Thank you very much Donald.
It's something I work with for couple of years now, since I figured Ruphina her leftlead canter is well was... not there.
She could easily do a right lead canter on the left lead though.
Or do front left lead and hind right lead.
Do you mean a right lead canter on the left CIRCLE?
I knew she was crooked, but by then I figured that a big part of it all is in what leg they prefer and that the bend has a lot to do with the feet.
If the feet don't fit, the bend won't either.
So it really did influence my training.
Yes, the bend is the indicator, I believe, far more than the tendency to favor the use of one foreleg over the other. In truth I think we should be looking at the whole body condition for the horse and stop focusing so much on a single part to "correct," what we think of as a 'problem.'
I have a difficult time with some students getting them to understand what you obviously understand quite well. They want to think too much in terms of a single problem, find the smallest element of the problem and attempt to fix it, ignoring that the horse doesn't come in packages of his parts like a delivery from the butcher.
He is a whole being and each part effects the whole horse. Building one part with little thought to the remainder of the horse leads to imbalance in other directions (Rollkur is a perfect example of this principle).
I work alot on strengthening the left hindleg, and 'destrengthen' (that's probably not a word
) the left front foot.
Strengthening consists of conditioning the muscle group and it's tendon attachments and the joints rotation of any that are part of the group to be able to stretch more and contract more through an arc of movement. Even power lifters (in weight lifting competition) have to deal with this issue, though it appears to be all short movements. It's not. The fuller range of use of the muscle groups gives the strength.
I may only have to move my hand through a lifting arc of 10 inches and I can build a great deal of power up even if I only exercise over the ten inch span - yet I will have far more power in that ten inch span if I exercise through a 16 in span of movement. And heaven help me if I find that for some reason I need to move 14 inches ... as we so often have to adjust our span of movement with power to lift in real life situations.
The horse, of course, has to do this all the time with many body parts.
In her case her left front foot is 'too strong' and the right front foot to weak, in the back it's the other way around.
Diagonal laterality. The only gait that escapes this diagonal emphasis in all other gaits is the Pace, where the right for and right rear move together in a stride, then the left pair together. Your focus on this diagonal sequence and movement is key to development of both sides of the horse.
Since working on that regularly, her canter has become better (now she can do a left lead canter on the right side she's so proud of her left lead
But also her bendingability (ability to bend is probably a better term) on the left has grown, she can right now move her left hindleg under her mass better.
Ah...so satisfying. Your horse, by the way, is typical of most. Most are foreshortened on the left to one degree or another, and flaccid and overstretched on the right. Thus they can left canter lead more easily than right lead canter.
And you have identified one of the most important elements in exercise of both sides - in your horse, the left to lengthen the arc of movement for strength, and the right to shorten and tighten the arc for strength. It is that ability to bring the hind leg well up under the horse.
There is a discussion and description of a very neat little exercise in hand as the beginning point for doing this very thing. Condensed it is this: Trot the horse in hand building impulsion, bring the horse to a halt, and before the impulsion can die away move the hindquarters one step away from the side you are on.
The object is for the horse to be able to cross over in front of the far hind leg with the near one. That of course requires they bring that nearest leg forward to cross over.
Doesn't seem like much but I think it's a key exercise both front and rear in fact. It causes the hip and the shoulder joints to open and close far more widely than if the horse crosses over behind the far leg in a lateral movement. It leads to more agility, and agility is that ability to move surely with power without interfering with the full arc of movement.
But I always heard from everyone that it was the muscles in the back I should be training and the only focus was on that. It is good to read an article about the importance of dominant feet. (yeah! I didn't make it all up in my head
) And that it is in fact a diagonal pair.
I get the very clear message that you did not go with what "everyone," said but rather with your own analysis and likely your heart as well. No, you didn't just make it up. You thought.
Thinking is a rare thing, too rare.
Many people are writing about crookedness, but not everything is equally useful when it comes to informing others rightfully.
(does this make any sense?)
Yes, there is a great deal of misinformation out there. And often very painful to the horse when applied.
There is an exercise I like to do to keep and to further development of the horse's ability to curve their body to stay straight on the track (meaning their body, nose to tail, stays bent to the curve of the track). I don't do it in the beginning as it's pretty strenuous. It's the spiral, either on the lungeline or mounted.
Often the last step before I move the horse outward again consists of one step over in front with the inside leg still, and the outside leg stepping in front and across the inside leg.
The further out on the spiral the horse happens to do it the more agility and bend they are capable of. And of course you see it in all lateral movement of the horse that is properly conditioned.
I suggest being careful to not overdo the spiral track though. Keep it easy for the horse. Build gradually. It is a trot exercise, though it can be somewhat useful at the walk.