Green horse has issues moving in a straight line.

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Green horse has issues moving in a straight line.

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    11-22-2012, 03:30 PM
Green horse has issues moving in a straight line.

My mare is actually a really great horse, considering she's five. Works off the leg, neck reins but when trotting she has a tenancy to sway back and forth zig zagging all over and not sticking to a straight line.
Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to keep her moving forward and straight?
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    11-22-2012, 08:03 PM
Are you supporting her with your legs?

She should be broke enough to know to stay between your legs and in the direction you want her to go. When you feel her start to bow or drift, push her back where she needs to be with your leg rather than pulling her around by her face.
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    11-22-2012, 09:23 PM
She's still young and you have an outdoor or indoor arena where you can work with her?
I would ride her following the rail and when she veers off use your legs to push her back to the outside, alot of horses won't go straight but having a wall/fence to follow helps teach them to go straight.....
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    11-24-2012, 08:22 AM
Super Moderator
Green horses have a tendency to ride like they are drunk. Riding along a rail does not help this -- it just teaches them to follow the rail -- not stay between the reins and the rider's legs.

Take him to an open field and ride with more 'purpose' and direction. Ride harder and faster and with more purpose. You need to focus on a spot a long ways in the distance. DO NOT look down at your horse!. Look ahead and ride to that target like you are on a mission.

I think you need to teach yourself and your horse how to lope circles WITHOUT a fence or pen to help you. I think that trotting and loping circles are absolutely necessary for any rider to become an effective or good rider and for any horse to become really broke. You cannot ride a straight line unless you can ride a good circle.

So, bottom line -- trot and lope toward a target and every 200 to 300 feet, trot or lope a 60 to 80 foot circle and then continue toward the target. Make sure you make each circle a different direction.

After doing this a few times, you should find that your horse can go across a field in a strait line and everything else will indicate that your horse is much better broke.

In the process, you will become a much better rider.
    11-24-2012, 09:13 AM
How I was taught, and it works, is when the horse is bouncing around between the legs then you put both calves on and squeeze the horse forward. It shouldn't be a prolonged squeeze. Somewhere between 3-5 seconds. And you release the pressure as soon as the horse starts to go straight again. I ride dressage, so contact with the bit is part of this, and I would gently close my fingers on the reins while squeezing with my calves to tell the horse to straighten up between my aids. Again, pressure is released the very second the horse steps straight between my legs and reins.

In addition to this you can help the horse develop it's balance better by working on circles, leg yields on a circle, and frequent changes of direction (frequency depends on fitness and age of horse).

The stronger the horse gets physically, the better she'll get at staying between the aids. But for those times when she's starting to bounce between the left and right, then you need to create more forward energy. Usually the wobble is due to sucking back and evading engaging the hind-end and abdomen. Sometimes it's just baby confusion too, but forward will still help.
    11-24-2012, 10:51 AM
I just read an excellent article on the subject by Buck Brannaman.

Eclectic Horseman Magazine - Centering Your Horse

Cherie's advice is good too. Get the horse accurate going left and right and then straightness lies in-between the two. Once you get straight, look up and line up two points (like a gun sight) and ride toward them. Lining up two points rather than focusing on just one and trying to stay aligned as you ride will really let you know how straight you are!
    11-24-2012, 09:32 PM
My horse had the same problem...She was a drunk.

At first she wouldn't stay on the rail. So in my mind I drew a 15 foot line from the wall to the arena.

If she went past the line I would put leg pressure, then lay the inside rein on her neck, and if she didn't respond I would use the outside rein to bring her back to the rail.

This took me FOREVER but she finally has stopped with that.

Same thing if your doing anything else, if she doesn't go in a straight line first apply leg pressure, then the opposite rein, then use the other rein to bring him back.

Good luck!
    11-27-2012, 01:14 AM
Serpentines. Don't look down!
    11-27-2012, 10:17 AM
One thing that I found through watching other riders is that if you are placing a little more pressure in one stirrup than the other it will cause the horse to veer in the direction of more pressure. Similar to a car that veers one direction because there is more pressure in the tire.
Just something to think about and look at while riding. I have seen people that are able to get a horse to turn just off of the amount of pressure/weight in one stirrup vs. the other.
    11-27-2012, 10:35 AM
Green Broke
This is my biggest pet peeve with a young horse. It drives me nuts when they don't move in a straight line!!!

But the fact of the matter is, is that they are still GREEN. You've gotten great advice on how to deal with it. I have nothing to add except lots and lots of miles and wet saddle blankets usually help solve the issue too.

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