All horses are born asymmetrical. No horse is perfect! Each one has a dominant side, which serves them just fine naturally. Unfortunately, when you add the weight of a rider the lack of straightness through their body can become an issue. It should be your goal to teach the horse how to move in a balanced way with each leg barely weight evenly.
Signs of Asymmetry in Horses
- Bends more easily one way than the other
- Cuts corners and falls on the inside shoulder going one way, and overbends the other direction
- Saddle slips to one side, which can make the rider also lean
- Stiff and unresponsive to the bit, may even lean on it
- Is tense, resistant, and has trouble relaxing
- Trips constantly
- Rhythm of the gaits may be irregular
- Has trouble picking up the correct canter lead one way
- Picks up speed or rushes in the canter
- Leans to the inside when circling at quicker gaits
Horses can be asymmetrical through their entire body. They will often favor a side. Additionally, they’ll have a preference in their front and hind legs. Watch a horse graze… which leg leads and which one supports? If their weight is always on their front right leg, then that is likely their dominant one.
It’s easy to notice the signs of an asymmetrical horse, unfortunately it takes hard work and time to correct it. You’ll need to teach your horse how to move straightly through various exercises. A good place to start is with a dressage or western dressage teacher!