causes of horse pulling to one side while riding - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 03-23-2013, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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causes of horse pulling to one side while riding

riding my gelding last year, I noticed my gelding pulling to one side pretty hard. im not sure what causes it and was looking for possible reasons. he did have and injury that took a number of months to heal(slipped on ice that spring and was lame after due to strain of some sort). I had the vet check him out and said to start riding him again. after the lameness went away he pulled hard to the right, and his lameness was on him left rear. his mouth is good, and all tack fits well. after 10 minutes of riding i have a bruise on my leg from applying so much pressure, and put a lot of pressure on the bit when he used to have a soft mouth. even with that i still have trouble keeping him straight. his feet are regularly done, and my farrier seems pretty good, but its not my area of expertise so what i feel is good may not be, but my vet had the same opinion of his feet. hes pretty accident prone and every year he seems to do something where i cant ride him for months, so hes not well muscled either
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post #2 of 5 Old 03-23-2013, 04:28 PM
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I would say he is misaligned high in his neck and possible through diagonal shoulder / hind quarter.
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post #3 of 5 Old 03-23-2013, 07:56 PM
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If he checks out with no soundness issues, it simply means that he is just 'leaning' on you and you are accommodating him by 'propping up' that side of him. This is not unusual.

A rider's job is to keep a horse 'centered' and must keep that horse between the reins and between the rider' legs. Any time a horse 'drifts' to one side or pushes out or leans in, the rider must correct the situation. Once you let the push on you, they seem to push or lean harder and harder.

Most horses have a 'stiff side' and a 'limber side'. They want to be stiff and not bend one way with a tendency to lean or drop a shoulder on that side. The other side is limber and they tend to be 'rubber necked' and 'over-bend' on that side or when going that direction. They 'talk' their riders into keeping the rein tight on that limber side and force the ride to constantly push on their stiff side.

[How am I doing so far?]

This is why reining training involves so much lateral flexion and bending while moving forward at the lope. You have to be able to move every part of the horse's body in order to keep the horse straight and between the reins and legs of the rider.

The best way to correct a horse that has learned to push is to remove the prop they are pushing against and replace it with an 'over-correction' driving it back the other direction. If the horse is manipulating a rider into pulling on the left rein while his body is pushing against the rider's right leg, the rider needs to get the horse obedient enough so that he rider can take the horse's head to the right and 'drive' the horse's body to the left.

Teaching a horse to do 'leg yielding' exercises while driving it hard in the opposite direction is the only way to correct a horse. I usually get a horse to the point that I can lope circles with 'reverse bend' and can lope diagonally across the arena or work area driving it with the leg on the horse's stiff side.

You absolutely have to quit letting the horse lean on one rein and push against one leg. Use a spur or a crop and push the horse 20 feet or more over the opposite direction any time he ties to lean until he is willing to remain centered with no leaning or pushing. This will take a lot of work on your part because you have let this horse lean on you for quite a while.

I would have a good chiropractor look at him first. But even if he has a chiropractic problem, once it is fixed, he is still going to want lean on one rein and push against one leg and you will only be able to fix it like I outlined above.
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post #4 of 5 Old 03-24-2013, 12:09 PM
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Could be a lot of things. Could be he's just taking advantage of you, could be a problem in his neck/shoulder.
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post #5 of 5 Old 03-24-2013, 02:32 PM
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You say he's pulling to one side when you ride, have you ever just dropped the reins and let him go to see where he's trying to go? A lot of people make the mistake of assuming that how a horse rides is how a horse moves when he's free, a horse doesn't want to pick up a certain lead so they assume he can't, or a horse doesn't want to bend his body properly in a certain direction so they assume he can't. Then when they drop the reins and just rest on the horse's back and ask them to go, they find that the horse actually does know all those things, they were just being resistant to a cue somewhere. That's my way of finding out if it's something I'm doing or if it's a lameness problem, I drop all cues and simply ask the horse to go and see what they do.
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