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Heavy in One rein?

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  • Heavy in One rein?

    One of my horses is heavy in the right rein. I have had him 8 years, and he is mostly a pleasure horse that dabbles in everything. However, unless I just toss the reins at him in a loopy fashion, he is always heavier in the right rein.

    I know its partially me, and I am aware of this so try my hardest not to create anything to pull against. None of my other horses hang on that rein.

    I know that they should be in your outside rein, but you also need contact with the inside. I half-halt, and give away the right rein, he moves very well off the right leg...but regardless, when I have a contact its much heavier on the right. Teeth are ok, saddle fits and he doesnt seem to be in any pain...he just likes that rein. He has been that way since I retrained him from racing days. He is ridden in a loosering french link. He has a tendency to be downhill due to his conformation.

    As he is just a pleasure horse for me, Im not spending thousands of dollars in trainer rides. He HAS had trainers on him (both hunter and dressage) and I have taken lessons with him but nothing recently as we have no aspirations to show, and the budget is on the baby and show horse right now.

    Any tips on exercises? Nothing too stressful as he's bascially a pet and his happiness is important to me

  • #2
    Are you sitting right in the middle nice and square with EQUAL weight in both stirrups?

    I always had issues with my left ankle strength/flexibility not matching up with the right and it most definately affected my lateral moves and smaller circles.I had to think about it and shift my hips over a little to get that lower left leg into them properly. If I stayed lazy about it, the horse would crab along crooked and lay on one rein.

    If you want, besides thinking about it and maybe adjusting your position a little if you do anything fancy? Try a different bit on him once in awhile, little something to pick him up maybe. Just once in awhile and only for a little flatwork, thinking maybe a Mylar comfort snaffle or even a little gag snaffle just to mix it up a little.

    You also might try nipping or a quick bump/snatch on that rein a little when you feel him take it-that does work better with something a little more solid then your french link.

    Or you can just ignore it, does not sound serious for what you do with him. NBD, really. They all do something, this is pretty mild.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

    Comment


    • #3
      Prepare to work!!

      He is most likely heavy on that right rein because he is hollow on the left. You the rider feel this along with is tendency to take a left flexion. So, when doing a circle to the right you feel you need to take a little more weight there.

      Concentrate on his inside hind leg, when doing circles. Do not pull or weight the right rein.( This is the hard part!!!) Make sure that your left leg is guarding his quarters so he is not swinging wide behind, and that he is truly reaching under with his right inside leg. Start with 20m circles, have a ground person watch. As he gets better at reaching under on a big circle, move down to a 15m, and then a 10m. This is not an exercise for a single session. This is an exercise for life.

      As he reaches under with that inside right hind, he will let go of the right rein.
      You will know , when you can circle right without taking that right rein, that you have made progress.
      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


      • #4
        Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
        As he reaches under with that inside right hind, he will let go of the right rein.

        That's the key. IME, the horse who is heavy one one rein is weak or unsound in the hind leg on the same side.

        There can be lots of causes of this, including the rider being crooked. But OP, you say this is the only horse who goes this way?

        If this one is light to your leg in general, does he lose that when you are doing a circle to the right? In your spot, I'd tune him up to my right leg pretty good and then spend a lot of time working in that direction. This horse might need lots of leg-yielding out on the circle (to the right), turns on the forehand, shoulder-fores if you guys can do all that. Anything you can do to get him to step under with that right hind will help you fix the rein problem.
        The armchair saddler
        Politically Pro-Cat

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks for the advice. He doesnt really feel hollow on the left to me, but he certainly is much lighter on that rein so maybe it is hollow?

          Here is an old video from a lesson last year, as you can see I am having a bit of a problem softening with that right arm.

          (ETA - I usually ride him more forward then this, and am working on "relaxing" in dressage tack...its still petty foreign to me!)

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=...ture=endscreen

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            mvp - he doesnt feel look/lame to me but if he is please let me know and I will stop working him. He doesnt have a strong back end, built quite downhill. He is certainly better than he was, but his confomation doesnt help his hind get underneath him at all. He is top heavy and long backed. But, I believe he is sound and happy to work.

            He is very light to my leg on a circle in both directions, leg yields both ways on a circle and straight line no problem. I really do feel its a mouth/rein issue. I add to the situation as I will hang on that rein unless I constantly tell myself to soften.

            He will gladly spiral out on a right circle, but if I soften that right rein he will lose a reight bend. To the left, he will maintain a left bend when I soften the left rein.

            Love him to bits, definitely a jack of all trades at very low levels haha http://i46.tinypic.com/2vdnsly.jpg

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by SquishTheBunny View Post
              Thanks for the advice. He doesnt really feel hollow on the left to me, but he certainly is much lighter on that rein so maybe it is hollow?

              Here is an old video from a lesson last year, as you can see I am having a bit of a problem softening with that right arm.

              (ETA - I usually ride him more forward then this, and am working on "relaxing" in dressage tack...its still petty foreign to me!)

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=...ture=endscreen

              Watch his head as you come out of that corner going away from the camera. You are bent right, his nose and neck should be slightly down and in to the right as he finishes that corner. Instead he is coming up in front and trying to bend left as he exits the corner, almost a counter bend.Gets a little better on the straight but he never really seems to get straight.

              So, yeah, he is hollow on the left and when that outside hind is on the ground pushing him off the corner.

              Is it as noticeable in a bigger arena with a much larger turn? This is pretty tight and...well...he does have some treadwear and is no colt.

              He does not look unsound and, it's dark and hard to tell but looks like he is taking pretty even sized steps behind most of the time, not tragic.

              Have you looked into GOOD joint supplements and maybe hock injections?
              When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

              The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Findeight, yes!! Eactlly your first paragraph. As soon as I soften the right rein, this is what happens, he will come off that right bend just as you noticed.

                Im sure he has some arthritis, he raced and is now 12. The only thing is that there is no difference from when he was 4. Im not sure I want to go the hock injection route with him (basically, Im totally content if he just plods around and trail rides) but will try a new joint suppliment. He does have hind shoes.

                Hes no show dressage horse, but I just was wondering if there was anything to help the right rein hang issue. I only ride him once or twice a week, so it will be a slow proess

                Here is a trot to the left: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8x0wPgoZIM Im sure he wouldnt pass a vetting but he doesnt scream sore on that right hind leg either (I dont think?)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Since he is traveling in canter, it's very hard to assess soundness, unless he's really off, which he is not. Trot is the gait of choice for that. He does appear to be trying hard.

                  However, I would suspect that he is simply crooked like all of us., and needs a lot of insistent support to engage the right. The younger they are when you start, the easier it is.

                  You are sitting well down in the saddle at the canter. A little shoulder relaxation would help with the overall picture.
                  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

                    #10
                    Posted a trot video above Thanks. I feel like I may have created this from the get go :*( , but chalked it up to the typical OTTB only wanting to bend left.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SquishTheBunny View Post

                      Here is a trot to the left: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8x0wPgoZIM Im sure he wouldnt pass a vetting but he doesnt scream sore on that right hind leg either (I dont think?)
                      Well, if both hocks are bothering them, they don't favor one over the other.

                      But, he does have a little glitch bringing that left hind up equal to the right, especially on the corner. Not unusual in a 12 year old in a small ring on what looks like a cold day.

                      For what you do with him and as infrequently as you can ride? NBD. Just be aware that there is a limit on the riding techniques when the horse gets creaky and just can't do it. I still would like it better if you had a bigger ring or used more of this small arena so your corners are not as tight, help him alot I should think.

                      Probably goes a little more even in warm weather as well? You might consider a little help for him in the nasaid family too. Some are tummy and wallet friendly and need only be dosed 2 or 3 times a week, like the previcox ( which I use on my retiree 2 times a week). Or look into some of the supplements with devils claw and some of the other stuff that is anti inflammatory but you can't show on since you don't show him.

                      There are alot of options to help him be more comfortable while you do a little training work if you want.
                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Thanks! No more small circles, and I'll just enjoy riding around. Hes such a happy guy and loves to work. He has one of the barn moms ride him 3x per week (basically w/t/c with a loopy rein) as she wants to ride when her daughter does. Hes bombproof and completely safe, so they are a great match together. He loves her

                        Its not really a small arena, 32m by 80m, bigger than the average dressage ring (20x80) The outdoor ring is MUCH bigger

                        I'll do recovery and previcox for a few weeks and see how it goes Thanks.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          OP You have PM>
                          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.

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