right. Any exercises that will encourage your horse to do this will be good.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug. 2, 2005
    Location
    Oxford, USA
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    3,702

    Default

    Get your horse checked out by your massage person and chiropractor. There are a couple of very basic things that could be causing this familiar problem which are not training issues.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 1, 2003
    Location
    Cocoa, Fla
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    Default

    20 meter circles - use outside leg in time with squeeze (then release) on outside rein as you "sit" in posting trot. Outside leg gets him to step underneath himself, outside rein get him "round" on that rein. Intersperse that with squeeze/release on right rein - but only AFTER you get him round on outside rein and LOW in the neck. Be sure rider doesn't sit forward - but post almost straihjt up and down. OPnce he can get and maintain this then "loosen" him up by a quiet squeeze/release on alternating reins - jet getting him to ned thru the neck. Be sure he "bends" around inside leg but do not pull back with reins - use your arms like side reins (elbows to waist) and use inside calf at girth inside. Be sure your shoulders alighn with horses.
    Sandy in Fla.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar. 28, 2004
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    Sacramento area
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    Default

    It’s always a good idea to first rule out any painful physical issues the horse may have.

    If the horse is sound, resistance to bending is often caused by tension or imbalance. The rider can help the horse soften to the bending aids by riding in a correct, forward, relaxed rhythm while encouraging the horse to reach forward for the bit on the hollow side. Resist the temptation to force the horse into a bend with the reins.

    The following aids work together to help the horse bend:
    • The rider increases the weight on the inside seat bone.
    • The rider turns his body slightly toward the inside (think of turning a piano stool).
    • The rider’s inside leg remains at the girth, as a post which the horse bends around, and/or to help prevent the horse from cutting in on the circle. The outside leg is a few inches back to keep the haunches from swinging out. The seat and legs send the horse forward into the bend.
    • Gently ask the horse to look in with the inside rein while giving sufficiently with the outside rein. This is a bending aid only and not a steering aid! As the horse bends the rider goes back to a neutral contact on both reins. Don’t hold the bend.


    I hope this helps.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2000
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    Default

    you think your trainer is wrong?

    ps, don't follow the directions from tonja to get a bend, yo uwill have an unbalanced horse and cxreate more problems than you solve.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 20, 2005
    Location
    Kentucky
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    Default

    I don't think my trainer is wrong, or my vet, both of which have given me suggestions similar to what the above posts have said. I just wanted to see what the response would be without any lead ins. I'm getting the chiro to hopefully come out next week, i finally got the number from a woman at the barn, and he is suposed to be funomenal.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 30, 2003
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    2,529

    Default

    along with everything else suggested check the saddle, it may not let him free up the shoulder on that side. Actually, that would be two things: saddle and uneveness across both shoulders.



  9. #9
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    Jul. 19, 2001
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    Default

    funomenal.
    priceless!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2003
    Location
    MA
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    Default

    All horses have a dominant side, just like people. One side is concave (left) and one side is convex (right.) Consistent good dressage training can make a horse more ambidexterous over time. No training or not so good training will just make the horse even more one sided.

    Even with good training, it does not happen over night. The soft tissue on the horse's side needs to stretch so that the rib cage can swing out away from your leg to give you the correct bend. It is like physical therapy and results are accomplished over time.

    An older horse with years of incorrect training and age related soundness issues will have a more difficult time changing his habitual way of going.
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug. 26, 2003
    Location
    Joliette, QC, Canada
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    4,286

    Default

    I second Eclectic's comment on this.

    With my mare who was pretty green, it took a good 6 months to fix most of it.
    I found it is stiffness, but because of this, she was loosing confidence in the circle, like loosing her balance.

    Lunging was very good to build up her balance and then help a lot to get ler left side more supple.

    Good luck !
    Élène

    Fighting ovarian cancer ! 2013 huge turnaround as I am winning the battle !..
    http://esergerie.wordpress.com



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 12, 2004
    Location
    No. VA
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    Default

    ps, don't follow the directions from tonja to get a bend, yo uwill have an unbalanced horse and cxreate more problems than you solve.
    What's wrong with Tonja's advice assuming that all this is done working forward? Would you share your suppling exercises that you would use to straighten please?



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec. 11, 2005
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    908

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by in_the_zone
    What's wrong with Tonja's advice assuming that all this is done working forward? Would you share your suppling exercises that you would use to straighten please?
    There is nothing wrong with Tonja's advice! You are on the right track with the chiro and if you can find a good massage therapist that would also benifit. It is difficult though without seeing the horse going to give the most helpful suggestions. One must get to the root of the problem before coming up with the correct solution.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar. 16, 2003
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    Wet and Windy Washington
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    Default

    I have a youngster who shows the classic baby stiffness on one side....first off don't panic. As others have said its pretty normal, like poeple, to be one sided.

    One of the things I'm working on right now to help my guy is counter flexing on a 20 meter circle ie on a circle on the right rein, counter flex him so he is bent ot the left for a few strides, straighten for a few, then flex again. In both directions.

    Also take care when you ride to ride each movement correctly. Its very easy to get into the habit of allowing a horse to fallout through his shoulders on a bend and the earlier you catch this the straighter and more supple you'll make your horse.

    Good luck with it
    I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr. 25, 2006
    Location
    Maryland
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    399

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by in_the_zone
    What's wrong with Tonja's advice assuming that all this is done working forward? Would you share your suppling exercises that you would use to straighten please?
    The first thing that is wrong, is that if she gives sufficiently with her outside rein, the horse will most likely pop his outside shoulder out as his next evasion to not bending his inside hock. The second thing if you don't hold the bend and put the inside leg into the outside rein and give, only, after he gives his inside hind, you've done nothing to help the horse to supple. This is not done with pulling or yanking but with a rock steady rein to receive the inside hind. Once you receive it...he bends his hock and gives up his back and the evasion...then you can give immediately. This teaches him something. Otherwise it would take you 20 years to supple up that inside hind. This requires a lot of steady, core strength.

    If you are not an accomplished rider, I would not suggest the flexions to the outside either. It tends to swing the haunches to the inside creating more evasion. However, if you can keep your inside leg on to avoid the haunches swinging inside while you flex to the outside, then your aid is correct. Good luck.



  16. #16
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    Nov. 9, 2005
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    uk
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    Default

    well i have said it so many times i am bllue in the face

    stop riding how you write -- learn to give -- thats you you give on the side you strongest at normally the side you write with -- then horse will stop avading you --

    as born to ride has quoted --



  17. #17
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    Feb. 12, 2004
    Location
    No. VA
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    Default

    The first thing that is wrong, is that if she gives sufficiently with her outside rein, the horse will most likely pop his outside shoulder out as his next evasion to not bending his inside hock. The second thing if you don't hold the bend and put the inside leg into the outside rein and give, only, after he gives his inside hind, you've done nothing to help the horse to supple. This is not done with pulling or yanking but with a rock steady rein to receive the inside hind. Once you receive it...he bends his hock and gives up his back and the evasion...then you can give immediately. This teaches him something. Otherwise it would take you 20 years to supple up that inside hind. This requires a lot of steady, core strength.
    Gently ask the horse to look in with the inside rein while giving sufficiently with the outside rein.
    Ah yes, I overlooked the part noting giving with the outside rein. Ya, I would agree that's a definately nono. I assume Tonja was talking about flexions, which assumes a solid outside connection so that shoulder doesn't go anywhere.

    I would also suggest to the original poster leg yeilds to the left get a better outside connection and strengthen the hind. Also, shoulderfore right and renvers left if you can do it correctly. Practice a lot of changed of bend also; serpentines and bendy lines.

    Edited to add: Ride into your corners and don't forget to give with the hand! Good luck to ya.



  18. #18
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    Mar. 28, 2004
    Location
    Sacramento area
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    Default

    Quote sabryant:
    The first thing that is wrong, is that if she gives sufficiently with her outside rein, the horse will most likely pop his outside shoulder out as his next evasion to not bending his inside hock. The second thing if you don't hold the bend and put the inside leg into the outside rein and give, only, after he gives his inside hind, you've done nothing to help the horse to supple. This is not done with pulling or yanking but with a rock steady rein to receive the inside hind. Once you receive it...he bends his hock and gives up his back and the evasion...then you can give immediately. This teaches him something. Otherwise it would take you 20 years to supple up that inside hind. This requires a lot of steady, core strength.
    Quote Tonja:
    Gently ask the horse to look in with the inside rein while giving sufficiently with the outside rein.
    If the horse is asked to bend to the inside, without ANY give of the outside rein, the horse will not have room to bend. The neck will become constrained and the hind leg will have no place to step. The horse needs to be able to reach into both reins. The inside rein has to be given sufficiently (but only sufficiently and this is a very small amount) for the horse to be able to bend but it is not given so much that the shoulder can ‘pop out’ or the contact is lost.

    In regard to holding the bend; holding – continuing the aids without releasing when the horse responds appropriately – only makes the horse dull to the aids.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep. 16, 2005
    Posts
    995

    Default Not blocking with outside rein

    Tonja is talking about having a spiral seat when riding circles and not blocking the turn with the outside rein . She is not saying to drop the contact, but to swivel your torso slightly to allow the bend to happen. Think of where your shoulders and hands are when you ride a bicycle on a circle (this is a great exageration) your outside shoulder/arm/hand is slightly forward off your inside shoulder. Same in the circle on the horse.

    And yes, your weight is on your inside seat bone, weight on the inside of the bend, your shoulders follow the horse shoulders your hips follow your horse haunches.

    And you want to ride your horse from your inside leg to your outside rein and maintain an elastic contact. Not pull, not hold. Giving.

    And you definitely need core strenght in order to carry your body in balance.

    Other suggestions for exercices to increase flexibility and suppleness:

    http://www.equisearch.com/horses_rid...005/index.html
    http://equisearch.com/horses_riding_...lderin_051704/
    http://www.equisearch.com/horses_rid...277/index.html
    http://www.equisearch.com/horses_rid...803/index.html
    http://www.equisearch.com/advice/exp...t02/index.html
    http://www.equisearch.com/horses_rid...733/index.html

    You might want to buy Sally Swift "Centered Riding" books, they give very basic and easy to apply information and exercices for both horse and rider.
    Last edited by Karoline; Jun. 21, 2006 at 04:53 PM.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov. 9, 2005
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    uk
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    Default

    just re read it ot --

    try not going on cirlces till you have the horse underneath on both hinds up the strtaghts of arena -- work horse to get comfy on the s triaght to build mussles up on both sides of legs and work the hocks under neath

    as if hocks arnt under neath will show up front end as it isnt following through


    pracitce in straight line down side of school -- once mastered in walk and trot then you can ask for half 20 mrt cicles going large first so not to put strian on the hocks straight off -- so start going large half cirlce up top end of school and tha gain at bottom change rein then come back to trot
    walk

    then ask for 20mr whern mastered your signals --
    the thing is some times horses prefer one leg more than the other so be varied in what you do dont let him atispate or do yur thinking for you



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