Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Lead Problems

So I rode Pony today.

I'm going on vacation on thursday for a week and a half, and I haven't had time to get out as much as usual the past week or so.

So I rode her English and stirrupless.  Which is something I've never done before.  She is obviously kinda hot, because, thats just her.  But I couldn't get a good trot out of her, but since sitting her trot in an english saddle is kinda hard in the first place, I figured I wouldn't stress out about it.

I noticed my problem with riding her without stirrups english, is that I kept sticking my legs straight down instead of keeping them more bent, like how you ride with a jump saddle.

So, I asked for her right lead canter, and it was beautiful, as always.  I was able to canter all the way around the entire arena without it scaring me due to her gaining speed.  I was so happy with myself! And so happy of how far we've come! I never used to be able to take her all the way around the arena in a western saddle, let alone stirrupless english! She's come so far with slowing down and such.

I should have left it there.  But, instead, I asked for her left lead lope.  God was it terrible.  To the point where I was almost on her neck.  I am telling you it felt so rough it was almost unridable.

I've been noticing this problem progressing for a while.

My trainer has a natural tendency towards the left, so all of her horses have better left sides than right.  As well as horses always have one side thats better for them naturally.  Ponies was always her left lead. It was better, smoother, easier to pick up.  However, I have noticed slowly overtime, her right lead is WAY better.

Clearly, it's gotten to the point where it was hard to ride her left lead.   It is way faster, it is much rougher, she drops her shoulder a little, and it's off balanced.

I got off of her, grabber her halter, and I lunged her, to see what was going on.  Her transition into her canter was ugly.  She picked up a cross canter at first, and then broke down and picked up the correct canter.

That's one thing about Pony, she does not like to be on the wrong lead.  She can't do a flying lead change to save her life, but if she is on the wrong lead, she will do a simple lead change by herself.

She had trouble holding her canter on that left lead.

My first thought was that this means there is something going on with her left hind, since thats what she was having most trouble with, was holding that rear lead correctly.

The first thing I thought of was the mysterious swelling she had in her left hind a few months ago, and honestly, that may have been when this downhill over her left lead started to be a little worse.

The other thing I thought, was that she could be developing either arthritis in that left hind joints, or get sore from an old injury.

However, I am starting to believe it is a third theory.

After I lunged her, I got back on her and rode her through that left lead lope.  I got about a circle out of it, when I figured that was enough.  I rode the right lead again, and while it was slightly faster than it was before, it was still calm and comfortable.  After that, I took her saddle off to let her roll.

She rolled a few times, and got up at a full speed gallop.  I thought this was odd, since I turned her out a few days ago and she sniffed around and looked at me.  She definitely didn't seem like she had a lot of energy.

I mentioned this to a friend when I was telling him about my cruddy ride on her.  He said that maybe she had something slightly out of whack, and rolling pushed it back in whack, and when she stood up, she felt GOOD!

Therefor, I am thinking that she could need a chiro appointment.  Her and Pebbles play hard, (read : turn into mega mare bitches and kick the shit out of eachother, and then proceed to share the same hay piles once their legs are kicked and bitten and bloody) So I am thinking that she could have that left hip out of whack and need an adjustment.

This makes a lot more sense to me than some arthritis, and I would have thought that the arthritis would be worse in the cold than in the warm, but its clearly been getting worse while the weathers been getting warmer.

This also makes more sense to me than the idea of an injury that flares up or gets sore, since she never looks off whatsoever.  Not even 'if i'm looking for it I might be able to see it' in that left hind.  Nothing more than stiffness.

Do you guys have good results from equine chiropractors?

Any suggestions in what to look for when I am looking for someone?


  1. Some people believe in chiropractors. I'm just not one of them. I just don't believe you can "snap, crack, and pop" bones back into place and have a fix. Plus, I've witnessed "chiropractors" do some pretty crazy things to "fix" horses (things that could actually HURT the horse)...

    massage on the other hand...

  2. Trax was always a left lead horse. Always always always. When I started asking for a right lead it was awkward and choppy. The more he does it, the better it gets. For him it is as simple as muscle memory.
    I know a lot of people who swear by the equine chiro's. I have not tried it myself, but suspect I might eventually. When I go looking for one, first I will talk to my vet. Then I will look at who has the most experience, then I will find others who have used the person and get references.

  3. I have only seen one Chiro work and it looks like hokey to me. I personally believe a good massage can pretty well cure most stuff in horses. (although I do go to a human chiro) But I agree with Cindy if you are gonna use one, ask the vets, we have a vet clinic a couple hours from us that has a vet who also is a chiro, if I was gonna use one he would be the one.


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