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Advice and help needed

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  • 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
    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.

    Comment


    • #3
      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.

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

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        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.

        Comment


        • #5
          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.
          Susan B.
          http://canterberrymeadows.com/

          Comment


          • #6
            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.
            We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........

            Comment


            • #7
              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!

              Comment


              • #8
                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.
                Patience pays.

                Comment


                • #9
                  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!
                  Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

                  Comment

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