Gaiting in an odd manner.
I have a 5 year old Spotted Saddle Mare, I got her when she was about 3. I am a decent rider, having ridden all my life. I always rode QH's. Hubby convinced me to try a TWH and I fell in LOVE!! I have had 3 gaited horses.
My mare now has a very smooth very slow saddle gait. But she is not STRAIGHT... I know that doesn't make sense so let me try to explain. When we are moving along, she always slightly pulls to the right and her back end is not straight in line with her front end.. just slightly off.
Is this normal, is it something I need to worry about???
Conformationally all horses are asymetrical (just as all persons are asymetrical). Some are more than others. Just where the asymetry lies and what its consequences are (or are not) is very individual.
If the horse is smooth, performs its job correctly, and shows no signs of distress or pain after a normal work session the answer is likely "no." In that case you apply the law of If It Ain't Broke Don't Fix It. :wink:
But, if you have issues under saddle or the horse needs days to recover from an hour of normal work then you do have a problem and it needs to be addressed.
In your situation:
1. I am asking you to please have a qualified chiropractor look at her.
2. If the chiro declares her sound, check your saddle.
3. If the saddle fits correctly, I am sorry but check yourself - lol lol
4. I have had Spondoliothesis for years and years and years -- I am now at Grade III, which interprets to 50% - 75% disabled and I rarely ride these days.
For years, my friends would tell me to sit up straight that I was leaning -- I would get huffy and tell them I WAS sitting straight, my eyes were looking straight between both ears.
Thennnn I looked at some pictures that were taken while riding all my horses. I could've cried because I was sitting crooked, even though my curved and deteriorated spine told me, in error, that I was sitting straight.
All these years of riding (I've been slowly deteriorating since a bad accident when I was 12), and my horses have somehow managed to compensate for my serious shortcoming. It's a good thing I never aspired to go into the show ring:-|
Have someone get a picture, of you on the mare while in motion. They need to be standing squarely in front of her, in order to show your position.
5. If all of the above prove fruitless (although my money is on needing a chiro), then she needs some work:-)
Hope this helps:-)
Thanks for the replies... I have wanted to get a chiro to look at my horses.. but there is not one anywhere near.. I will keep looking for one.
I just got a new saddle. The old saddle was "standard" tree and while most SSH are more narrow, my mare is broad... I just got a wide QH tree and she does seem much happier. But she still is not straight!
You are more than likely pulling harder on that rein. Check your stirrups as one could be longer due to you putting more pressure on it, or it could be uneven to begin with.
And video would be good.
My horse does that. Some of it was sitting crooked and not knowing. Some of it was inequal holding of the reins. While working on that we also worked on "straightening" in a dressage sense where the shoulders should be slightly away from the wall or fence, to be traveling straight on the inside. We did a lot of turn on the haunches/forhand to teach leg cues and rein cues. We did a lot of circle work. On the straightaway, it was a matter of contact with the outside rein, outside leg slightly back, inside rein asking shoulders in (not a steady pull, ask, release, ask release. At the same time as the release, inside leg pushing haunches over, leg, ease, leg ease. I hope I explained that right, if someone else can explain it better, please do. The contact on the outside rein is to keep the head and shoulder together, not just bend at the neck.
My inequalities had to be corrected so that I could give the right aids to the horse to move her hiney out, and her shoulders in, and be straight on the inside.
After reading all the replies.. I think it could very well be ME.. gasp!!!!
I have horrible posture and probably sit in the saddle funny, I will have to tell hubby to watch us and see.
THANKS to everyone for their thought!!!
There are so many possible causes of "moving crooked" that without an experienced eye noting possible problems you can spend lots of time and money fixing things that are not broke.
You might also consider engaging a local instructor who knows what they are about to watch you for a lesson or two. This, too, can be a real "smug basher" but can yield real, positive results.
Good luck in your program.
Guilherme, so so true! The camera/video is the big truth. I did that years ago and cried my eyes out.
We did the most wonderful endurance clinic years ago, with a young man training the US Olympic riders. I cannot remember his name. He videoed us riding in the ring, then hacking out on the trail, and then showed the videos in our lunch meeting. HORRIFYING!!
We then went out to the barn, and did exercises on a balance board. When we ride so many miles by ourselves, and get so tired, we develop strange postures, but gradually, so our brain is compensating, and we FEEL straight. Sometimes you can see this from uneven wear on the stirrups, or stirrup leathers.
Could be nobody ever asked her to go straight, so she crabs along. You might try pushing her hindend over and gradually get her straighter.
Good Luck with her!
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