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horse is very stiff to the left?

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  • horse is very stiff to the left?

    I have ridden this little arab mare all summer and we did some local shows. However, she never really understood what leg meant other than to go forward at anything other than a walk. She leg yields and bends at a walk, but at a trot or canter, she doesn't get it. I have worked her a lot on this at home this fall, and she is starting to get it. Not very good, but we can leg yield at her little pony trot of a zillion miles an hour.

    But... She is extremely stiff to the left. I mean to the point of if I pull her head even gently that way, she will fight me the whole way and forget about her doing it by herself. Vet didn't find anything and teeth are fine too. Might be a chiro issue, but assuming it is not (Chiro can't come until mid December) is there any exercises that you like to help with suppling to a horse's 'bad' side? She had developed a slight bulge on the underside of her neck from running in the pasture and not working correctly, but it is starting to muscle to normal (she is naturally high headed). So, any ideas on exercises to help her correct this? I have been doing a lot of bendy circles and figure 8s along with having her drop her head at the walk (doesn't understnad at the trot yet). Any help would be appreciated!
    Who say's your best friend has to be human?

  • #2
    The first thing I look at is the rider. If you're sitting and/or using your aids in a way that conflicts with what you want the horse to do...

    Most common mistake in leg yield: the rider raises the aiding leg, shifting her weight (and strength) to the outside, and crossing the rein into the neck. All of that makes it very difficult for the horse to move forward and sideways in balance. Doesn't happen too much at the walk because rider balance isn't much of an issue at that gait. But at the trot? Oh, boy.

    Have you had a more experienced rider on your horse to see if there's less resistance?
    Patience pays.

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    • #3
      My trainer had a horse like this. It was a chiro issue. The chiro found a neck vertebrae tweaked to the side. She adjusted it, and the horse has flourished where previously it resisted and resisted bending to one side no matter how much time off, increased training or any other technique was used.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Jaideux View Post
        My trainer had a horse like this. It was a chiro issue. The chiro found a neck vertebrae tweaked to the side. She adjusted it, and the horse has flourished where previously it resisted and resisted bending to one side no matter how much time off, increased training or any other technique was used.
        I have one like this who also needed an adjustment, which helped for a while, but it turned out that she has some arthritis in the neck, which was greatly improved by injections, and thankfully this is an area where the vet does not feel she'll need regular maintenance.

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        • #5
          Chiro for sure. You might also look into massage. In the meantime, you could ask her to do carrot stretches and work on suppling her to both directions. Also, check out her teeth.

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Thank you! As for me putting her off balance, it is possible but in this case I don't think so. I usually open my left rein and exaggerate it to get a little bit of a response. Couldn't hurt having someone else jump on if they wanted to though. I will try to get my chiro out here sooner but he is busy pretty much 35 hours a day it seems.... not sure when he sleeps let alone fit in another horse.
            Who say's your best friend has to be human?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by sschuessler View Post
              I have ridden this little arab mare all summer and we did some local shows. However, she never really understood what leg meant other than to go forward at anything other than a walk. She leg yields and bends at a walk, but at a trot or canter, she doesn't get it. I have worked her a lot on this at home this fall, and she is starting to get it. Not very good, but we can leg yield at her little pony trot of a zillion miles an hour.

              But... She is extremely stiff to the left. I mean to the point of if I pull her head even gently that way, she will fight me the whole way and forget about her doing it by herself. Vet didn't find anything and teeth are fine too. Might be a chiro issue, but assuming it is not (Chiro can't come until mid December) is there any exercises that you like to help with suppling to a horse's 'bad' side? She had developed a slight bulge on the underside of her neck from running in the pasture and not working correctly, but it is starting to muscle to normal (she is naturally high headed). So, any ideas on exercises to help her correct this? I have been doing a lot of bendy circles and figure 8s along with having her drop her head at the walk (doesn't understnad at the trot yet). Any help would be appreciated!
              I am in the exact same boat so very interestd to hear peoples response. My trainer told me lots and lots of circles and serpentines will help and with a lot of time and patients he'll loosen up. We'll see! Good luck!

              EDIT: I might add that I did have a massage therapist out. He loves it but didn't really help out riding. Not saying it wouldn't work for you, but sometimes it has to do with something that has happened in their past. For instance, my guy is totally sound and his past owner said he's been like this the whole time she's had him which has been four years. But he used to be a packing horse so my guess is he was under a lot of physical stress at some point in his life and has never really recovered....

              Comment


              • #8
                This is a very timely thread. I am struggling with the same issue (except bending to the right) with the mare I lease.

                She's fluid as all get out yielding and SI to the right, but to the left it is a struggle.

                Her circles to the right are getting better after me working out of some conflicting aids I was giving her. But the chiro angle makes sense and I will look more into that.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Chiro -- If her pelvis or hip joint are locked, it is impossible for her to do what you are asking, and she is telling you that.

                  While she is that resistant, I would not even ride her (except light hacking) until she has been thoroughly gone over by a really good chiro.

                  The best one around here costs $275 and she is worth every penny. My good gelding had been retired because he was acting like your horse. This lady was here doing a once over on my current show horse and I asked her to look at George. In 45 minutes she had given me back the horse I thought I would never have again.

                  And I cannot believe how all those other people missed it or told me they fixed it -- when he was in pain for years. That $275 was the best money I have spent in a long time.

                  I feel so bad for George. But I thought I had given him great care, and finally just turned him out when he was so crooked he couldn't be ridden comfortably and no one had anything else to offer me......
                  "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

                  Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    lots of serpentines at the trot will help her learn to balance and bend.

                    when you're leg yielding her (tracking left), maintain a steady contact on the outside rein and use it to half halt while using your inside rein to keep her flexed laterally while keeping your inside leg on. this should make her step up with her inside hind and use her hind end more to sit. that will get her to give in her neck...usually issues with stiffness or a 'bad side' in the neck/shoulders are a symptom of the hind end not engaging properly (which can be a strength issue).

                    try leg yielding off the quarter line to the rail then doing a circle...that might help regulate her speed, too

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