Horse is stiff going clockwise. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 05-22-2013, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Holton, KS
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Horse is stiff going clockwise.

I am almost positive he is not in pain. I've checked his back, stretched him after warming up.. I've even massaged the sucker several times! I've come to the conclusion that this is just simply a conditioned response that either I or his previous owner ingrained in him. Unfortunately I'm just now realizing the importance of softness and bend. So now I'm dealing with how to reverse this.

To give you an idea of what goes on: When we circle counterclockwise he is soft, will yield to my leg and will make the circle smaller or larger when asked. When walking in a straight line I can ask for a slight bend to the left and he immediately and pleasantly complies.

Now I ask for him to go to the right. No matter how little pressure I apply to the inside rein or how much inside leg I use he refuses to bend or give the head/neck. His neck generally stays fairly straight and he will root his nose out and lean on the rein. I've tried holding pressure until he rounds, adding more pressure.. and it just doesn't do a darn thing. When going in a straight line If I ask for a slight bend in his body to the right.. nope we just turn. Refuses to bend at all. When standing still he gives to both directions well. However I've noticed that the offending side.. his neck isn't smooth, relaxed or curved. Its like he moves his neck at the shoulder and his head at the pole but won't bend the neck. I can physically manipulate his neck in the way I want it. Like I can grab his head and bend his neck. (on the ground)

I know he isn't purposely doing this to be a pain in the butt. He is fairly to kind and willing for that. I think this is purely a conditioned response that I unknowingly created.

My first few years with him I had not a clue about true connection or horsemanship. I didn't understand the fine tuning and the subtle things. Now I do.. or at least I am starting to.. and I realize the giant mess I've made for myself. I'm at a loss because I really do not know how to help him understand what I want, but I don't want to go on riding him this way either. I will try and post a video as soon as possible as I am sure that would assist things! This is only at the walk. I'm not about to make him trot when he isn't completely soft at the walk.

Thank you for reading my book, and advice, exercises, etc. are appreciated. I will talk to my BO about getting their Chiro friend down to check Duke out as well. I just really don't think this is pain.

I'm also hoping for some lessons soon, but for now I'm on my own.

Last edited by HighonEquine; 05-22-2013 at 10:01 PM. Reason: Extra Details
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post #2 of 5 Old 05-22-2013, 10:11 PM
Join Date: Aug 2010
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Sounds like his neck need some work from a competent chiropractor.
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post #3 of 5 Old 05-23-2013, 04:11 PM
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A LOT of horses are one sided.. soft to one direction and not to the other. The thing to do is to work the stiff direction a bit more. Work on bending and gymnastics and so forth and it will improve.

This statement assumes your horse has always been stiff to one side. I would be willing to bet he takes up the left lead easier than the right as well.

If this is a new problem, then chiro etc. may help.

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill
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post #4 of 5 Old 05-23-2013, 04:45 PM
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In the stable get a carrot and encourage him to follow it around to take it from your hand by his elbow. You might have to stand one side against the wall so he doesn't move his quarters away do this both sides. If he has a misalignment in his neck then he will find it very hard on the bad side. If he can do both sides equally then he is just being difficult when refusing to bend right.

The carrot exercise is a good one, for suppling you can get them to take it from between their legs, by their ribs and even their hips.
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post #5 of 5 Old 05-24-2013, 11:38 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Holton, KS
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I have in fact tried the carrot stretch before, which is why I'm led to believe that this is just him not being soft. He can do equally on both sides.

So besides circles, what can I do to get him more supple and soft on the offending side?
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