unblanced and stiff at the right lead canter.
Hi. When we canter to the left, there are no problems at all, nice and flowing. When we go into the canter on the right lead he goes into it alright, but when he gets in it, it feels fast, stiff and unbalanced. The trot to the right seems a little unbalance too and not collected like the right side. Any suggestions on how to improve his right lead or right side overall??
We all seem to have a tendency to work our horses more in one direction then the other. If it isn't a physical problem then I would work him more to the right especially with a lot of circles. That will help him develop some balance on that side. I would also consider how I'm sitting on him, putting more weight one one side then the other. Sometimes we are unbalancing our horses without realizing it.
My first thought was is this horse an OTTB? Horses off the race track always seem to go to the left better...since that is the way they run. In that case it might just take time, training, patience. If the horse previously was doing fine on both sides and just started going poorly to the right...I would do a lameness exam with a vet...maybe let a chiropractor take a look at him...and don't forget the hooves. Make sure he is physically balanced on both sides. If all that checks out ok...he may just need to loosen up on that side with some riding work. You could try laterals, serpentines, etc. Sometimes you have to ride in swervy, curvy lines to get your horse to go straight...sounds weird but it works. Make sure you aren't just going around and around in a circle...that could make anybody stiff.
I would have a good equine chiropractor out to check him. I prefer one that is also a licensed vet. My mare started misbehaving one direction suddenly and we figured out that she pulled a long back muscle on one side (likely from slipping or playing too hard out in the pasture). She had a few vertebrae out because of it too. After 3 treatments, some massage, and a few weeks off she was back to new!
I would have the chiro check his back, withers, hips, and your saddle fit.
I would also have someone video you while you're riding. Try to get a shot of you coming and going at all gaits, down the rail and around your turns. When you view the video, pay attention to your hip and shoulder alignment, hands, legs, and your head (where you're looking and if your head is tilted). You could be dropping on one side a bit and not realize it. I had that problem because of a shoulder injury. My right shoulder dropped considerably in the saddle and I had no clue! Once we figured it out and I addressed it, my mare's odd behavior when going one way stopped! It took a long time to permanently correct it, and I still have to self check if my mare acts oddly just to make sure it's not me, lol.
Your saddle could also be off balance. If there is a saddle repair shop near you, take your saddle in and have them check the tree, stirrup alignment (and length!), and flocking (if it's English). If anything is off kilter even just 1/4", it can effect your position and how your horse goes.
If ALL of this checks out, then I would do some work on the lunge line in side reins and work over trot poles. I'll post instructions for both after you have had all of the above checked out and confirmed okay :D.
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