Dealing with physical limitations
 
 

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Dealing with physical limitations

This is a discussion on Dealing with physical limitations within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category
  • How do you deal with physical limitations
  • Why does my horse canter with both back legs

 
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    04-27-2011, 10:38 AM
  #1
Weanling
Question Dealing with physical limitations

Hey guys! I'm a bit discouraged as of late - my horse is stiffness and tension problems that I really don't know how to deal with.

I've been doing dressage for about a year, both my horse and I were progressing nicely, but then something changed. I'm not sure if it was because I was asking too much of him, but he started to tense up his right side. We do shoulder in, leg yields, shoulder out, shallow loops, and lengthening in our warm up, so nothing too advanced. We have huge problems when on the left rein - he cannot do a shoulder in, or a leg yield on that side, and he also has a difficult time bending that direction, as it requires his right side to stretch more than he's comfortable with. He isn't being disobedient, I can feel that he is trying, his mind knows what I'm asking, but his body just cannot preform. The canter is also a problem, on the left lead he is OK, but on the right he is very unbalanced. He tries to put more weight on his outside hind, while still trying to maintain a right lead. He is also unable to move over his hind end, he's sort of 'clenching' if that makes sense, so he sort of 'hops' behind. Transitions are similarly difficulty, he just cannot slow down once he gets moving.

Anyway, how exactly should I go about dealing with these problems? I feel at fault for a lot of this, I'm the one asking for these movements after all. The massage therapist is out every 6 weeks, he gets medicine from the vet to help with his joints ( no idea what the medical term is) every 6 weeks as well, both of which help. Are there any exercises that will help loosen him up, without causing more tension in his body? If these problems are ' part of him' how should I go about riding, should I change disciplines ( he was a jumper before I bought him) or should I just keep going at our current level?

Thanks!
     
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    04-27-2011, 04:16 PM
  #2
Trained
Call your vet, get a workup. It sounds to me like the horse's joint disease has progressed past your management program. Once you have the soundness of the horse managed, post vido or take a lesson to figure out if you are causing some if the issues. It is rarely not soundness or rider issues that cause such tension and one sidedness.

Good luck!
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    04-27-2011, 08:25 PM
  #3
Trained
Any chance you can get a nerve block done on him? It sounds like what my gelding was like 12 months ago. He was previously a very supple horse and extremely willing and eager. He had a month spell and I brought him back into work in June 2010. Within a week he had started bucking, he would not turn onto the right rein, if I attempted to half halt, he would lose it.
I thought he had maybe pulled something out in the paddock, so put him in a sand yard and stable for a week and had him massaged.
Started lunging him, and the same problems. He didn't look lame as such, to any onlookers and I was told that he was 'just being a TB'. But he was not right, he didn't move as his usually did etc.
In canter, he would 'hop' like your horse. Not wanting to take weight on his right hind, so moved both hind legs together.
At this stage I went 'bugger it' and towed him down to our top equine hospital to have a look at him. He was flexion tested and then given nerve blocks to pin point the issue. Turns out it was his hock - not the news I wanted to hear.

Xrays revealed that he had a bone spur and arthritic changes to one of the lower hock joints, which was too small to surgically or chemically remove. We tried multiple drugs including joint injections and none even touched the surface.


I hope for your sake it's not a hock issue and maybe something easily managed - preferably rider error!
Have you had your vet look specifically it this? If possible, I would recommend taking him to an equine hospital where they have the facilities to nerve block, xray and ultrasound on site.
     
    04-28-2011, 07:24 PM
  #4
Weanling
As you work a horse in dresage, IF the horse is worked correctly, the horse develops more muscle around their withers and over thir spine (topline). That will cause a previous well fitting saddle to no longer fit. A saddle which doesn;t fit can cause the horse pain when they move - make certain the front of the saddle is about 1-2 fingers behind the top of the shoulder and the channel is wide enough to site just outside of the vertebrae. If that is the case - see if the saddle is causing him pain. He he react when you run your fingers to the side down his spine?

Just a thought as the previous suggestions are also possibilities.
     
    04-28-2011, 11:37 PM
  #5
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentina    
As you work a horse in dresage, IF the horse is worked correctly, the horse develops more muscle around their withers and over thir spine (topline). That will cause a previous well fitting saddle to no longer fit. A saddle which doesn;t fit can cause the horse pain when they move - make certain the front of the saddle is about 1-2 fingers behind the top of the shoulder and the channel is wide enough to site just outside of the vertebrae. If that is the case - see if the saddle is causing him pain. He he react when you run your fingers to the side down his spine?

Just a thought as the previous suggestions are also possibilities.
This was one of the first things I checked - my saddle has been fitted 3 times, by 3 different people.^-^ the most recent fitting being last month
     

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