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That Rogue Hind Leg

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  • That Rogue Hind Leg

    For the life of me I cannot figure this out. No matter how hard I try, my horse always seems to have his right hind leg trailing behind him when we halt. Sometimes more, sometimes less. The other three always seem to cooperate fairly well. We are doing Training Level.
    I know most certainly I am the cause of this and need the COTH bank of knowledge to 'be square'.
    Some days the best thing about my job is that the chair spins.

  • #2
    May have some muscle stress tension in the hamstrings
    Ask and allow, do not demand and force.


    • #3
      Here is where it takes the ability to use your right leg more strongly in a forward use, at the same time holding with your body to maintain the halt,guarding strongly with your left leg to be sure you don't accidentally push the quarters left. It's a matter of feel.

      Play with things, like turn on the forehand, and turn on the haunches, with a ground person or mirrors to give you feed back. This will teach you to use your legs to control the horse's legs
      Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

      Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


      • #4
        Merrygoround has good suggestions!

        Try this, too. Leg yield your horse (head to wall) on the left rein (That is, the wall or fence will be to your right) Ask the horse to halt, still in that leg yield position, slightly angled to the wall. Walk again, maintaining the angle. Try it first in walk, graduate to trot as you and the horse feel comfortable.

        I'd bet horse will begin to square up in his halts.

        To make it a "German leg-yield", perform a turn on the forehand till you're facing the other way (still at a slight angle to the wall) and leg yield back down the wall. Of course, if you've graduated to trotting the exercise, transition back to walk before doing the TOF!

        This will do two things. You'll learn to use your legs effectively to make the leg yield and TOFs. Your horse will learn to listen to your aids. Tap him with your whip if he ignores you. My guess is either you use your right leg weakly or his right leg is the weaker of his hinds. Or both. LY & TOF will help you both.

        Ride leg-yields from quarter line or center line towards the wall. Occasionally ride transitions or halt him in the LY, then continue in LY.

        Don't overdo halt practice. It can frustrate your horse. You'll get benefits from riding transitions back & forth from walk & trot that will pay off in the halt transitions. You're going to have to ride leg yields in First level, so why not incorporate them into your schooling now?

        Yes, a ground person or mirrors would be super helpful.


        • #5
          Yours is a pretty typical problem for a hollow right horse. As a horse walks a staight line, the horse's body swings laterally with each stride. Think about how you swing when you walk a straight line. This lateral swing allows one diagonal to move while the other diagonal holds the stability to keep the horse's body from falling over from the impulsion of the moving diagonal. Ideally, the horse swings an equal amount of weight to each side of the path of the straight line as first one diagonal moves and then the other diagonal moves, taking the weight swinging back to the other side of the line. (Yes, I know that the feet do not move in diagonal pairs at the walk. However, balance is maintained through the diagonal area of the horse's torso.)

          When the horse is crooked, the swing of the diagonal to one side is not done to the same degree as the swing of the other diagonal to the other side. The horse will bend too much for one diagonal swing, and not enough for the other swing back.

          In the hollow right horse, the horse will bend too much to the right and not enough to the left. This is the reason, you generally need a straightening half-halt prior to the half-halt needed for the transition, itself. So to work on the halt, you need to work on the stride that bends the horse to its left side prior to asking for the halt. Also, remember that the halt should be thought of as a one, two movement.

          To get greater bending to the left, you need the horse's right shoulder to step more forward...actually step up as far as the right rein. This is not happening for you right now. So in the step, raise your right rein up and slightly forward, rotate your torso a bit more toward the horse's left side, take your left shoulder back farther and step down more into your left stirrup. Tap the horse with the whip on its right hind. Think of this movement as "asking for the bend." This is your set-up stride into the halt.

          And now you follow through with the halt stride. Straighten your torso to the line of motion again, taking your right rein back and down again slightly. If you have straightened correctly, some of the weight in your left stirrup will go back into your right stirrup. Do not drop your left shoulder forward as you do this. You should be able to feel the shift of weight in your stirrups. Sit tall as you do this halt. Draw in a breathe and hold it for the halt. Do not slouch as the horse stops, or your horse will step forward, but barely soften your shoulders. Make sure your toes stay up so that the weight of your foot is on the rear edge of your stirrups. If the weight falls onto the forward edge of those stirrups, the horse will take a step backwards. This step of the halt can be thought of as "straightening the bend."

          Teach your horse to stay parked after the halt such that you can release the reins and the horse will stay put. Don't let the horse think that the minute the reins go slack it is off to the races again. The horse must wait for the rider's leg asking for the forward motion again as you again pick up the contact.

          Work on the halt from both directions so that in a show situation at "X" you will know which diagonal to stop first for the best halt. These instructions are for both walk and trot. However, with your hollow right horse, you will find that stopping the other diagonal first will work better, but only if you use the whip to keep that right hind leg moving forward on the straight line. It will also entail that you keep more step down weight in your left stirrup at the point it gets stepped on as the sides alternate. The weight in that stirrup is to help a right shoulder stay moving more forward.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Beasmom View Post
            Try this, too. Leg yield your horse (head to wall) on the left rein (That is, the wall or fence will be to your right) Ask the horse to halt, still in that leg yield position, slightly angled to the wall. Walk again, maintaining the angle.
            I tried this in-hand. It so affronted the horse's sense of propriety that he automatical straightened and squared up, while looking down his nose at me. I'll have to try it mounted, then I won't have to see that snotty look.

            Neat exercises. Thanks.


            • #7
              horses leave one leg behind or travel with one leg too wide because they are not even and supple on both sides.

              you will need to work your horse so that he is more even so that he can step under evenly in halt.

              also, the more collection he attains = more he will be able to step under.

              so i would say do basic work working forward on bended lines into an even contact paying special attention to straightening the horse so he tracks under properly with both hinds. this is hard work tho as he will need the lengthen one side, which if you have ever worked out is hard and time consuming to do.

              there are many ways to do this but it has been laid down beautifully by various authors.... (Podhasjky, Klimke, etc etc etc)

              a good way to see what is happening is to lunge your horse and watch carefully how he uses his hinds while on the circle and while being asked to halt.


              • #8
                Try riding some other horses to determine if it is you that is not using your aids correctly and the horse is already doing exactly what you are asking, leaving that leg behind, or something about the horse itself that needs to be worked on.