- April 9, 2018
- Savanna Simmons
I read a post on Facebook about a horse leaning in their shoulders on their circles, to the point where the horse would about cut the circle in half in its attempt to evade a nice round shape. Many folks said a few good things: be sure your horse travels in a nice straight line first, with the shoulders square under you. From there, do a square with straight sides and nice 90º corners with the shoulders lifted, then turn your square into a hexagon with nice upright corners. Do this at each gait, and see where you end up.
Using your inside rein and inside leg up toward Button One, you can probably pick your horse up and keep those shoulders where they need to be. If you can accomplish it that way, then you’re good to go. Be sure you can keep that horse there with less and less work on your part to develop an independent horse, not one that falls to pieces as soon as your cues go away.
If that isn’t quite doing the trick, then your horse probably isn’t gathered under himself. By encouraging him to bring his hips in toward the middle of your circle, your horse’s shoulders will need to be upright (not leaning in) to accomodate this, otherwise he’ll likely fall over.
Starting at a walk, make sure your horse can properly move his hip while in motion, whether in a straight line or circle. Apply your outside leg at Button Three and your inside rein with just enough pressure to keep the shoulder supported and prevent more forward motion than wanted. Do this again at a trop and lope.
If his head is turning too far to the inside you may be pulling straight back and not upright enough or you may need to apply a bit of outside rein to balance him out. Hopefully you don’t have to pull too hard on both reins, but instead create a spot for your horse to balance between.
Once you’ve corrected your horse’s lean properly for just a stride or two, relax your cues, let your horse breathe and think, then, when your horse leans in again, apply pressure with your outside leg and inside rein and ask him to become round. It’s mighty hard for that shoulder to cheat you if your horse is rounded and upright.
About Savanna Simmons
I'm Savanna Simmons and I live north of Lusk, Wyoming, on the Four Three Ranch with my husband Boe and our sons, Brindle and Roan. I grew up evolving my horsemanship with clinicians like Ray Hunt, Joe Wolter, and Jack Brainard, but not within a...