Dressage is a mean to improve the horse physically and mentally.
In this video you”ll improve your knowledge about the crookedness of the horse.
The video is a part of the free webinar I gave on March 8, 2011.
The horse is systematically trained to build up muscles using a set of logically structured dressage exercises during its training as a riding horse. The straightness training is to be incorporated throughout the entire education of the riding horse.
Like every human the horse is left or right handed. Every horse is therefore crooked (asymmetrical) from nature and bends more easily to one side than the other. The horse has a convex and a concave side and it does not place its shoulders straight in front of its hips. One hind leg usually has more backwards push from nature, while the other one has more of a forward grab and is therefore more carrying. If a rider does not correct this crookedness it can lead to problems in the horse.
Hollow (concave) side: short, stiff, strong muscles
Elongated (convex) side: long, supple, weak muscles
All horses carry from nature about 3/5th of their weight on the front legs and 2/5th on the hind legs. This balance is easy for grazing, because it causes an automatic locomotion. Both front legs do not carry the same amount of weight however, due to the difference in push and carrying capacity of the hind legs. The carrying hind leg is suppler and steps easier under the point of weight. The pushing hind leg is straighter and stiff and can make a powerful backwards push. This pushes more weight on one front leg than on the other, and added with the weight of the rider this can lead to strain injuries.
Consequences on the circle
A horse that is not corrected for its natural crookedness and the natural balance, will fall on the inside shoulder or over the outside shoulder.
Consequences on a straight line
The horse walks with his shoulders not straight in front of its hips. When riding an uncorrected horse along the wall of the riding arena this effect is enhanced, because the shoulders are also narrower than the hips.
• Unequal pressure in the reins
• No suppleness/giving in the reins
• ‘Taking’ the bit
• Heavy in the hand
• Tilting the head
• Grinding the teeth
• No stretching of the neck forward-down
• Counter canter
• Lateral walk or canter
• Does not stop with the weight equally divided on all 4 feet
• Cannot back up in a straight line
• Can do the exercise to one side, but not to the other
• Speeding up
• Rider cannot sit in trot
• Little shoulder freedom
• No pure tact
• Irregularities/ crippleness
• Bucking, rearing