First off I have to say that my horse Phoenix has come a long way since he was brought back into work in October. He's lost 250lbs and is getting fitter every day. He also has hip issues particularly with his right hip.
He is seen by the chiropractor regularly to help with his hip issues which inevitably lead to issues all along one side. So... this makes him a very one sided horse which is understandable. I think that i'm also a pretty one sided rider which i'm working on and all that good stuff.
So the issue i've come up against right now is when we're travelling counter clockwise he tends to slide his shoulders to the inside and counter-flex his neck by roughly 15 degrees. Going clockwise he's fine, straight-ish and sometimes he has more flexion than he needs but he's mostly getting there. Also i've noticed that even going in a straight line (like down the arena wall) his shoulders are falling to the inside and his neck is massively counter flexed. If that wasn't hard enough to be getting on with randomly he'll completely bend his neck and body in towards the middle of the arena and head for goodness knows where.
I've tried working him on a 20m circle and to start with he is the same, shoulder in, counter flexed. If I let him spiral into the circle he'll get straighter but as soon as I try and urge him back out he goes back how he was.
It's probably me, i'm probably giving him mixed signals or something but if I don't know why he's doing it then I can't start to fix it. So any ideas? Which aids should I used to try and correct the counter flexion? Do I need more inside leg? More outside rein? Any exercises anyone can recommend to work on straightening a horse that is one sided?
And just to prove he's not always a problem and does have his good days, have a picture taken a few months ago after a particularly good ride
DSCF0306 - Copy.jpg