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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My horse Chance is very heavy on his shoulders (forehand). I don't really understand how to fix it. I work over trotting poles almost everyday but it doesnt seem to be making a difference. Should I use side reins or ?? If you could tell me some exercises to help fix this, I am willing to try anything. Also how do you know what you are doing is actually working? He is very strung out (he doesnt round his back or anything) and is lazy. He also drags his back feet when ever you give him the chance. Is there anything that you can help me with?

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It could be that he has over and/or under developed muscles in places that would proportionally cause him to be heavy on the forehand. He may need some re-training to help him carry himself better and collect, which could take some decent time since he's developed this way of carrying himself-- if it isn't purely a conformational issue.
It may be a conformational problem where he is built to carry more weight on the forehand, which could also be helped with training but may not be necessarily correctable. Does he have any known problems involving joints, tendons, ligaments, etc. in his hind legs or any back problems that may cause him to compensate for pain by avoiding engaging the hind?
I would recommend having a trainer take a look and maybe start him in a program to keep him supple and distribute his weight more evenly. You will be able to feel a difference once he makes progress, and you could try to have a friend record you & him at different times and compare his movement so you can see progress better.
There's some good websites with exercises that you can try. Not sure how you feel about this one but here's a start: Exercises for a Horse Heavy on the Forehand
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you ZipSilkyMachine. I will try those exercises, he is only 5 yrs old and he doesn't have any problems with his legs, back, etc. I think you are right about the over/under devoloped muscles. He has some big, strong shoulders.
 

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I took a guess cause its the same way with my guy! Except I've found his shoulder angle to be more steep and he's definitely built downhill so it's a conformation problem with mine as well as muscle development. Good luck!
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Huge muscly shoulders with under developed hindquarters is a classic sign of a horse that has been ridden constantly on the forehand.
You need to find a good trainer to help you - learning to ride a horse off the forehand is about developing a feel rather than reading the theory.
As far as theory goes, you do need to understand a little but about equine biomechanics. For the horse to come off the forehand, you MUST ride the hind legs rather than the head/neck, if you try to simply pull the head into a 'round' position, you will never succeed.
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One thing that works for me is to work on gait transitions with a stop and a back between each one. In time your horse will do a slight weight shift each time you ask for a stop. This sets him up for successful forward motion from the engine (hind quarters). It really helps with the front-heavy, sluggish feel and begins to give you better rear momentum and lift in the neck/chest. Good luck!
 

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Before you can get a horse off its forehand you need to get it going forward so that it is bringing its hind legs under it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Okay thank you guys. Foxhunter- he steps well underneath himself actually he almost over reaches and I have to use overreach bell boots.
Boo Walker- okay, that makes since. I'll give it a try . I work him up a very small "hill" (more like a mound) I canter, trot, walk, and back up the hill. When I do this I make him hold his head up on his own and sit straight up so he will use his hindquarters.
Kayty- I have 2 trainers. A jumping/dressage one and one that trained him when he was a baby. I told them about my problem and what they told me to do didn't seem to work so I thought I would ask you guys.
 

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What did they ask you to do? You have to bare in mind that there are no quick solutions in training a horse. Particularly when we ate talking basic ways of moving like coming off the forehand, which is a long, ongoing process during which the horse has to gradually increase his strength and balance to move in this manner for an extended period of time.
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
What my Trainers tell me.

Well my jumping trainer tells me to do a half halt type a thing but without using your reins. And with out holding his head up, making him do it. My other trainer says to get a head set behind the vertical and push him forward. Does this make since? I just wanted to ask you guys your opinion. Thanks again.
 

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Your jumping trainer is on the right track encouraging a half halt through your seat and not worrying about this 'head set' rubbish.
If you are being told to ride your horse in a behind the vertical 'head set', disregard that piece of instruction.
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Okay, so do you have any tips of things that would be a start to try to fix this?
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