Asymmetry ! Does it really matter ?
Asymmetry in the rider, does it really matter?
Does it effect your horses performance?
Asymmetry in your horse, is that an issue?
There’s lots to think about in these questions…
If you continue to lean on your right leg all day this effects your pelvis, back, shoulders, neck, ankles and feet, so then if you continue to do this whilst riding, your horse will feel this imbalance, resulting in affected performance, pain, potential behaviour change, and over time muscle imbalance.
As a physiotherapist I see lots of asymmetry on a daily basis and spend many a session aiming to straighten, loosen and problem solve, Working with the owner/rider to formulate a plan to reduce an asymmetrical imbalance.
Does the horse make the rider asymmetrical or is it the rider making the horse asymmetrical ?
There is often one or more contributing factors that result in an asymmetry.
Possible contributing factors to asymmetry
ill fitting tack
bad/unbalanced hoof care
Poor tooth care
Uneven work/exercise regime (such as always trotting on the same diagonal)
An even horse is a happy, productive, willing & sound horse!
How can you help your horse to be as even as possible ?
when riding try doing everything on the left & right, think about what your horse finds easy and hard. Your horse will not automatically evenly work their body
You don’t need an arena to do this, try changing your diagonals regularly when out hacking, or make sure you canter in both directions around the field
are you sitting straight ? It’s always good to get yourself checked out help keep you even too!
Have someone watch you and your horse work together, eyes on the ground are a great way of getting another prospective!
Regular physio sessions, keeping an eye on muscle development, suppleness & treating tight areas before they become a problem.
ensure regular & good hoof trimming/shoeing, a slight change of hoof angle can result in huge postural changes further up the body.
Teeth! How do they make a difference to asymmetry ? if there’s an uneven contact due to a sore/sharp tooth, this then concertinas along the spine resulting in crookedness, and left unnoticed will build up uneven muscle and movement patterns And will probably result in a grumpy unwilling pony too.
To conclude, asymmetry is all about being aware of the body, equine and human! Observing, training and treating what’s in front of us to produce a more equal, stronger and comfortable form of ourselves and our equines.
For more information or to enquire about physiotherapy sessions feel free to get in touch.