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Horse Will Not Bend- Any Advice?


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#1 Jetstream

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 11:24 AM

Hi All!

So, it's been a while since I've posted here (really truly), and there have been some major changes in my horse life since then. First and foremost, I have entirely switched to the discipline of dressage, and have had the opportunity to train with some really incredible coaches and trainers. My seat and aids are so much more effective than they have ever been/could have ever been if I had just stuck in the "arab" world (not to insult arab trainers, this is just my experience), and I finally "get" what riding is all about- relaxation, rythm, connection, etc.

I moved to another province, and drug my horse over here with me, and settled him into a new barn. He was started under saddle by an arab trainer, and now we have been working with a wonderful dressage coach. Unfortunately, while he can bend wonderfully to the left, to the right there is nothing! He won't even fully accept contact from the right rein, and I am now just so frustrated and totally at my wits end... unfortunately as he was initially trained with a martingale, draw reins, false "headset," etc. we've had a lot of bad habits to work through, and that we are still working through, but I am now totally frustrated by this! Any suggestions you wonderful people may have would be gladly accepted!

Thanks!

#2 lkirby

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 12:14 PM

Most horses tend to favor one side over the other. First, get an equine chiropractor out to see whether your horse has some physical problem that is causing him pain when he turns to the right. If that isn't the problem, then start turning him to the right in some small area while you are on the ground. On the ground, I would use a hoofpick in my hand to push at the midsection of my horse's to mimic the action of my legs while turning him. You might want to consider wearing spurs and carrying a whip for a short period of time. While riding, do lots of serpentines at the walk and at a slow trot and lots of u-turns into the rail to limber up the right side of your horse's body.

Lorna G. Kirby, PE
When you have gone through fire, you won't fade in the sun!!

#3 ladycascabel

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 12:26 PM

I'd also suggest a good dental exam, if he is resisting contact with the right rein he might be having a tooth problem, too.
Chiro first, then dentist. If he is out of alignment, and you fix his teeth first, then after the alignment they may not meet up correctly.

Congratulations on your progress, though, and glad to see you back!

Mary Logan

www.cascabelranch.com

Proud of our family of working western athletes: Arabians, Half-arabs, National Foundation Quarter Horses.
Producers of all-natural grass-fed beef.

The Arabian and Half-arab Fam:

TS Paarden Mia chestnut purebred mare
HAA Marco Rojo chestnut Classical Spanish gelding
SA Firefoxx chestnut purebred gelding
OFW Carnation bay purebred mare
Skyy RPA amber champagne HA mare
Goldenseal MSL palomino HA gelding


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#4 arabsRgreat

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 04:48 PM

Check saddle fit too! I gave up treed saddles and will only ride in treeless so I don't have to worry about saddles anymore. But these guys have given you good advice. Most likely a pain issue and if you don't get answers from those people go to university specialist. We went thru 5 vets b4 finding one that found an obscure problem w/our horse one time! But I knew I knew I knew there was something wrong with him: not him being a jerk!!

#5 ladycascabel

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 05:07 PM

Excellent point, arabsRgreat! Saddle fit is so important to the super-sensitive Arabian/partbred.

Mary Logan

www.cascabelranch.com

Proud of our family of working western athletes: Arabians, Half-arabs, National Foundation Quarter Horses.
Producers of all-natural grass-fed beef.

The Arabian and Half-arab Fam:

TS Paarden Mia chestnut purebred mare
HAA Marco Rojo chestnut Classical Spanish gelding
SA Firefoxx chestnut purebred gelding
OFW Carnation bay purebred mare
Skyy RPA amber champagne HA mare
Goldenseal MSL palomino HA gelding


besttext2.jpg


#6 VanAlma

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 04:44 AM

Excellent advice and I'm going to add one more thing - make sure you are straight. I am a notoriously crooked rider and can really adjust a horse as my right hip is rotated forward and I have uni-lateral issues that require stretching. The easiest way to figure out what you're doing? Ride in a treeless saddle or bareback. That is the most telling regarding imbalances. When I got my treeless I was SO SORE, for DAYS, from the side I hadn't been using as the tree in the saddle allowed me to sit funny.

#7 CarolAtJarabFarm

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 04:53 AM

I am iin awe of you people! Such good advice from members of this board. Ask and you shall receive! :o)

#8 Mariah

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 06:27 AM

Jetstream, I did the same thing with my guy. He was my hunter horse for 4 years and I switched completely to dressage. He had a wonderful trainer we worked with during hunter but fact of the matter main ring arabian hunter and dressage are two completely different types of riding. Everything suggested above is absolutely crucial to make sure you have ruled out: chiropractor, teeth, and saddle. In my case it took a year or better to teach he and I proper and honest straightness through the body, and connection on reins. To date I still battle everyday collapsing a little in my left hip and side, which throws my right hip laterally and keeps us bending right and a little uneven in our connection. Anytime he is a little light on his right rein connection and not bending well left, I first confirm I am not collapsing/crooked before I think it is him. It took a year to teach him to accept the bit and stretch in the trot circle. Don't get frustrated just stay diligent on the basics!!
Comandr-N-Chief +// , My love, my teacher
MM Flamboyant , My daily reminder to stay humble...

#9 krowchukdressage

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 08:29 PM

Once you eliminate any tack and health issues, what I see the majority of time is crooked riders making it difficult for the horse to carry the rider straight. IOW, the rider causes the crookedness from their own crookedness. This is more often the case with lighter breeds, like Arabians. Most riders are really too big for Arabians. Therefore the issues of the riders crookedness has a proportionately larger effect on the horses crookedness than a smaller rider on a larger horse. It's simple physics. Luckily, Arabians can carry more weight than other breeds of the same "size" however, in order to stay out of the way of your horses movement, you have a larger responsibility to work on your position in order to make it easier for your horse.

Or get a bigger horse. ;)

If you can learn to truly ride dressage on an Arabian, you can ride, truly ride, dressage on anything!

Cheers!
Chris

#10 arabsRgreat

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 04:46 PM

Once you eliminate any tack and health issues, what I see the majority of time is crooked riders making it difficult for the horse to carry the rider straight. IOW, the rider causes the crookedness from their own crookedness. This is more often the case with lighter breeds, like Arabians. Most riders are really too big for Arabians. Therefore the issues of the riders crookedness has a proportionately larger effect on the horses crookedness than a smaller rider on a larger horse. It's simple physics. Luckily, Arabians can carry more weight than other breeds of the same "size" however, in order to stay out of the way of your horses movement, you have a larger responsibility to work on your position in order to make it easier for your horse.

Or get a bigger horse. ;)

If you can learn to truly ride dressage on an Arabian, you can ride, truly ride, dressage on anything!

Cheers!
Chris

Well that is neat to hear about being able to ride other breeds. I think it'd be hard to switch to something else as we all get used to the lightness of Arabs.