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  • Race horse leans to one side real bad
  • Barrel horse stiff bracey panicked

 
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    02-04-2010, 06:59 AM
  #1
Green Broke
Bad Side

Buzz was once an OTTB and because racetracks go left ways that's his good side, and right is his bad.
When riding on the left side he is balanced and I can canter a circle without him leaning heaps but on the right side he is still very bad and unblanced I am not able to canter a full circle without him leaning heaps even on the short side of the arena he leans heaps and either turns really sharp or not really late and nearly runs into the fence (he used be unbalanced on the left just not as much)

My question is should I work more on the right side then the left??
     
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    02-04-2010, 07:50 AM
  #2
Started
Yes, do work him a little extra his stiff way, but don't neglect the good side entirely. Be sure to help him out as much as you can (sit straight and don't lean yourself, and remind him with your inside rein and leg to stay even, support with your outside leg and rein, sit a little extra on your outside seat bone). Try doing spirals at the walk and trot (and canter, once those are mastered), starting with something like a 20 meter circle, spiraling down to something very small, and think about making it "pretty." A visualization that I use is to pretend that my inside leg is a fencepost, and if the horse is bending well he won't lean any more than a plumb fence post, if that makes sense.

He might never be perfectly even, most (I'd even venture to say all) horses aren't. Like people, they tend to have a dominant side, right or left handed. You might look into an equine massage therapist or chiropractor. If he's really muscle stiff or out of alignment it can be harder for him to bend well.
     
    02-05-2010, 05:58 AM
  #3
Green Broke
How much more should I do
Should I start and finish with his right side??
And just do lots of circles at a trot and walk
     
    02-05-2010, 07:09 AM
  #4
Started
I would say probably something like 2 bends the stiff direction for every one bend the good direction. Don't feel too constrained by that, it's only a rule of thumb, and best used once physical reasons for his stiffness have been ruled out to the best of your ability. If he hurts, he's not going to bend willingly no matter how many loops you do.

You could start and finish on his stiff side if you wanted to, but recognize when to stop pushing the issue for the ride. Remember to reward the smallest change and the slightest try. He's using some new muscles and traveling a different way than he's used to.

Circles are your friend for lateral softness. As long as the circles are "good." A good circle means that the horse is upright (no leaning), bent laterally (spine curved from nose to tail to the same degree as the curve of your circle), and moving forward in whatever gait he's in. You'll need to support him with your riding to get the qualities of a "good" circle, as I said above. You could do canter circles, but be aware that every issue gets bigger with speed, and some difficulties at faster gaits are just amplified issues at slower gaits. Start with bending at the walk, then move up.

Shake it up a bit, too. Circles can get boring for you and him. Try a 3 or five loop serpentine, doing the "odd" bend the stiff way to work it just a little more than the softer side. Try riding spirals around barrels or cones. Break out of the arena; circles can be done in open fields, too.
     
    02-05-2010, 11:27 PM
  #5
Yearling
I have an OTTB too, and couldn't figure out why he leaned so much when we canter in circles. He has been off the track for a long time, professionally trained and competing as a hunter-jumper for years. I started lessons with him last week, well lo and behold my trainer fixed this problem in no time flat. I hang on his inside rein and he just leans right into it. I started giving more with that rein and BAM, no more leaning.

Scoutrider has given some good advice, just make sure that it isn't you who are unbalanced on the right lead!
     
    02-07-2010, 06:43 AM
  #6
Green Broke
Thanks I will get my friend to take some photos but I don't think it is me because Buzz has had no proffesial training in english/flat just racing polo and barrels which I don't think would of helped...
     
    02-07-2010, 07:03 AM
  #7
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedTree    
thanks I will get my friend to take some photos but I don't think it is me because Buzz has had no proffesial training in english/flat just racing polo and barrels which I don't think would of helped...
Polo and barrels will definitely screw a horse up if done incorrectly but you can still be the one causing the problem with the way your riding him. Polo horses (and barrel horses) have to be quite good at staying balanced and changing leads so definitely look at your seat and how you're riding him. Get him soft in the poll and get him to yield his ribs and hindquarters independantly and most of your problem will go away. It sounds like he has a lot of brace in his neck and shoulders so the worst thing you can do is pull on him and give him something to brace against. I doubt that the problem has anything to do with his former carreer as a race horse.
     
    02-11-2010, 04:13 AM
  #8
Green Broke
I was told by my an instructor I went to once because he was an OTTB he really only used one side which was his left and not really worked on the right when he raced...
But I don't really know
     
    02-11-2010, 08:01 AM
  #9
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedTree    
i was told by my an instructor I went to once because he was an OTTB he really only used one side which was his left and not really worked on the right when he raced...
But I don't really know
That is definitely a valid concern. I've never worked an OTTB, but from what I've heard and read that ingrained one-sidedness is a common retraining obstacle. However, the fix is the same as for a one-sided WP horse, or hunter, or eventer, etc: Evaluate the way you ride him and make sure that you aren't leaning or otherwise contributing to the issue; do lots of good bending, really riding him through the bend; look into an instructor or coach, knowledgeable eyes on the ground can be helpful in sorting out these kind of problems; and perhaps look into an equine chiro/massage therapist if there's a possibility that there is a deeper physical reason for the stiffness aside from being underworked on one side relative to the other.

Pro training experience has no bearing on whether or not a rider can affect the horse's balance and bend. Horses with pro training out the ears can be leaning, stiff, or bracey if the rider facilitates it, every bit as much as the average family/low level show horse.

Pics/video would be awesome!
     
    02-11-2010, 08:07 AM
  #10
Green Broke
Pics/videos may have to wait will not be riding for at least another week because of these stupid warts :(

I want to start getting lessons again the instructor I went to has moved away and she wasnt as expensive as everyone else but I will try and get lessons again and next time I ride I will deffinitly look at everything and if my friend is there I will get her to take pics and critise :)
     

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