Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Teach Me Tuesday: The One Sided Horse

imma call this "pony got fat"
I'm going to assume that y'all agree with me that horses are asymmetrical for one reason or another.

I even have anecdotal proof of that--Courage got his wither tracings/saddle fitting last fall, and then when he got his follow up visit a couple weeks back, she re-did the tracing. Guess what? Still asymmetrical.

these things are surprisingly expensive
The saddle fitter recommended adding shims to Courage's correction pad in order to balance my saddle and help me ride him more evenly.

I did, because that is why I pay professionals, but it got me wondering: how do you handle an asymmetrical horse? Does it change how you tack them up? Ride them? Does it change how you view your own fitness program?


  1. My horse is weaker to the right, so I try and do extra work in that direction to strengthen that side. I'll trot to the right first, then switch to the left, then do another set to the right.

  2. My horse is weaker to the left. I normally start off working to the right to warm him up, but then move to the left and do extra work there. If the discrepancy is huge, I add in a lot of hill work to help him out. He's actually even on his back, but tends to fill out differently in his shoulder/chest area to the left, so I don't adjust my tack or anything.

  3. My horse is weaker to the left, so I try to make sure I'm paying particular attention to the QUALITY of his work in that direction.

  4. Long-time reader, never commented. My horse is weaker to the left. He's still young, so I am not overly worried and think that it will be less noticeable when he becomes stronger. That said, I try to work on strengthening exercises (bilateral) with him under saddle, on the lunge, and in hand. I also have his teeth done regularly and had him checked out by a horse physiotherapist who gave me some stretching and strengthening exercises to do with him on the ground. I also go to physiotherapy myself and exercise in addition to riding. I had my physiotherapist come out and watch me ride, so that he could recommend exercises to straighten me out more (I am a bit asymmetrical, too, but left is actually my better side). So yes, I am also working on myself! Good luck with Courage! I love your attitude with him.

  5. the new fitter i'm using has had me go the shims route too - her opinion was that you address unevenness from side to side with shimming, not flocking, so that the horse has room to grow. really tho, my horse and i each have weaker directions and while i try to address that through schooling, i'm actually going to try to be better about getting on/off from both sides since i think, at least in our own situation, that might be a contributing factor... we'll see!

  6. My horse is stiff on the left side, I was recently taught that means I should always think shoulder-fore when going to the left to get her curving her body to the left. I also probably do more work on our bad side because I tend to wait for a good note to end on before changing directions and that takes longer on our bad side.
    No tack differences, she seems broadly symmetrical, but I haven't had a chance to get a saddle fitter to look at her yet.

  7. Somebody sure packed on a lot of muscle in his shoulders since last September!

    1. Cough

      She said was mostly fat.

      Uh hoping there's some muscle in there too.

  8. Great progress!

    I'm torn about the idea of adding shims. On the one hand, I can't ride a horse straight if I can't sit straight on them. But on the other hand, the shim may cause me to not realize how crooked they are and therefore it may be a bandaid at best or even encourage the crookedness (especially if the rider is crooked too and caused the crookedness on the horse). I haven't had enough experience with trying it out both ways on my own horses or client horses (the only time I've used it for clients are pony club ratings because crooked riders fail ratings) to really make a decision about what I think. I'm curious to see how you feel like it's working!

  9. Pig is crooked right now because of his weakness behind, thought it is getting better. He's always a little weaker on one side or another depending on where he's struggling fitness/soundness/mentally. Meanwhile, I'm often weaker on my left side, so I can't really blame him.

    Not exactly a horse thing. Try currying your horse with entirely your non-dominant hand instead of your dominant one. I think you might find that you are asymmetrical too. ;)

    I try to be aware of where the weaknesses are, and evaluate via photos for asymmetrical muscle building. I focus on working evenly on both sides.

  10. I just had a saddle fitter come out and look at my horse a week and a half ago. I knew beforehand his shoulders are pretty obviously asymmetrical, but to my surprise when she saw them in person she said they weren't as bad as she thought. My horse has never been in consistent work and an injury is possible, but I have no way of determining that for sure. So I have decided to only look at wool flocked saddles so I'm able to have the saddle adjusted more specifically for his asymmetries.

  11. Tesla is definitely weaker/stiffer to the left ... me too :P

  12. I have always wondered if me 'make them' more left sided since we always handle them from the left or near side. Riding we may add to that using our own dominant typically right side (hand, rein, leg) more?

    I know the WB mare was better going to the right (my bad side) and I am better going to the left (her bad side). Do we somehow balance each other out?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...