We know as riders that being able to ride with equal strength left to right makes a huge impact. Now in reality it would be impossible to be 100% symmetrical but hey 99% will do!
I know you will have a rein you may be stiffer on, of your horse falls in or out on and often we say this is the horses’ weaker side. But is it the horses’ weaker side or is it your weaker side?
I’ve had this conversation with riders before and often there is no definite answer as over time the horse may respond to a rider’s weak side and vice versa so it’s basically chicken and the egg as to whether the horse caused your “bad rein” or you caused your horses!
Either way, it is you job as the rider to fix it. If it just your bad rein (for example if someone else riders your horse and they don’t find the same problem) then you of course need to even yourself up. If it’s both you and your horses’ bad rein then it’s still your job to even yourself up and then become strong enough to correct your horse to become equal again.
Let’s look at a couple of simple tests to find out which side is your strongest!
1 Leg Squat.
Starting sat on a bench with 1 leg raised, push up to standing and then slowly sit back down again. Now try with the other leg. Which side was easier? The standing leg that found it easiest is your most stable hip.
Side Plank Dip.
Lying on your side, get your whole body in a straight line, either stack your feet on top of one another or one in front on the other. With your elbow down and forearm flat on the floor, lift your whole body onto your elbows and feet, keeping your hips stacked on top of one another and trying not to tip forward or back. Now dip the bottom hip down to almost touch the floor and lift back up again. Do about 10 of these and then change sides. Which side was easier? The side on the bottom that found it easier is more likely to be the side you are most stable through your torso and shoulders. The weaker side may be the one that you tip or struggle to turn.
Does the stable hip match the stable shoulder? It doesn’t always as injuries, daily posture and habits can have an effect on these things.
How do you go about correcting these imbalances?
Do the test exercises! On both sides for say 2 sets of 10 and then do an extra set on your weaker side for a few weeks and notice how it improves both on the ground and most importantly on your horse.
It would be interesting to know how that has affected your horses’ “bad rein” now?