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  1. #1

    Default Falling in and tanking through left shoulder.

    What could be causing it? How can I prevent it? I'm not sure if it is getting worse or not, varies from session to session... think it has regressed recently as we had a schooling hiatus and am only just picking it back up. But it's always there as a suggestion of something she might try if that makes sense. When we got her she would just tank forward, we've slowed her down and asked her to work in a more balanced way... And the sideways evasion started. It's her weak hind leg and my weak inside leg.

    Today I tried opening my outside hand quite wide, keeping inside hand neutral (I have been crossing it over her neck when I'm not concentrating on it, I do know that is no good but it's clearly my instinctive reaction). And instead of directing my inside leg aid towards her shoulder... I was trying to control/move the shoulder with it... No dice... instead of that I let the inside leg come more back to nudge her ribs over instead. Result was that I got control of her feet, they were going where I wanted but with horrible outside bend AT FIRST... then she started to move into the space I'd given with the outside rain and fill it with her shoulder and slowly move towards the correct bend. So that felt like progress. A bit of progress anyway.

    I left it today on as good a note as I could manage. But am going to try and pick up again tomorrow and see if I can get a smoother session from the off.

    Any ideas for exercises I can try? What am I doing wrong that's causing it? I don't have a major wonkiness in my seat am just working in walk as adding speed doesn't seem to help. When I say tanking it isn't like she's taking off in canter just a joggy walk. I am trying up get a lesson but the instructor I've used for years has gone AWOL... I think they've given up. I think more eyes on the ground are needed (my OH is very good eyes on the ground hence me being pretty certain Im not sitting badly enough to cause this entirely by myself, but we're both a bit stumped). Until I can get an instructor I actually get on with (tricky) any general input would be most appreciated.

    Christmas cake and brandy for anyone who ploughed through that lot.

  2. #2
    Veteran scats's Avatar
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    Default Re: Falling in and tanking through left shoulder.

    I'm going to say that a good instructor should be able to help you with this and it's very difficult to advise without seeing the problem.
    However, This was and still can be the Divas weakness. What works for us is to make sure the left hind is active. Part of her problem was that she had less activity with this leg and it caused her to tilt her pelvis and fall through the left shoulder to compensate. Left leg forwards towards shoulder and ankle bent to support it at times, particularly on bends and circles. Resisting the temptation to open the outside hand to guide them out, as if you don't have the right support from the leg, all you do is leave the door open for them to go crooked.
    Keep in mind that you want to put the shoulders in front of the hips and not move the hips in line with the shoulders.

    Also, make sure you don't accidentally allow too much inside bend on the easier rein. This is easily done, but only serves to cause more problems when you go back onto the other rein. On the right rein, really aim to bring the horse round the corners and bends via the outside shoulder. You will notice a difference when you move back to the left rein.

  3. #3
    Old nag
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    Default Re: Falling in and tanking through left shoulder.

    Sometimes, when you feel as though you are over-compensating, you are actually moving back to where you ought to be. But one of our mares refused to walk in a straight line on the left rein, we realised that her saddle was catching her shoulder, although the rider opening the hand helped temporarily.
    "Don't LET him do that"

  4. #4

    Default Re: Falling in and tanking through left shoulder.

    I dont think its a saddle problem as its a heather moffat treeless... so flexible especially for shoulder movement. I could try ditching the breastplate I use though in case thats blocking her. She's also been physioed recently... "weak young horse but not major problems and had her teeth done, well checked, recently.

    I've tried to use the inside leg as you describe Scats but either she ignores it or I'm not doing it right. If I put myself where I feel I should be with the reins i.e. even either side of the wither, she falls through the shoulder. If I then ask for inside flexion instead of being tempted by the outside rein she gives the bend but walks a small circle rather than stay on the track. If I do what I instinctively do and cross the inside hand and get all twisted she's worse (obviously - instincts stink lol)

    Weirdly she was better walking on a loose rein at the end of a session the other day. Not perfect but better.

  5. #5
    Old nag
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    Default Re: Falling in and tanking through left shoulder.

    Quote Originally Posted by PapaverFollis View Post
    I dont think its a saddle problem as its a heather moffat treeless... so flexible especially for shoulder movement. I could try ditching the breastplate I use though in case thats blocking her. She's also been physioed recently... "weak young horse but not major problems and had her teeth done, well checked, recently.

    I've tried to use the inside leg as you describe Scats but either she ignores it or I'm not doing it right. If I put myself where I feel I should be with the reins i.e. even either side of the wither, she falls through the shoulder. If I then ask for inside flexion instead of being tempted by the outside rein she gives the bend but walks a small circle rather than stay on the track. If I do what I instinctively do and cross the inside hand and get all twisted she's worse (obviously - instincts stink lol)

    Weirdly she was better walking on a loose rein at the end of a session the other day. Not perfect but better.
    We solved the problem by by a Solution (treefree) saddle!
    "Don't LET him do that"

  6. #6
    Probably skiving milliepops's Avatar
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    Default Re: Falling in and tanking through left shoulder.

    Is this a new thing? or has she always been like this? it's not clear from your OP but I'm going to assume she's always been like this.

    In which case the advice from scats is spot on, and...

    Quote Originally Posted by PapaverFollis View Post
    I've tried to use the inside leg as you describe Scats but either she ignores it or I'm not doing it right. If I put myself where I feel I should be with the reins i.e. even either side of the wither, she falls through the shoulder. If I then ask for inside flexion instead of being tempted by the outside rein she gives the bend but walks a small circle rather than stay on the track.
    ^^ they don't *know* how to respond to your leg like this, so you will need to teach her. don't get frustrated if she doesn't respond straight away, don't change what you're doing either- just keep on showing her what you mean and gradually she will cotton on. Some find a little tap with the stick helpful to understand what the correct response is. Stick with it, there are no short cuts. Make sure you are central in the saddle too and not being pushed to the outside.

    Worth a quick check over physically, I have a right-banana horse that is coming into work and she leans onto her left shoulder and is against my left leg as a result, physio came today and loosened her out a bit which should help with the straightening work I'm doing.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Falling in and tanking through left shoulder.

    Thank you. She basically has always been like it but has got a bit worse since having a break from schooling. She understands leg as a forwards aid (and is very forwards but will rush on given half a chance... So arguably not actually on the aides so to speak) but has struggled with sideways. Before the schooling hiatus she was getting her head round a bit of leg yield and a baby shoulder in. But it doesn't come naturally to her and I think she has regressed and maybe I'm expecting too much and getting frustrated. As soon as she feels insecure because my frustration level has started to rise she gets ten times worse of course. I did try some in hand work with her but we struggled cos her default when confused is to walk right over the top of you... And although she's not tall she's a big girl. I need to attempt again and work hard on being ultra patient so she doesn't get confused. This is what is happening under saddle as well I suppose, confusion leads to barging. General handling and leading she is not bargey and I stay on top of any tendency to be such but again... when shes fearful at all her go to behaviour is squashing.

    Would sitting to the outside make her swing in? I'm trying to feel what happens in my body when she starts to go as I think our combined basic straightness, at a halt, is ok but her starting the shoulder manouver sets me off on a twist that just makes her worse. But I can't think. I need some video for my own reference at least.

    She's been ACPAT physio checked very recently and no issues found just generally weak with a big frame to lug about.

    I might carry a short stick tomorrow and I'll definitely watch for overbending and making sure she is still listening to that leg on the other rein. I'm not sure if using the stick will just add to the problem if it is a panic/confusion driven response...

  8. #8

    Default Re: Falling in and tanking through left shoulder.

    I probably sound like I'm very impatient. I kind of am naturally but do know that there are no shortcuts. Granny horse (my now retired mare) taught me that. Its just knowing it deeply enough to stay Zen when I'm actually in the saddle that is hard.

    Also I don't 100% know that she's not taking advantage of a weakness in my seat to nap and get out of work that she finds harder. And then what? Or is she just confused?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Falling in and tanking through left shoulder.

    Also I am aware that asking on a forum is a bit silly when really an instructor is required but I just feel miserable and stuck and like I'm messing her up and I'm just hoping something someone has said or will say will spark a thought process that ends in getting unstuck.

    The worst thing is feeling useless and like I'm ruining a good horse with my uselessness.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Falling in and tanking through left shoulder.

    Goodness, so much of what you said rings true for me! We're going through the exact same thing. TBH it's really hard to explain in a forum and it's hard to know what the right solutions will be for you as yours might be caused by different things.

    But I did want to say that this has been fixable for me, so there is hope. Once I'd checked that there wasn't anything physical going on, the fix for me has been an amazing instructor. I couldn't have done it on my own. We're still a work in progress but loads better after 2/3 months of lessons and with her schooling him weekly. She's really transformed the both of us.

    I hope you have a breakthrough. Don't worry if it takes time, slow and steady is fine.
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