Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Eventing Country
• Horses: 0
I don't think testing has anything to do with it - it's the fact that he isn't using his body properly. There is no quick cure fix for this, he is unbalanced, going around on his forehand and not using himself properly.
Only his rider is going to beable to teach him to use himself correctly, but that can only be achieved if the rider is using themselves properly.
My horse used to be heavy in my hands a lot when I first started riding him. His previous owner could get on him, and get him using himself properly. Then I would get on him, and guess what - he'd go right back to hanging off my hands.
When I learnt how to use myself correctly, to get him to use himself properly, the issue went away. Dressage, dressage, dressage, dressage - learning how to ride in a proper position, using my seat and my legs and driving him forward into the bit - riding back to front, not front to back - that's what fixed it.
Now I can ride him without him being on my hands. If he gets heavy, I correctly myself first, and then correct him. I can have friends get on him, and guess what - he's heavy on their hands, because they aren't riding him correctly to get him to use himself properly. He says "oh hey, free ride, this will be easy" and guess what, he's right.
Remember, our horses reflect 100% of what we do in the tack.
This is a horse that is moving how he knows how to move. As you said, he has been going this way for years because his rider didn't know how to use herself properly, to get him to use himself effeciantly. So he has 0 muscle development to allow him to carry himself, so how is he supposed to if he's not being shown how? That is why he is heavy in your hands - because he is unbalanced, undeveloped, and is relying on you to carry him.
Start doing exercises to get him off of his forehand. Seat into Legs into Hands - inside leg into outside rein. Drive that back end, get him to open up and move under himself, tracking up, engaged, back lifted up into your seat.
Your body must be correct as well, you must beable to use yourself to help him. Your body cannot be on his forehand, strong seat, legs lifting his back up into your seat, strong core, opened hip angle, tall upper body, opened chest, carried hands - ride back to front.
I suggest dressage lessons if you can do it - that will help both you and your horse.
I wish you all the best!