Ziggy is banana shaped


Jane&Sid these days!
Apr 30, 2010
Surrey Hills
Well, yesterday I had another lesson with my RWYM instructor. You may recall that this summer's project is teaching Ziggy to bend.

Sarah (my instructor) asked me when I was riding in a straight line which side of Ziggy was longer? I bemoaned my lack of feel but said the left. This is correct - he is longer on the left side than the right. His head tends to point slightly right and his left front leg moves fastest. When I ask him to bend his head to the left, he resists. Worst, because his rib cage is off centre to the left, there is much less pony under the saddle on the right hand side than on the left, and the saddle and I tend to slip into the hole.

We spent the whole lesson working on getting him straighter. What I was asked to do was slow down his left front leg with individual Whoas on the left rein, and activate his left back leg with a leg aid as his belly began to move to the right. This was a challenge to my coordination but it did eventually have the effect of making him a little straighter, making his back end more active, and keeping saddle and rider straighter.

At the end of the lesson my friend Suzi, who I share a field with and who is training as an equine chiropractor (she already does people) came to film me and Ziggy for her thesis, which is about horse, saddle and rider interaction. She put coloured dots all over me and coloured tape on Ziggy's spine and little flags on his hips. The footage apparently clearly showed his wonkiness and its effect on me! I will post some clips if I can get hold of them.

So before I can bend him, I have to be able to get him straight. This is going to be a long job...


Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2012
That really is fascinating! I had similar problems with ale, he would always go round pointing his nose to the left and being generally wonky. I thought I just needed to bend him the other way but he really struggled. My instructor just made me keep adjusting him to get him straighter and also I found on him riding more forward really helped. Eventually it paid off he started going beautifully and then we started working on bending which was a challenge to say the least but he was doing so well and were getting some really beautiful carriage out of him before he did his check ligament in xx


Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
Suffolk, UK
It's always made me chuckle when people have said the key to correct bend is straightness, it seems so silly but it's so true, and so difficult, good luck x


With out my boys life would be bland
Apr 16, 2009
Straightness is what my RI is always talking about. Chanter is a wiggle worm but Ginger moves very straight when he is not the problem in ME.

I love hearing about your lessons looking forward to seeing the photos I bet they are really interesting


Learning all the time
Jul 18, 2005
North west
I don't know if it's of any use to Suzi/you, but I was helping out a fried a few weeks ago and came across ride align - they make lightweight zip up dotted tops for this!

Would be interested to watch footage of you both w/t/c :)

Have you looked At the saddle without rider (after lunging or free schooling)? Is it even?

Do you girth up a little each side? Or haul up one side once on - so throwing the saddle out when tightening girth?

Having read your bareback post, I would hazard a guess most likely is a technical saddle issue (girth fastening, uneven flocking, uneven stirrup leathers etc) or that you ride differently when you have stirrups - bareback forces you to relax to stay on - often when we tense we "collapse" - whether that's drawing up lower leg or collapsing through hip or twisting shoulders.

I think this requires videos (any excuse eh!!? Hehe)


Feb 9, 2011
Ride align was created by someone I use to ride with.

She has a Facebook page for anyone that's interested.


Well-Known Member
Mar 2, 2006
Me and Moët have also been working on this the last few lessons, using a Combination of everything u described - shortening the front left and lengthening the hind left, using indirect rein on her left side of the neck, but absolutely more importantly keeping me strong and stacked not twisting/bending out to the left, as effectively my body tends to match the shape of Moëts.

It's fascinating stuff. I just wish I could afford weekly lessons as I seem to forget by my next lesson or don't get time to practise really - however when I rode in the halter the other week it was amazing how much straighter Moët was. I believe this was because the 'only' way to keep her straight was by using my thighs and my core, and as I had to focus so hard on it instead of relying on reins she was much much straighter. Though I was knackered lol


Well-Known Member
Mar 2, 2006
Ooooo just went to look at the Ride Align, that's exactly the sort of thing I want, would be brilliant for lessons and also if I can set up my camera at home in the school (when it's finished being built!) so that I can watch it back and easily view how wonky/straight I am! It's a shame they don't have a horse version LOL

Flipo's Mum

Heavy owner of a Heavy
Aug 17, 2009
Perthshire, Scotland
I've always had stirrup length issues and am convinced I could do with some alignment sorting out as think it's transmitting to Flipo. Sure enough when my friend rode him she said he seemed to always be bending off to one side, even though we were out on a hack.
I had another no-stirrups attempt a couple of nights ago and this time Flipo was a lot more forward going and I kept getting tossed to one side, I had to hold onto the saddle. I wonder if it's our tack!
As for the ride align stuff, I went to a saddle fitting evening with bhs recently and they had all the riders wear a top with vertical lines on it to let us see how straight the riders are. I think my lines would end up like diagonals.


Jane&Sid these days!
Apr 30, 2010
Surrey Hills
I girth up carefully, a hole each side at a time, and never tighten by more than one hole when on board. I just had my saddle checked and rotate my stirrups regularly.

My right leg is weaker than my left from the knee down (see earlier thread about spastic lower leg) owing to an old ITB injury but my trunk is relatively even and stable. I feel that Ziggy's wonkiness predates my riding him - my RI remembers riding him when he was brand new to me and he was the same then. I think it's just unfortunate that my weak leg is on the right.


Well-Known Member
Sep 14, 2009
Tobes recently always pushes his shoulder out to the left. Is extremely annoying and extremely tireing correcting him constantly.

I think I need to have the very fierce back lady out again - clearly an issue going on and I would suspect in his shoulder.

Generally horses being uneven is a physical issue, rather than a rider issue. We end up being lopsided or dropping a hip to compensate their uneveness.
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