We all want to ride a correctly moving, straightened horse. But what can you do if your horse is still asymmetric?
A member of my online training asked me during a live Q&A how she could best ride an asymmetric horse. And I gave her the following advice:
Every horse is asymmetric, some more than others.
It’s the same with people. Everyone has a preferred hand for writing and a preferred leg for kicking a ball.
When we talk about asymmetry in a horse, we often refer to a hollow and a convex side.
The horse has more weight on the shoulder on the convex side and is often heavier on the rein on that side.
The horse is often lighter on the rein on the hollow side and has its head turned in the direction of the hollow side.
So, it’s understandable that your horse wants to look inward when you ride on the hollow side and wants to look outward when you ride on the convex side.
Fortunately, you can improve and even solve asymmetry.
But then it’s important that you work with the whole body of your horse and not just with your hands.
The first reaction we as riders have when riding an asymmetric horse is to work on him through his convex side.
We use our reins to get the horse more “loose” on the convex side and try to direct the head and neck more to the inside of the arena.
Most horses will eventually give in, simply because they want to relieve the pressure on the rein. But that won’t solve the asymmetry in their body.
You don’t correct asymmetry with your hands.
What you can do is make sure that every time you ride, you try to ride the convex side of the horse a little bit to the inside by using your leg.
So that you try to push the weight of the shoulder away from where it’s convex.
For example, imagine you’re riding to the right and your horse is convex on the left side.
You then ride to the long side of the arena and push lightly with your left leg, so that you ride your horse a little bit to his right shoulder.
You can also go with your leg in the direction of the centerline.
You can do this exercise as often as you like, until your horse is less asymmetric.
But it’s important that you practice this for a longer period.
You can’t spend two minutes in your training to straighten your horse and expect the same result.
Another requirement is that your horse is active, goes forward, and lowers his neck.
If he lowers his neck, the vertebrae will roll into each other and the asymmetry will decrease.
If your horse raises his neck, the asymmetry will only increase. If you then do this exercise, it becomes a fight and an unsolvable problem.
So, every time your horse lowers his neck, push lightly with your left leg, ask for a small bend to the left, and before you reach the corner, straighten your horse again to the right.