Diagonal Imbalance of a horse – Natural Asymmetry

Welcome to Riding Academy.
My name is Marijke de Jong

In this video you’ll discover more about the natural point of weight of the horse and its consequences. Asymmetry leads to a natural point of weight that is not exactly in the middle of the horse an diagonal imbalance.

What does that mean?

Let’s start from the assumption that in a straight horse the center of balance, or center of gravity, lies in the middle of the body. So the point of weight of a straight horse, the blue spot, is exactly in the middle. And there is a uniform distribution of the weight of the horse on the four legs. So if the weight of a small horse is 800 pounds, each leg carries 200 pounds.

The NATURAL point of weight of a asymmetric horse is NOT exactly in the middle of the body. And there is no uniform distribution of the weight on the four legs. Asymmetry is characterized by the point of weight being displaced forward and to the right or to the left shoulder. And this particularly shoulder is carrying most of the weight, so it carries far more than 200 pounds.

Let’s take a look at the left bended horse.
Left bended horses are mostly right handed. Therefore in a left bended horse, the weight is being displaced direction the right front leg, in most cases. In other words, it is displaced forward along a diagonal line drawn from the left hind leg to the right shoulder. The blue spot represents the weight onto the right shoulder.
In case of a right bended horse the weight is being displaced direction the left front leg, in most cases.
The easiest way to identify this kind of crookedness is on the circle.

On the left circle, a left-bended horse falls out with its right shoulder. On the right circle a left-bended horse leans on its right shoulder and swings its hindquarters out. As a result the circle gets bigger on the left rein and on the right rein the horse falls into the circle. But pay attention: This is just generally speaking, some horses have the tendency on both circles to lean on the inside shoulder.

Lets take a closer look on a left bended horse on the circle to the left.
When a left-bended horse is working on the left circle, it relies on its right front leg as its main support.
This results in the horse losing its balance and tends to make the circle bigger. Consequences are overstraining the front leg. The same is happening with a right bended horse on the right circle. The weight is being displaced direction the left leg, in most cases. The centrifugal force is triggered by the left outside shoulder falling out. When the outside shoulder falls out, the rest of the body must follow. This results in the horse losing its balance and tends to make the circle bigger.

Lets take a look on a right bended horse on the circle to the reft:
The horse is placing excess weight on its left front leg and the horse is leaning to the left.
In order to keep its balance it is twisting the rest of its body, its hindquarters, round its left foreleg. The hindquarters shear away. This picture indicates how the right hind leg is about to go wide toward the outside edge of the circle.

You can see the area which shows the distance that the hind leg is thrown outward. The same is happening with a left bended horse on the right circle. The inside hind leg cannot reach an appropriate point of weight and it will often make a shorter step or will step beyond the point of weight. Shear forces place enormous strain on the joints and place considerable strain on the sacroiliac joint. Possible consequences are knee and hock problems. All these symptoms result in loss of balance and sometimes may cause irreparable harm.

So in summary:
The forward center of gravity combined with natural crookedness has far-reaching effects. The diagonal imbalance has effects on its health and soundness and leads possibly to problems.

Many of the riding problems we see are because the rider does not know HOW the horse should best carry a rider. The solution is to straighten the horse by placing the point of weight exactly under the rider and make the overweight shoulder more free. Balance in connection with a moving horse means correct, uniform distribution of the weight of horse and rider on its four legs.

Especially shoulder in is the perfect exercise to accomplish this. Due to shoulder in the weight will be transferred from the outside shoulder diagonally backward direction inside hind leg. It is a great exercise to straighten a horse and it will help to balance your horse.

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