Boomer has always been crooked- banana left- if you will. It takes all the strength in my right leg to get him to bend around for a circle to the right. Or so I thought.
I have recently realized that the problem is mine. Big surprise.
Since getting a new saddle that fits better and having a much more round horse, my saddle has been slipping ever so slightly to the left. I generally have to dismount mid-ride and straighten things up and tighten the cinch.
I was frustrated with Boomer at first. He was bloating up and not allowing me to get the cinch tight enough until he trotted a little.
Then I realized that the saddle was always slipping left. Even if we only went right and even cantered to the right, which would cause me to weight my right side more (or so you would think).
FINALLY, I realized that the saddle slipping to the left was making it uncomfortable and possibly painful for him to bend right! He was having to bend into the spine of the saddle.
After our 10 mile ride in the field, where we were mostly traveling straight, I did notice that my saddle was slipping a little to the left, but not enough to bother me because it had been a gradual change. I also noticed that Boomer was getting increasingly more 'banana left' towards the end of the ride.
He is crooked BECAUSE he is uncomfortable. He is uncomfortable because *I* am crooked.
Aw, crap. So, what do I do? First, I need to be more diligent about making sure my saddle is secure and comfortable for him the whole ride. Then I need to focus on staying centered and not weighting my left stirrup more. But, how do I do that if riding crooked feels straight? I do notice that I feel my left foot pushing down into the stirrup when I post.