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Heavy on Left Rein

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  • Heavy on Left Rein

    Any suggestions on what I might be doing to cause my horse to be heavy on my left rein? He is heavy whether the left is on the inside or outside and if the left is on the inside he has a crick/slight bend to the outside. Even with the bend, he does not want contact with the outside rein.

  • #2
    My horse had a similar problem once. Do you notice you collapse your seat to one side or the other? My horse was asymmetrical along his back muscles so it caused me to "fall in a hole" when he would bring his opposite hind backward. This caused him to brace on the left rein. He reflocked my saddle so it lifted me outb of the hole and sat me level. Problem instantly solved. Now my horse could start developing that muscle and we had the fitter come out monthly to slowly take the extra flocking out of that side as his muscle developed. After 3 months he was symmetrical on his own, the saddle was back to even flocking and my horse was straight and even on both reins! It was quite amazing!
    Please excuse the typos...I'm always on my iPhone and autocorrect is not my friend. Yes I mean mares autocorrect...not mates.


    • #3
      all horses are naturally heavy on one rein. over time we aim to develop them so that heaviness disappears.

      the reason why they are heavy is that they are stiff on one side and dont step up evenly into the contact.

      a very good trainer will help you. if you cant afford a trainer there are books you can read but nothing will work as well as educated eyes on the ground.


      • #4
        2.5 possible causes:

        1) Horseling is weaker in his left hind. He's moving himself along with his left foreleg.

        1.5) You are weaker and/or less dextrous in your left hand. In effect, this kind of rider has made the horse "less educated" on the left side of his mouth. To make this more complicated, it may be that you are crooked, too.

        2) Your left leg is weaker.

        Notice how much of this comes from his hind end and your body?-- nothing to do with hand at all.

        How to tell the difference?

        IME, the horse who is willing to travel straight (not asking for anything special from behind) and who still feels heavy or unresponsive in your left hand has been ridden by some very right-handed people. The horse whose hiney is harder to move sideways from your left leg is the one who is weaker there or who has been ridden by a right-sided person for a while.

        Hope this helps.
        The armchair saddler
        Politically Pro-Cat


        • #5
          You may need to counter-flex to have him more straighter and less heavy.


          • #6
            unequal rein pressure is 99.9% of the time about the horse being not straight.

            the entire point of dressage is to straighten the horse and get them supple, balanced etc.

            just work the training scale with a competent trainer and your horse will come more even in the contact.

            fiddling with the reins (beyond giving on the heavier rein) wont get you the result you want.


            • #7
              I've been dealing with this recently with my young horse - a combination of massage (he was sore through the poll and left shoulder, wanted to take left rein all the time) and counterflexion so that he HAD to make contact with the outside rein in both directions has really helped.


              • #8
                how does counter flexion help the horse learn to carry weight evenly behind bend evenly side to side and step thru evenly?

                because uneven contact is the symptom of that disease


                • #9
                  If you counter-flex he can't lean on the outside rein. Which is what I was assuming was going as we weren't given video or photos of the rider and horse in action.

                  It's not very often, but sometimes it's not the rider. Mostly it is (definitely agree with that), but sometimes its not


                  • #10
                    Check his teeth.
                    See those flying monkeys? They work for me.


                    • #11
                      ok, so while it may be possible for the teeth to be out, for the horse to need a chiro, and the rider may very well be crooked, ALL horses are crooked to one degree to another, and the ENTIRE point of dressage is to straighten the horse and make him even poll to tail and side to side. (this is why straightness is in the training scale and why steinbrecht said "ride your horse forward and make him straight"

                      the only cure that will be long lasting and effective is correct training. period.

                      it isnt difficult to work thru this but you need to understand that the horses body is much like ours... it uses its body in the easiest way possible unless there is a reason to do otherwise.

                      think how hard it would be for most folks to one day start writing with the opposite hand. this is, in effect, what you are expecting of your horse if you expect him to have even contact from the get go.

                      correct, progressive development will correct this. it is just basic, correct training.

                      the one other thing i will add if that you never pull or fiddle on heavy rein , you GIVE on it until the contact is even..... even if that means the horse does neck bend as a result.... as long as you are working the BODY of the horse correctly you will see results.


                      • #12
                        When a horse is heavy on one rein in both directions, it is likely to be something more than a strength issue.
                        See those flying monkeys? They work for me.


                        • #13
                          no. a horse will be heavy on one rein no matter what direction because it is the hind leg that is weak.

                          really, it is all there is any standard theory book.


                          • #14
                            Yeah, like rider issue?


                            • #15
                              ? even if you have a perfect even rider most horses are born crooked.

                              i am not sure why this is just a controversial comment? sure, it may be the rider (and i said so) but even IF it is the rider, they still need to give on teh heavy rein and work the horse via the scales.

                              correct training (of horse and rider ) is the cure.


                              • #16
                                Yes, most horses are born crooked. If the rider actually is in the correct position, the horse miraculously becomes un-crooked. Just don't over do it.


                                • #17
                                  mbm, you are basically right, sometimes I just cannot muster up the patience.


                                  • #18
                                    : ) i am not right, the dudes that spent their lives working and refining and passing the info down to us mere mortals are the ones that are right... me i am just mimicking what they taught me via books and my long suffering trainer ! lol!

                                    OP: if you post vid or pics it will help. if you dont want to do that maybe send a link to some folks via PM.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by mbm View Post
                                      : ) i am not right, the dudes that spent their lives working and refining and passing the info down to us mere mortals are the ones that are right... me i am just mimicking what they taught me via books and my long suffering trainer ! lol!

                                      OP: if you post vid or pics it will help. if you dont want to do that maybe send a link to some folks via PM.
                                      How many horses that are heavy in one rein or the other have you ridden /trained? You speak with such authority I just have to ask. Thanks for your response.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by nsh View Post
                                        Any suggestions on what I might be doing to cause my horse to be heavy on my left rein? He is heavy whether the left is on the inside or outside and if the left is on the inside he has a crick/slight bend to the outside. Even with the bend, he does not want contact with the outside rein.
                                        Arrange to be observed by a trainer who understand the biomechanical relationship between horse and rider. Then follow their suggestions.