Suppleness and bending
I have a ten year old ottb who is wonderful, but very stiff to the left :cry: we are going to our first event in september and need help getting him "UN STIFF" :lol: thanks
2. If vet okays everything, try a supplement. He is ottb and it is not at all uncommon for them to be sore from their racing days.
3. If still not bending, you need to do some excersizes on the ground to get him unbound. Have him yield his head BOTH ways. Once he does that well on the ground move to the saddle. (I'm sure many of the knowledgable HF members can help you greatly)
Remember, it is always better to assume its a medical issue, rule it out, and THEN continue working to correct the issue. If you assume its just behavioral or uneducation when its pain, you could make yourself a sour horse. I always try to check for pain before I move on. It may take more time but its worth it for a happy horse :)
Leg yields in both directions and all gaits! There are a lot of things to do, but this is an easy start.
Fortunately the majority of the vets at our clinic own and even compete with their horses. The first thing they would ask in this case is what have you tried so far and what was the reaction to the attempts.
If he is always equally stiff, run your hands down his back and neck to check for muscle tightness. Give him a massage, do some stretches- does it help? Does he flinch when you apply steady pressure down along his back?
Check the saddle. Make sure it isn't pinching, bridging, rocking, or pressing on his withers.
Look at his stance. Does he stand crooked? Are his feet flatter on one side than the other?
Even look in his mouth. Feel for sharp edges on his teeth or ulcerations on his cheeks. You may not have the expertise of a vet, but you can spot major issues, or get a feel for if the vet is necessary.
After you have exhausted all of your own resources, if you still feel that this may be a physical issue, then it is time to call the vet. If not, suppling exercises on the ground (carrot stretches, tail pulls, and stretching each leg- make sure you know how to do this properly) and finally under saddle can help. If I feel my horse begin to lock up on me, I find it very benificial to stop, take a break, and then gently suggest that they bend their neck back to my leg around 3 times in each direction. Then when you start going again, if you feel the same stiffness start to occur, apply the same aids. Your horse should begin to bend the neck, at which point you can stop the aids and continue foward. Leg yields and spiraling in and out on a circle are good for the horse that is stiff through the ribcage. Also lots of changes of direction can prevent Your horse from locking up on you.
Hope this helps!
Haha by "vet" I did not mean a barn visit or extensive testing. Nope, I'm a college kid and I am more poor than most :P
No by "vet" I mean talk to someone who may know why he is stiff (ie a vet). I call my vet all the time to get free advice and she determines if she thinks she needs to come out (which is rare). Maybe I just have a good vet? lol
The reason I put this is because the OP did not give the definition of "stiff" It can mean anything from refusing to bend to unable to bend, which is why I suggested starting on the ground. If they can't bend on the ground, they won't bend in the saddle.
Honestly where I am coming from is my gelding has an old ligament injury in his back hind which causes him to be peg legged when cantering. Thus I know his limitations, his range of motion when yielding his hind and bending is less. But I know this and can work around it, slowly helping him to stretch. This way I don't expect to be able to do something my horse physically can't do, or is in pain when doing.
JMO I would rather not assume anything when it comes to "stiff" especially since the OP says it is only one side that he is stiff too. And if I'm wrong all we did was make the OP call the vet. But if I'm right it saves frustration and time.
Horses often have an "off" side just like humans do, they bend better one way then to the other. Lots of long and low stretching would be beneficial to him, making sure your constantly bending him around your left leg turn your body and allow him to feel comfortable to the left and not restricted.
If things do not improve it could be sore, he could maybe have something to do with him shoulder or the wear and tear of being off track.
One Idea that i would NOT suggest is putting a surcingle and one side rein on and leaving him like that for a long period of time as this can lead to serious damage. ( My coach coach in Norway in her teen years groomed for a Olympic rider who did this and it was sick) Gradually build up his strength with short work outs and slowly increasing to longer periods. Eventually it should even out. Also ask yourself, "which way is MY better way?" make sure that the way your ride isn't restricting his ability to move.
Boy Amy good to say. Just saw a brutal trainer tie a 2 yr. old's head to it's tail with a bridle on on the 2nd day. Then, hit the horse. It fell over on it's head in the mud and couldn't move.
It was all I could do not to kill that monster.
It's sad what one must do to try and force a horse that much to do a simple task. i agree they are monsters
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