Hereis a copy of what I just wrote for someone else with a horse that has a stiff side and a limber side and travels crooked. It is the exact same advice I would give you.
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.
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.
Leg yielding exercises and lateral work coming off of your right leg will get him centered. I particularly like to track to the left and at the end of the long side of the ring, do a half circle to the left (taking you about 30 feet from the rail) and then leg yield back to the rail, trying very hard to stay as parallel to the rail as possible. Be sure that your horse bends around your leg when doing the 'leg yielding' part back to the rail. It is real easy to just have a horse bend his neck and stay stiff through the body, which won't fix a thing.