Horse Bulges out on longe and under saddle
I am desparate for help on this one. I have a 7 year-old sound and healthy Paint who cannot go in a normal circle on the longe line or under saddle. He will make it about 2/3rds of the way around and then rubber neck and bulge out for the other 1/3rd. I have to tug on the longe line hard or use the outside leg hard to finally get him back on track after he has made 10 to 20 sideways steps. He is sometimes buldging toward the gate of the indoor or outdoor arena, but sometimes the buldge is just random. His steering under saddle is not great either. He can go in a straight line but will sometimes weave. It just seems like he wants to do his own thing and isn't really listening. We have done a ton of ground work and have a good relationship. I don't understand why he is doing this or how to start correcting it.
It's a little hard to say as you haven't said how long your horse has been under saddle. The behaviors you are talking about seem like "green horse things" If so, consistent, slow, quiet work will fix it. When starting a young horse I always carry a crop in my outside hand when I am first working on circles. Then, as I use an opening inside rein and keep the outside rein against his neck I will tap on the outside shoulder when my horse starts to deviate off the circle..usually they bulge out through their shoulder. I also always teach things at the walk before I try them at the trot.
You have said you use your outside leg. That is good. You can also try a bit of a counter bend (bend him out and push him in) on the circle when your horse begins to bulge. that also helps to catch the outside shoulder. As soon as the correction works allow your horse to go back to "straight ahead" on the circle.
As far as wandering or weaving a bit on the straight lines, make sure you are riding forward enough at the gait you are in. It is easier to stay straighter if you are going forward. The more you "slow down" the more weavy you usually tend to get. Also, the work you do with correcting your horse on the circle will actually help him stay straighter on your straight lines :wink:
Hi, welcome to the Horse Forum.
Your problem is a very common one. It comes from pulling too much on the reins and pushing too little with your legs.
If you want to teach a horse to make 'honest' circles (or straight lines), they MUST stay between your reins and legs. The horse that is pushing out on the 'barn-side' of a circle is pushing out against both the rider's legs and the against the inside rein.
The way to correct this is to teach 'leg yielding' exercises and to stop pulling on the inside rein when he is trying to drift out. Make the horse 'reverse bend' from your outside leg when you are on the barn-side of a circle and exaggerate his bend with an inside rein and the inside leg when he is on the far side of the ring. This is where a horse wants to 'drop his shoulder' and lean in. Very quickly the horse become tickled to stay between your reins and legs.
When I ride a horse, the instant the horse pushes the slightest bit against my outside leg, I 'drive' him very hard half way across the ring with that outside leg. I will gather him up tightly with the reins and keep his head to the outside and drive him over pretty roughly.
Like anything else, they correct so much better when you 'over-correct' them instead of nagging and pecking at them. When you over-correct the slightest mistakes, they are just so happy to comply with your 'lightest' aids. They are a lot happier in the long-run.
Where are you looking? Are you focusing on something much farther away or at the ground nearby? It does help the horse if your focus is farther away and that you not drop your chin.
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