My horses right side is much stronger then his left what are some things I can do...
to build up his left?
Now this is really weird and long so bare with me.
When we go to the right (my weak side his strong over muscled side) I have a hard time getting him to do a true bend. When we go to the left (my strong side, his underdeveloped side) I get a great bend. His right shoulder bows out sometimes but I have started lifting my left hand a tad while using alot of left leg and this is helping alot. So how do I build up his left side to be as strong as his right? Do I work more to the right or the lfet?
When I do turns on the haunches should I work more to the left or right?
When I do on the fore should I work more to the right or left?
Now I am a H/J so I don't know the correct dressage term but I will explain and you tell me if I should do more to the right or left?
When you are walking and first the horses front legs cross and then the next step their back legs cross. (hope this all makes sense) Should I do more of these to the right or left?
Basicaly I am looking for things to do to buid up muscle on his left and also looking to stretch his right side muscles to make them more flexible.
Thanks for any help.
I don't really have any advice except to continue to practice/work your horse in that direction. In my experience, it's not strength, but that most horses are naturally 'lefties' or 'righties'.
What is actually happening is horse horse is avoiding going straight and the problem actually starts with the hind legs. His right hind leg is in fact traveling outside the frame of his body to avoid using it to carry himself properly. A horse capable of carrying himself and rider equally ( or almost equally) has hind legs that travel directly underneath himself equally. Avoiding that even loading results in the horse appearing to be softer or easier to ride on the opposite side.
You horse's right hind leg is traveling forward and in a direction away from his body and as a result the left hind is forced to carry more weight and since his left is stronger he is happy doing that. What you need to do is to get the horse to bear more weight on the right to strengthen it and to do this shoulder ins and leg yields are the best exercises. These you will do to the right so the the right hind leg is forced (via positioning) to bear more weight.
Spyder gave you some great advice.
I would also add that the best idea to help with a one sided horse is circles. Circles, and spiral ins and serpentines, where you are almost exxagerating the bend (although make sure the bend is coming from around his ribcage and not simply from his neck). Because you don't JUST want to work on the one side that is weak; instead you want to make it so that both sides work evenly.
shoulder ins are only effective if they are done right, otherwise, they can have an adverse effect of unbalancing the horse completely on the side that you are trying to fix. so make sure you understand exactly how to ride one - and it might be beneficial, especially if he's stiff, to have a more experienced rider get on him for a couple of rides to help him through it the first couple of timesd.
I would also suggest riding on the quarterline instead of the wall, so when you go straight, you can get a feeling of how straight he actually is and how much leg it requires for you to keep him straight and away from the wall. If you're consistent with your legs, you'll find that you can get him to step much more evenly on both hind legs than you would if you were travelling up alongside the wall.
finally, look at getting him a good chiropractor/massage. Something could be a bit out of allignment that is causing this one sideness, and if that's the case, they usually feel much better afterwards :)
Good advice Spyder.
I always recommend doing exercises like the following to get a more supple horse:
- true flexion & counter bending, first "on the large" then on circles
- serpentines (you can add counterflexing here as well)
- lots and lots of circles
- haunches in
- shoulder in
- leg yields
Sky, that is funny you say to look into a chiro or mass. I actually just had a massage therapist out 2 weeks ago and she is the one who told me that his right side is very tight over muscled and much larger then his left. She actually had me get on a hay bale behind him when he was squared up to see the difference in his right shoulder and right butt muscle ( quite a difference from his left side) She said that she did not feel anything out of alignment so she didn't think he needed a chiro.
Thanks Spyder for your info. by the way is the name of the crossing of front legs then back legs just called leg yeilding? That is what we H/J call it but was not sure in Dressage.
So basiclly I want to do more leg yeilding getting his right hind underneith himself? Can you explain why I am trying to get his right hind to use itself more if his right is the overdeveloped side again, I am just having a hard time trying to wrap my brain around this. I thought I should do leg yeilds going to the right getting his left hind to use itself more.
I do have a trainer now (had 2 lessons since the message) and she rode him this last time so she could feel what I am up against so she could truely understand what he (he being my horse) needs me to do to improve our riding.
JDI thanks for your input also, I to agree with doing serpentines, circles, leg yeilding.
But I have not tried counter bending him yet or done any haunches in or shoulder ins due to him and I (mostly I) learning on the fore and turns on the haunches. I am learning the feeling of it when he does it at a stand still so I can make sure I know when he is doing it at the walk.
Thanks for the advice I will deffinatly be using it. Although I have to be slow he is a 17yr old OTTB that has had knee surgery for a chip (from racing) and before I bought him one of his back hawks had a big injury. Now that I am thinking of that I wonder if it is the hawk that spyder said he is not using fully. I will have to check that out.
Anything else someone would like to input is fine.
You can see this yourself. Stand up straight. Then bend your body so the your right shoulder is pushed out and your waist is also pushed out to the right. You will look like you are bent to the left. Now if you swung your right leg forward without trying to actually place it anywhere you will see it lands forward and slightly right. If you kept the same bend position and swung your left leg forward again without trying to place it anywhere it will be more true and land almost directly in front of you and maybe even slightly to the right.
Now imagine your horses hind leg that has to support himself and you and every time that right leg lands outside the frame of his body he is making it easier to bend left and push the right side of his body against your leg. His right hind is doing minimal work because it is not UNDER the horse and if you yourself walked and swung your right leg more right than straight you will be veering to the right as your stronger left will force you right (the one now able to support you and supply pushing power). You could almost liken him to a crippled plane with no power in the right wing....the left wing will turn the plane right. So what you need to do is straighten him up and get him to respect and be more responsive to your right leg. Pushing the horse over with that right leg forces the horse to constrict the right side and stretch the left. Leg yields will do this. If you leg yield on the left side you are enhancing the stretched out right side and constrained left side which is not what you want to do.
Oh my god that made total sence!! Thank you! Sometimes I just nedd a little more explanation to get it through my thick skull!! LOL Thanks so much for taking the time to explain for me I tend to over think things but I just truely want to understand eveything that is going on my beloved boy .
Glad you could see it through. Crookedness in a horse is way more common than people think and most try to bandage the sympton without understanding the cause.
There are quite a few people on this forum that will be glad to help if you have any other problems.
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