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A SADDLE cannot FIT a horse if he's ridden. It can only "WORK", with or against the horse's body as the back changes shape during riding. Len Brown 

In this page, I will explain how horses become unilateral (one-sided), how to determine the level of your horse's imbalance or any other horse in a few seconds. What the saddle does to perpetuate the problem and how to use riding & The CorrecTOR to rehabilitation to a balanced animal. Enjoy, Len

SADDLE FIT & Balancing the onesided horse! by Len Brown
Most horses are left lead horses so what I'm about to explain is using the left lead horse for the example. Just reverse your thinking when applying it to the right lead dominant horse.
  A left lead horse drops his right front shoulder while carring the majority of his weight on the right fore. Therefore we can say he's a right-handed horse. Just like a right handed person carries more weight on their right leg during movement so does the horse, if he's right-handed, left-lead.
  In doing this the saddle drops to the right. The upper left wither catches the saddle from dropping further. That area gets sore as does the lower right scapula from the extra weight and pressure/impingement from the tree bar. What most people don't realize is what is happening at the other end of the horse!
  Since the horse operates in diagonals Rt.Ft. vs Lf.  R. and Lf.vs Rt.R. we have to work with and consider, the rear as important as the front. (The gaited horse is treated slightly different in some cases.)
  How the saddle can perpetuate the problem!
 Since the dropping of the shoulder in carrying weight and the saddle then causing pain, the natural reaction of the horse is to pull away from the direct pain. This means dropping the right shoulder further therefore causing more pain. This is what causes the problem to be magnified!
  The problem isn't helped by the right handed rider. He's sure his stirrups are even as he sits with a stable right leg and at speed, a swinging left. He carries more weight on that right leg all the time, it feels natural when the saddle is off to the right. If you don't believe this, watch riders from the rear and you'll swear that the majority have right stirrups adjusted longer than the left. "EVERYBODYS COMFORTABLE IN THIS SITUATION". Except the horse gets more sore and more one-sided. He eventually has many problems such as lameness and shoeing. Right suspensory lameness and a flater hoof with less heel on the right. An excellent concave hoof on the left that's smaller than the right.  Just look at the endurance horse that goes 50 miles at a trot. With 660, 8ft strides per mile X 50 there are 33,000 strides divided by 2. That equals 16,500 strides on a weak diagonal. Now let's look at why that's so important.
  The right front favored to carry the majority of weight in the left lead horse means the left rear doesn't work as hard. He becomes lazy on that left rear. The right rear is doing 50% more work than the left in a well developed unilateral left lead horse. The gluteals and longissimus are also working harder as they contract to elevate the forehand and laterally stabilize forward movement more on the right than the left. Why? Because of the lazy left rear and the right fore is just carrying the weight. It's not being elevated as much and the lateral stabalization that takes place, as with the left fore, is lessened dramatically.
   The legs of the horse are offset from the centerline (spinal column). When pushing off with a weak hindquarter and the back not working in conjunction with it, the rearend of the horse is shoved the opposite of the hind that pushes. When the DOMINANT LEFT LEAD horse pushes off with that lazy left rear, the hindquarters are pushed to the RIGHT! The lateral stabilization of forward movement is not induced by the lessened muscle action of the horse's back on the left side. It takes a clinic to explain any more of this, I don't expect you to conceptualize all of lateral stabilization. You can watch a competitive trail rider doing a trot while standing the stirrups and see the fatigued horse's back. The hindquarters of such a horse look like it's doing the rumba down the trail. Back and forth with every stride of the power trot, loin rubbing is the result. This only happens when the horses back isn't locked down via pain from excessive pressure at the front of the saddle. The one sided horse has the rear wiggling to only one side. The lazy loin is the one with the lessened saddle contact and all the movement. The weight bearing right fore drops the saddle to the right and the movement of the right loin is little. The right longissimus is contracting full force for elevation of the forehand and the left lead. Lateral stabilization thru segmented muscle action is complete on the right side. There is firm contact and little movement, under the saddle, of the right loin in the dominant left lead horse. With this in mind let me tell you how to check any well used horse for his degree imbalance in a matter of  seconds. HorseTrader's are you listening?
  Simply run your fingertips down the horses back about 5 inches out from the spinous process. From front to rear, this is a check for friction sensitivity (soreness). If the regularly ridden horse is tested in this manner you will get a response. There's movement of the loin area under every saddle. If the response is greater on one side than the other, that's the side of the favored lead. Why? Because it's the lazy hind working with the weightbearing front diagonal, carrying more weight of the forehand than the lead side.
   The degree of difference in reactions to this friction test tells you how one-sided (unilateral) that horse has become. A normal reaction of the horse to friction in the loin is 1" to 3" dip. A really friction sore horse is going to dip 2 or three times that. The well used horse that dips twice as much on one side than the other is well developed on the one hind showing least reaction. The lead is on the side of most reaction. The imbalance is easy to determine without ever getting on the horse or watching it move. How deeply inset this is, and the difficulties of  balancing the horse thru riding and saddling can be told thru another 8 muscles to be palpated and examining the feet. All this tells a story of the rider as well but the saddle often limits the riders ability to correct the problems of training, such as bending to the right and taking a right lead. Most training techniques for bending to the right are close to teaching to work with pain and pretty sad. Are you listening horsetrainers? 
    I hope this gives you a better picture of your horse. Thanks, LEN

Now the Saddling techniques used for development of the lazy left hind in the left lead dominant horse.  Or the lazy Right hind in the right lead prefered horse.
   To re-balance how your horse uses his body,  you must switch his timing. To do this in 3 strides is like a real Santa Claus for English riders.  For the gaited horse the only means for such is what I'm describing thru mechanical means via the saddle and the way you allow your horse to carry his body's load. For the western riders it's much the same as the gaited horse. Just a simple adjustment of the shims and your stirrups.
   The left lead horse is burdening his right and freeing up his left for the lead. Even at a walk and trot the muscle action is not even. What we are going to do is to burden his left and free up his right. Start by shortening the right stirrup strap 2  holes. Then lengthen the left strap the same. When I tell some riders this they say "oh I can't ride that way, I'll feel unbalanced!" Wait until we then use a Corrector with all the front balance shims on the right, none on the left. When a member of Britians Dressage Team (Elaine Wilson)hesitantly mounted her experienced horse, (that would no longer bend to or use his right fore), she sated " Theres no way I can ride like this, I'm to off center!" As soon as her horse had taken 2strides at a walk she was completely centered on this horse for the 1st time in months. He had been dropping the saddle and rider to the right that far, without the rider, trainer, or saddler catching it. The rider thought she was centered before. In 15 minutes of riding, the horse was using his right again. There were a number of tears in the eyes of those  watching that had been trying to correct the problems of this horse for months. She and this horse went on to become members of the national team. That's how fast it can work on a previouly trained horse that's just operating under pain. Now lets go to the less trained horse that has developed quite one sided thru saddle pain, no use or training in the right lead, and a less experienced rider.  
   The saddling formula is the same, but now we have to retrain the horse to use his lazy left rear. This is something he doesn't want to do. When riding a unilateral horse at the canter it's obvious that he won't take or doesn't hold a right lead. Riding at a trot and posting tells the rest of the story. He doesn't like a rider rising to the left diagonal. He will throw them off of it as soon as he can. On some horses it's hard to stay on it at all, the horse acts like he can hardly trot with you there. That's the very onesided horse. It's so uncomfortable for you to hold the rhythm, it tortures your lower back. Why would a horse that prefers his left lead, throw you off rising to the trot on extension of  his left leg?    Because your weight will be coming down when he has to push off with his lazy left hind the next stride. It then makes him work with that lazy left hind as soon as he switches his timing!
 That is what you want! Using the KISS method for those of you that can post but are unsure of which diagonal you're on, JUST POST TO THE DIAGONAL HE TRIES TO THROW YOU OFF OF. After 35 miles of posting, (2 training rides), on a really one-sided foxtrotter I owned, I had to look when I changed diagonals to be sure of which one I was on. Yes I square trot my gaited horses if at all possible. It lets me even them out. It's the only way they can  compete in endurance. Their gait, other than a pace, will wear them out and there's no way you can do competitive times. The pace is usually  a nightmare for saddling. I can put that same gaited horse back into gait with a snaffle on. I used to have a stallion out of Walkers Merry Lad. I called him ten speed, I never got him into a square trot. Mary Koefod rode him in a 50mi. endurance ride and let him rack for 32miles. She thought it was a blast. He then wore out and did a square trot the rest of the ride. The only time he ever did it again.
    For western or english riders doing arena work, post on the wrong or weak diagonal all the time. Don't start switching until your horse is using his weak hind. In lessons you're taught to switch regularly and for the turn. You never change the horses habit of developing his favorite side if you do this. Cantering in a right lead and many other things will develop that lazy rear. I'll leave the rest to you. None of this is complicated once you grasp what is going on and know how bad it is in your horse, and have a method to remedy. Have fun, Len  Ps. You can pull the shims out of the right side when you have him working on the left diagonal while posting. Once you achomplished the switch in timing they're not usually needed except for balancing the rider. For the trail rider, keep them in longer if you just ride at a walk. You may need them until your saddling problems disappear. Then go back to ft. to rear balancing with them.