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Discussion Starter #1
I am going to put up a series of dressage definitions for discussion so as a supplement to the suppleness thread, crookedness is almost as least known ( or fuzzy in understanding).

Definition

Crookedness is produced when one hind leg evades the even loading of weight by not advancing forward but to the side. This will result in the horse moving in a direction that is not in the direction of motion.

This is one of the most difficult evasions to correct as many will think their horse is straight but in fact is not.

I am putting these threads up for discussion and questions that may be asked by those starting ( or advancing) in dressage but not fully understanding some of the basic principles.
 

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That's a toughie! I can think through the difference between leg-yield and shoulder-in, or shoulder-fore, but to tell the truth, it's often a toss-up when I'm trying to ride one or the other.
 

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That's a toughie! I can think through the difference between leg-yield and shoulder-in, or shoulder-fore, but to tell the truth, it's often a toss-up when I'm trying to ride one or the other.

Can you elaborate? Since leg yield and SI/SF are completely different, I'm not understanding where your problem lies.
 

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Very different movements, you really need to elaborate on that. Leg yield the horse is crossing both front and hind legs with a straight body and flexed slightly away from the direction of travel. Shoulder in/shoulder fore the horse is bent around the inside leg, the hind legs travelling on a straight line, the outside fore leg stepping in the same line as the inside hind leg, and the inside foreleg on its own track to the inside - the horse works on 3 tracks.

Two totally different movements ;)
 

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Oooooo i have been waiting to see if anyone was going to bring this topic up in dressage. haha i remember first learning about crookedness..... Everysingle time i got on my horse it would bother me and compeletly drive me up the walls when he was crooked, but i didnt know what the problem was! haha then janet taught me about straightness -_- now its impossible for me to ride a horse without trying to straighten it a little, xD
 

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The biggest single mistake most people do when riding in the arena is to have the horse abosutely parell to the wall.

In this the rider is putting the outside of the horse so that the front end is the same distance from the wall as the rear and that in itself creates a crooked horse.

I just know that will have everyone scratching their heads....lol.
 

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one of the ways my instructor explained it which made a little light-bulb appear over my head was: its almost like them being right 'handed' and soem left, except they have four legs, lol.
 

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Did you have to go there so soon?! At least let them warm up to the idea of straightness.

LOL

I can still remember my old mentor yelling at the top of his french voice (and we know how excited the French get) that he will personally come over and whip me into shape ( lol) if I EVER allowed this error to happen.
 

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When I think "crooked" the next thought is, bring the forehand around a bit to get that inside leg working under more. My aim is to have my horse bending around my inside leg. BUT you know how it goes, sometimes she'll just turn her head, or angle inwards but without much of a bend-- this usually happens because we don't have enough energy going :oops: and I'm not on the seat enough-- anyway, then I get fixated on the sidways-ness, and use my leg further back, or even touch with the whip, but then, I'm quite sure, what I'm getting is a leg-yield...??... What I'm trying to do now is avoid all that, and if I feel she's not coming around the way I want, I go briskly forward, straight ahead.

Comments?
 

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one of the ways my instructor explained it which made a little light-bulb appear over my head was: its almost like them being right 'handed' and soem left, except they have four legs, lol.
Exactly! Often, you can tell which 'hand' is dominant by the way they stand... A 'right-handed' horse will often angle both it's right front and right rear hoof, out toward the right.

In a 'right-handed' horse, it's weight is on it's right shoulder... to correct the horse needs to bend its neck right, which will cause the right shoulder to be drawn back and then the weight will transfer diagonally from the right shoulder to the left hind... then, the right hind can step forward under the center of gravity, helping to lighten the right shoulder.
 

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When I think "crooked" the next thought is, bring the forehand around a bit to get that inside leg working under more. My aim is to have my horse bending around my inside leg. BUT you know how it goes, sometimes she'll just turn her head, or angle inwards but without much of a bend-- this usually happens because we don't have enough energy going :oops: and I'm not on the seat enough-- anyway, then I get fixated on the sidways-ness, and use my leg further back, or even touch with the whip, but then, I'm quite sure, what I'm getting is a leg-yield...??... What I'm trying to do now is avoid all that, and if I feel she's not coming around the way I want, I go briskly forward, straight ahead.

Comments?
How do you ride 'into' the SI? Give us a step by step. What you do to prepare, where in the ring, etc...

What aids are you using and in what order?

The two best ways, imo, to straighten a horse that's gotten crooked in SI is to ride forward on a short diagonal, or ride a circle. Depending on what's happening will determine which one you use. For instance, if I've lost the outside shoulder, I'm riding the short diagonal.
 

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The way I have been taught is to put the horse on a line. If you are on the line, the horse will be on the line or else you will not be on the horse.
I think you really need to have a feel to know when the horse is crooked or straight.
I find that a great exercise for us is to do HP right, to LY left, to HP right and the same in the other direction. It really keeps him on my line and in between my aids.
As far as being straight on the wall, yes it is important to be able to travel in shoulder fore BUT sometimes for the purpose of schooling we do need to keep the hips slightly in. For example my horse is stiff bending to the right, to compensate he swings his hips left so many times in order to be "straight" and balanced, I need to almost be riding travers down the wall. (Correct travers, not this shoulder falling into the wall crap that seems to plague second level.)
There is a reason why straightness is so high on the training scale! It is not an easy concept.
 

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I really love shoulder-in -- or rather, shoulder-fore is where I'm at now. I don't so much do the movement, as use the movement to straighten and supple. I'm a sort of remedial-oriented rider, maybe because my first horse had so many problems. I'm not quite sure what anabel means by "on a line" but in any case, those exercises are far too advanced for us now!

I ride shoulder-in in 2 ways. The easiest is coming out of a circle, onto the center line, going down the middle. Where I ride is just a smoothish part of the pasture (yeah, lumpy) without a wall, so it's a little harder along the side. In that case, I do what I was told was the "better" way, which is to take the forehand over, bending around the leg. Although she'll turn on the outside rein, I find it difficult to keep her going along the side --- my pushing aid is too weak. Anyway, it's what I described: I end up using my leg further back, and it turns into a leg yield. I just brought this up because it's what came to mind when the OP wanted to talk "crookedness."

I like the idea of continuing in the circle at times. At least it would keep her inside leg more active.
 

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It sounds then, Beling, that she is not in front of your leg enough before starting. Try several w/t/w transitions prior and get her popping off your leg. Then only ride 2/3 strides of the SI, straighten, reaffirm that she's in front of the leg with more transitions, then 2/3 strides of SI again and so on.

Some other possibilities; you may be using too much outside rein and not giving her enough room to 'go' into that outside rein. You may be losing the energy out her haunches so double check that....that's one way she may be crooked. Those haunches need to remain straight on the track, not crossing at all. When you get the leg yield it's because you've lost those haunches, either by putting that inside leg back, and/or not using your outside to block the haunches from escaping.
 

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Not sure I understand the question. Do you want a definition of straightness or a way to straighten the crooked horse?

Anyhow, always straighten a crooked horse by bringing the shoulders in front of the hind quarters in some degree of shoulder-in (i.e First position, shoulder-fore, shoulder-in)

Don't try to straighten the horse by bringing your inside leg back and pushing the quarters out behind the forehand.
 

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For those of us who aren't in dressage - a lot of this seems Greek. At least to me anyways, though I am trying to understand. I know my horse is crooked because he can't walk a straight line unless its directly towards a lush green patch of grass.
 

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For those of us who aren't in dressage - a lot of this seems Greek. At least to me anyways, though I am trying to understand. I know my horse is crooked because he can't walk a straight line unless its directly towards a lush green patch of grass.
LOL!

What your horse lacks currently is 'forward'. When your horse has a purpose, he becomes forward going straight for that grass.

Get your horse forward and the kind of straightness issue you're having currently will go away.
 

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This topic of crooked vs. straight is truly a tough nut to crack. Please, bear with me for a minute while I try to sort it out in my head... :wink:

Could the idea of being straight be roughly equated with a person being ambidextrous? That's kind of the impression I'm starting to get, especially with the idea of toes pointing to one side or another according to the "handedness" of the horse. I have seen horses so one sided that I could look at them from the back and see from the muscling which side was dominant, and I know that Scout's weaker on one side because his left lead canter is fast, inverted, and hard to maintain compared to his right lead canter. Is this a manifestation of his crookedness, or simply of his greenness, or both seeing as we both are still so low on the training scale? Please correct me if I've missed the point, something entirely likely. :lol:
 

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This topic of crooked vs. straight is truly a tough nut to crack. Please, bear with me for a minute while I try to sort it out in my head... :wink:

Could the idea of being straight be roughly equated with a person being ambidextrous? That's kind of the impression I'm starting to get, especially with the idea of toes pointing to one side or another according to the "handedness" of the horse. I have seen horses so one sided that I could look at them from the back and see from the muscling which side was dominant, and I know that Scout's weaker on one side because his left lead canter is fast, inverted, and hard to maintain compared to his right lead canter. Is this a manifestation of his crookedness, or simply of his greenness, or both seeing as we both are still so low on the training scale? Please correct me if I've missed the point, something entirely likely. :lol:
There are various degrees of straightness, much like the various degrees of engagement.

Before you hit straightness on the training scale (4th) you'll have already had to work on straightness, just at a more basic level...as in making sure the horse isn't traveling with their haunches off to one side.
 
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