Horse Dropping Shoulder

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Horse Dropping Shoulder

This is a discussion on Horse Dropping Shoulder within the Western Pleasure forums, part of the Western Riding category

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    06-13-2011, 12:10 AM
Horse Dropping Shoulder

So.. I've got this new horse, she's an APHA mare and eventually I wish to show her locally and then go as far as a can up to bigger shows, maybe even world one day (: But currently she's got a few problems, and one happens to be a habit of being lazy and dropping her shoulders and putting all her weight on her front end and ends up as a peanut roller type most of the time . This isnt very fun to ride with either :P So.. how do I improve her gaits and get her collected and such? Im not very good with because Rio doesnt do this so I don't know how to fix it. Help! I can also get pictures/videos if it helps. (:
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    06-13-2011, 01:05 AM
My gelding had the same exact thing happening when I first got him! I found out later though, that I was the one causing him to drop his shoulder. I finally had a trainer out watching me and she noticed that I twisted my body to the outside instead of staying straight with him. So since I was twisting, he was dropping his shoulder and over compensating, which caused me to try and over correct. We were a mess for a while.. haha! So perhaps you could have someone come watch and make sure it's not you? Not saying it is, of course.

If it's really just a lazy horse, I would just suggest LOTS of inside leg and making her bend her body. Small circles until she picks up her shoulder and supports herself. Then move out to bigger circles.

Hope that helped! :)
    06-13-2011, 01:26 AM
Get more umph! Get his lazy arse moving! Once you get some drive out of the hind end, you will have more to "shape". Start there.
    06-13-2011, 01:53 PM
Forward first, headset last is what I always say. First get your horse moving forward on a long rein - she will quickly learn that if her nose is on the ground, she's going to trip and can't get out of her own way. The forward will make her naturally pick up her head. Once you have established proper forward then you can work on slowing her down, adjusting her gait, and adjusting where her head goes with a focus on not losing the impulsion you have build. Remember going slow (properly) takes more muscle than going fast!
    06-13-2011, 11:32 PM
Often it is the riders position that causes dropping of the shoulder. What I do to lift up the shoulders is take your inside rein lift it up, leave your outside rein down and use it to keep him on the wall if needed. Keep your inside leg on until he breaks at the poll and bends his neck. Make sure you have lots of impulsion when doing this at first. ^This also works to achieve a good head set.
    06-14-2011, 12:38 AM
Ok thanks everyone for the help :)
    06-30-2011, 11:44 AM
Counter cantering/lope will also help. Start with a good sized circle and ask for the outside lead (ie if you are going to the left ask for the right etc). My mare would fight me on this since it was natural for her. Circle the counter until the horse slightly begins to hold their shoulder correctly. At this point cut out of the circle and do a straight line (if the area you are working in isn't big enough to do that just cut across the circle and circle to the correct lead). Continue to lope/canter for a handful of strides (you do not want to allow your horse to drop the shoulder) and then break down to the walk. Give your horse LOTS of praise. The do the same on the other lead.

Do not over do this exercise though. The horse needs to built up their muscle and stamina... it is physically demanding to counter circle and to hold the shoulder up. The first few times the horse may fight the counter circle to start on a stright-away to get the lead you want and keep the opposite leg on to encourage the counter movement. Also switch your sessions up. Do not always start on the counter lead for your circles... sometimes ask for the correct lead. Otherwise they start to think on their own and if you show a pattern class you don't want your horse to do the wrong lead :)

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