08-09-2012, 03:27 PM
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I would use many different exercises. It's very tempting to just stretch your horse totally on the stiff side when they are very one-sided. My 6yo Qh is, like yours, stiff to bend left. I have been doing several things to combat this. Sometimes I lunge for 10-15 minutes, about ten circles left, then one circle right, ending on the "good side" and praising bc it's easier for him. Sometimes I ride on the left rein and trot a tight circle when he doesn't follow the track fully to the corner, so he WILL track it correctly. Sometimes I flex from the ground. If you've ever taken dance lessons, you'll know about stretching evenly on both sides. I'm surprised to hear stories like this week, from one of our gold medal Olympians, who discovered just RECENTLY how important running evenly on both legs is to a successful race. IMO bending nose to tail will irritate your horse. I'm not a fan of continuously flexing your horse, nose to girth, but it has it's place. I do like the idea of 2/3 work on the stiff side, 1/3 work on the stretchy side, to develop strength without causing pain. Surprisingly, a lot of straight work, like a lengthened walk or posting trot on a straight trail will do much more than the other exercises.