Horse needs help with balance ... what to do?! - The Horse Forum

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 13 Old 04-23-2010, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
Foal
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: London
Posts: 39
• Horses: 0
Exclamation Horse needs help with balance ... what to do?!

I need some help with my mare who has been getting stronger lately and we think this is because she is using speed to compensate for her lack of balance.
She is not young ... she has just turned 10 and she was really quite well balanced until a few months ago. I have recently been getting lessons cos I felt my riding getting awful and was not enjoying my pony as much and realised all the faults with my riding. My instructor is literally amazing, but since we've been working on my positional faults to get the pony going better, she seems to have gotton faster and less balanced which is wierd. She finds it hard to carry herself straight around corners so speeds up and turns her head to the outside of the arena, and finds it very hard to canter in a circle without going EXTREMELYYY fast! I don't know why this has come on so quicjly (maybe it hasnt but it seems like it) but saw it really clearly when I lunged her today and noticed how she uses speed to compensate for her lack of balance!

I do not know what I can do to help .. I've been suggested to start lungeing and riding in a bungee to keep her head low and striaght and encourge her to use her back and build right muscles but don't know how effective this'll be. I also wanna keep riding but one of my hands is noticably stronger on the reins than the other (working on this with my instructor) and don't want this to hinder her balance.
\
Any ideas on what to do to help imrove her balance will be much appreciated as im finding it very difficult to ride her lately and want her balance back!! :) thanks guys
samskye347 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 13 Old 04-23-2010, 01:21 PM
Trained
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Northern Utah
Posts: 5,455
• Horses: 1
Usually when you get a horse that is unbalanced the answer is at the end of the reins. Look at yourself first and make sure that your amazing instructor is not screwing something up. Make sure that your horse is sound and not hurting on one or more legs. Sometimes if a horse is a little sore on either the front or hind feet they won't limp but thier stride will change so make sure there is no unsoundness in the horse. Also it may be a control issue and not a balance issue. Start at the walk and the trot ans make sure that you can control the horses speed within each gait. When you add speed small problems get amplified and you have to slow down and fix the problems when they are small to elimanate the problem when you go faster.

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
kevinshorses is offline  
post #3 of 13 Old 04-23-2010, 01:40 PM
Foal
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 170
• Horses: 0
Quote:
Originally Posted by samskye347 View Post
ive been suggested to start lungeing and riding in a bungee to keep her head low and striaght and encourge her to use her back and build right muscles
I think you're talking about lunging with side reins, and if so I would definitely give it a try. The whole purpose of lunging with side reins is to help horses find their balance without interference from a rider.

Quote:
Originally Posted by samskye347 View Post

One of my hands is noticably stronger on the reins than the other .
Bingo!

When we start working on our position, it's very easy to overcompensate/overfocus on one thing and throw ourselves out of whack in other ways.

If you're familiar with side reins, a good visual for riding is to imagine your hands as side reins. No matter what your horse does (and it sounds like she's crooked, not surprising, many horses are) twisting here, bulging out there, you keep your hands exactly where they're supposed to be, and of course keep your body straight too. It's not exactly easy, but what is in riding?
Rule of Reason is offline  
post #4 of 13 Old 04-23-2010, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
Foal
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: London
Posts: 39
• Horses: 0
I do think, actually I KNOW that I am a big part of the problem!
I used to have really soft hands and could control her without having a firm hold on the reins, but since she's gotton stronger over winter and my instructor has been telling me to close my hands on the reins (i used to go around with my fingers open just clucthing the reins) I just have become quite strong with my hands which results in a sort-of battle which I hate! And one of my hands IS stronger and I naturally hold higher than the other which no matter how hard I try to correct usually just happens again in any pace faster than walk, so I know I have to have a more even contact on the reins, but how do I learn that on my pony when she just goes faster and I naturally reach for the reins to even the pace?! I do use my body to try and contain the pace but its impossible without some use of the rein, but I honestly don't want to make the situation worse by riding with my uneven hands :(

If there any exercises for me to work on my hands and an even contact I can use when I ride?
And I have been riding in mainly walk and trot since I saw this getting worse, and the whole thing got so much better as I started working on soft hands, but when I introduced small bits of canter everything id improved went out of the window so I don't know what to do!!!

Thank you guys for your input though and any more advice will be great :)
samskye347 is offline  
post #5 of 13 Old 04-23-2010, 03:14 PM
Foal
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 170
• Horses: 0
Quote:
Originally Posted by samskye347 View Post
I do think, actually I KNOW that I am a big part of the problem!
I used to have really soft hands and could control her without having a firm hold on the reins, but since she's gotton stronger over winter and my instructor has been telling me to close my hands on the reins (i used to go around with my fingers open just clucthing the reins) I just have become quite strong with my hands which results in a sort-of battle which I hate!
I remember this struggle so well myself. Just keep working on it. You're trying to correct a bad habit, which takes much longer than creating a new one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by samskye347 View Post
I do use my body to try and contain the pace but its impossible without some use of the rein,
No it's not. You need to teach your pony half-halts. Does your instructor talk about them? If so, yes she probably says to use the rein, but you should work on using your body really strongly and using the reins only for the tiniest bit of guidance. With one crazy horse I worked with, I'd just point him at the wall and do my half-halts, and if he didn't respond, pretty soon there was a wall in front of him. Start at the walk and go to the trot only when it's going well at the walk. Experiment with seeing how little rein you can use. It's like a conversation with your horse.

Quote:
Originally Posted by samskye347 View Post
I have been riding in mainly walk and trot since I saw this getting worse, and the whole thing got so much better as I started working on soft hands, but when I introduced small bits of canter everything id improved went out of the window
Your seat probably isn't as good at the canter. With the extra canter movement, your hands probably aren't as steady. Again, this is normal. Keep working hard on walk and trot, and have only a few steps of canter, then go back to trot BEFORE it starts to fall apart.
Rule of Reason is offline  
post #6 of 13 Old 04-23-2010, 03:36 PM
Started
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,975
• Horses: 0
contact

How much riding do you do on a loose rein, meaning no contact at all? I was just reading about this: every time you unnecessarily ride with contact (standing there yakking, going to arena from barn, trail riding, etc.) you're ruining horse's mouth! The major part of riding should be on a truly loose rein. Giving your horse that 80-90% of the time you're with it, as well as not leading horse with the taut lead/rein, will do wonders for its mouth.
Northern is offline  
post #7 of 13 Old 04-23-2010, 03:53 PM
Started
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,975
• Horses: 0
Sorry to double, but my edit functions are covered by a pop-up I can't get rid of: in longeing, I hope she's not on hardpack! She needs well-banked perimeter for her balance & body. Plus, only your pony can teach you! You want to be with your pony, instinctively, not on top of it doing what somebody else says to do, to your intellect. There's lots of free info online that I think'd be helpful, too. Good luck!
Northern is offline  
post #8 of 13 Old 04-23-2010, 05:02 PM
Foal
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 170
• Horses: 0
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern View Post
How much riding do you do on a loose rein, meaning no contact at all? I was just reading about this: every time you unnecessarily ride with contact (standing there yakking, going to arena from barn, trail riding, etc.) you're ruining horse's mouth! The major part of riding should be on a truly loose rein. Giving your horse that 80-90% of the time you're with it, as well as not leading horse with the taut lead/rein, will do wonders for its mouth.
:roll:
Rule of Reason is offline  
post #9 of 13 Old 04-23-2010, 11:42 PM
Foal
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Greenville IL
Posts: 81
• Horses: 0
lol
Posted via Mobile Device
Kaioti is offline  
post #10 of 13 Old 04-24-2010, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
Foal
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: London
Posts: 39
• Horses: 0
Thank you Rule of Reason, your answer made me realise that whilst I am making things worse at the minute, there are ways to improve things which is definitely a positive thought and which I am definitely going to continue with!!!
And yes, my instructor does tell me to use half-halts to slow her down,and to have a contact so there is no slack in the reins, and use half-halts to steady the pace which I understand the concept of and do use them and will just take it slowly until im happy with it walk and then trot before I head to the canter!
And I do know exactly what you mean about how long these faults take to get rid of; considering I feel like this came on overnight!

And to be honest, I do the majoirty of my walk on a long rein, but with my horse, even when I first got her and she was an angel to ride(without me being awful with my hands) she needed you to have a feel on the reins, a contact with her mouth. Not so much that she needs your hands to balance with as she was and still is light in the mouth but needs you there for support. Well I personally think anyway and as did my instructor who has ridden her a few times. I know the importance of not being overly harsh on the mouth so as to make it 'dead' but think you have to alter this to each horse?? I know I horse who does not like contact AT ALL with his mouth and will go in a steady, lovely pace and turn, slow and speed up on a loose rein but not all will!
samskye347 is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.



User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

« Lunging | Canter »
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Balance Moxie Horse Riding 18 02-22-2011 02:30 PM
Improving balance? Wallaby Horse Training 1 03-24-2010 02:48 PM
My horse can't keep his balance amigo82 Horse Talk 6 09-26-2008 05:21 PM
Teaching horse to balance kitten_Val Horse Training 3 07-29-2008 07:30 PM
Balance Abby Horse Training 14 02-02-2008 12:11 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome