Looking for additional exercises to try - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 11-19-2014, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
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Looking for additional exercises to try

My guy has a really annoying tendency to resist using his right side correctly - poll, neck, shoulder, ribs, hind leg.

One big annoyance is his tendency to carry his right rib cage considerably to the right and blocking my aids on that side. He's been checked and double checked - it's not a vet, chiro, saddle fit, farrier, etc issue. It is conformationally-based that has become a bad "habit" his whole life (he's 6 now). I also do trigger point and light massage before, during, and after every workout.

He'd gotten to a point where he was consistently better about carrying himself mostly straight. Then, I didn't see him for 6/7 weeks while i packed up the old house and moved into the new house. Now, we're almost back to square one with this. I "came back" ~4 weeks ago and it seems like we're making progress more slowly than we did before his "vacation".

We work on this in various ways during my lessons. I try to continue in between lessons. We do the following to work on overall straightness, flexibility, etc.: serpentines, snowmen, bow ties, leg yield, shoulder in, shoulder fore, leg yield head out on the circle, shoulder in on the circle (could be shoulder fore, but I'm not entirely sure on exact terminology), quarter pirouette, quarter turn on the forehand, and we just started learning to back correctly. We don't do everything in one session. It all gets mixed in amongst other things. I do apologize if I gum up any terms. My trainer is a dressage person and I'm not, so she "dumbs down" some of the terms for my benefit and I just simply mix up some of them on my own.

Does anyone have any other ideas or suggestions?

The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears. ~Arabian Proverb
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post #2 of 7 Old 11-20-2014, 01:49 AM
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You have quite the load of exercises at your disposal, but let me ask the obvious questions.

What about his conformation prevents him from working as correctly on that side?

Are you sure that he is is resisting your aids on his right side and isn't just left sided so to speak and is more mentally prepared to go left?

How much do you ask for at a time? When he does get off your right leg well and he's doing more than you, do you give him an instant release so you can build upon that later?

Are you sure that your position isn't effecting his way of going?
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post #3 of 7 Old 11-20-2014, 08:13 AM
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I know that you say he's been checked and double checked, but, on a horse that strongly one sided, I'd be very concerned about EPM.

Has he been specifically tested for EPM? The spinal fluid test is the definitive one.

BTW, I am curious as to how a conformational issue can make a horse one sided?
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post #4 of 7 Old 11-20-2014, 09:05 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BreakableRider View Post
You have quite the load of exercises at your disposal, but let me ask the obvious questions.

What about his conformation prevents him from working as correctly on that side?

Are you sure that he is is resisting your aids on his right side and isn't just left sided so to speak and is more mentally prepared to go left?

How much do you ask for at a time? When he does get off your right leg well and he's doing more than you, do you give him an instant release so you can build upon that later?

Are you sure that your position isn't effecting his way of going?

I couldn't give you exact details. The idea i was told was that the right leg (the one with the club) has a different conformation from the left. In some way this has an impact on his shoulder structure. Basically, it ends up being more comfortable for him to carry himself using the left side muscles significantly more than the right side muscles.

Both are true. Yes, he's truly resisting the aids on the right side, and yes, he's left-sided and more willing to use that side and move that direction.

I've made a lot of improvement on rewarding correct movement - however brief it may be - quickly. I don't ask for more than i physically know that he can do. After dealing with this for so long, I've gotten a good understanding of how much he can work on it before it's too much for him. I know when he's being a brat and stubborn and when something is truly difficult for him. I don't fight him like i used to. I set up the aids and let him get to the result on his own. Like my trainer says, "it's not my half ton. " We work on it for a bit and then move on to something else. Then we'll come back to it for a bit and then move on again.

On occasion I'm my own worst enemy, but when he's struggling, the first thing i check is me. Make sure my shoulders are level, my core is engaged, I'm looking where i want to look, my legs are where they should be, the hips are relaxed, shoulders ate relaxed, hands are correct, etc. During my lessons i make sure to ask about my position first, but it's not often that I'm the problem anymore. Now, in the beginning i was very much a problem. My trainer would spend almost an entire lesson on me alone. Now she'll tell me when I'm doing something wrong so i can learn to recognize it on my own, which i generally can now.
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post #5 of 7 Old 11-20-2014, 09:08 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DanielDauphin View Post
I know that you say he's been checked and double checked, but, on a horse that strongly one sided, I'd be very concerned about EPM.

Has he been specifically tested for EPM? The spinal fluid test is the definitive one.

BTW, I am curious as to how a conformational issue can make a horse one sided?
He exhibits no signs of EPM, so I'm not at all concerned about it. No, he hasn't been treated for it.
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post #6 of 7 Old 11-20-2014, 09:15 AM
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So, he's club footed?

If that is the case, then he can certainly improve over time. I knew a cutting stallion that won over 100k and was club footed. You'd never have known it to watch him work a cow. Most of the club footed horses that I have known, however, will never be just right. Unless you are looking to compete at a very high level though, that shouldn't interfere with regular enjoyable riding so much.
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post #7 of 7 Old 11-20-2014, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DanielDauphin View Post
So, he's club footed?

If that is the case, then he can certainly improve over time. I knew a cutting stallion that won over 100k and was club footed. You'd never have known it to watch him work a cow. Most of the club footed horses that I have known, however, will never be just right. Unless you are looking to compete at a very high level though, that shouldn't interfere with regular enjoyable riding so much.

Yeah, it's a mild club. The only time he's ever been lame on it was when the farrier i had kept him trimmed incorrectly and the club got really bad. I switched farriers and haven't had a problem since.

I know a lot of successful show horses with clubs in everything from barrel racing to park classes. I'm not worried about doing anything high level with him, though.
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