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Straightness

Re: Straightness

Postby spottygiraffe » Tue Nov 25, 2014 12:20 pm

I'm enjoying this thread too, even though it is giving me brain strain :confused: I suppose my definition of straightness lies with how Ben and Katy described it.

Interesting to hear that both sides should be worked evenly. Just comparing that to humans -I don't think the same logic does apply. Athletes work their weaker side more and my yoga teacher encourages us to do the same. In fact, she said that she noticed her body became out of balance at one time. She realised it was because she always demonstrated on one side and then during the same exercise on the other side of the body, she got into the habit of checking the students and making adjustments so she was working the first side much more. She had to do the opposite for several months before she felt completely balanced again. So just wondering why that isn't the case with horses? Or is their natural one-sidedness not really to do with musculature?

And just another observation with myself -I always pick up running injuries on the left side of my body. I saw an osteo who said my left leg and foot are massively stronger than my right, so it would seem that I 'prefer' the left and therefore it takes more strain. I have been working the right side more to try to balance this out. Very O/T I know, but hopefully interesting.
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Re: Straightness

Postby Trudi » Tue Nov 25, 2014 1:32 pm

:hmmm: to be honest Sarah I don't know about humans but we did it evenly in Pilates but that was just a bunch of stiff old birds prancing :lol:
With horses I think it is important because it's not about strengthening or suppling one leg in isolation but about balance, you need the whole package of how the hind legs correspond with the fore leg on the same side and the opposing fore leg. Very often I will ride or work quickly between the two reins so that I can use the balance from one in to the other. I think you could work one side more if you were looking at a rehab situation or maybe soemone who has specialised knowledge but for I think it is safer in general to work equally or as near as possible.
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Re: Straightness

Postby spottygiraffe » Tue Nov 25, 2014 8:20 pm

:thumbup: Got it :thumbup:
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Re: Straightness

Postby littlewhitehorse » Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:03 pm

One or two thoughts. Horses only have a good or bad side because of what humans do surely, although I suppose we can never know what happens in nature. The thing about working on the "bad" side is a result of not doing things on both sides in the first place because at one time you weren't supposed to mount or lead or saddle or whatever from the "wrong" side! But surely the doing things from both sides is also to do with the horse's vision and perception.

What causes crookedness? Injury could, but I notice that Lucie, who looks crooked from behind and is lower on the side of her bad hock (bone spavin, osteoarthritis) moves straight. Much straighter than the yellow miss. Who is lazy and doesn't think about where her feet are unless I get really particular and ask for her to make an effort. I notice this particularly in backing up, when she really has to think about it and lifts her whole carriage, the back up comes straight. So I am thinking that straightness is related to balance, as has been said, and balance is about weight distribution.

I also think having a clear and strong focus helps straightness when riding, whether straightness on a circle or line. Strong focus from the human I mean, about where you are going and want the horse to go. Horses can move pretty straight when they want, on their own too, if they are in flight mode :lol: or heading to a point or thought they are fixed on.
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Re: Straightness

Postby glenatron » Thu Nov 27, 2014 8:53 pm

I don't think it is just a matter of human interference- horses have a handedness exactly the way we do and they will often favour one side or another naturally. Often when you start a horse under saddle and get to cantering, they will only be able to pick up one lead at first and that's typically simply the result of the habits they have got into by that point. I would expect a horse that never really deals with people to be just as likely to choose one side or another in the same way that most people are unless we deliberately try not to be.
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Re: Straightness

Postby Trudi » Fri Nov 28, 2014 6:35 am

Chapiro certainly never chose to canter on the right lead in the field as a youngster, made me smile the first time I turned him out and he cantered off on the right lead, think he would have been about 5/6.
There is some current thinking that it is to do with which eye is dominant to the horse and using that eye to look at novel things builds up specific musculature which is obviously one sided.
Of course humans don't help this. As a right handed person I always found certain balance issues that were different to the OH who is left handed, things like shoulder-in for instance he would find easier on a different rein to me - hardly surprising I know but we do make a difference.
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Re: Straightness

Postby poneysPie » Sat Nov 29, 2014 10:14 am

littlewhitehorse wrote:Horses can move pretty straight when they want, on their own too, if they are in flight mode :lol: or heading to a point or thought they are fixed on.


Interesting how many of the "wild" horses in this video are weighting one shoulder....




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEVow6kr5nI&feature=youtu.be
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Re: Straightness

Postby Trudi » Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:49 pm

Good video to show the point, in fact it is interesting how they use a foreleg to brace rather than a hindleg folding to support in a turn, guess they don't give one about preparing for piaffe :lol:
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