Horse constantly resting one hip

My horse will only stand resting one hip or the other when on cross ties or when standing mounted. Getting him to stand square is almost impossible because he’ll just shift his weight to the other leg if asking him to stand on one. He’s been chiropracted, had body work done, been massaged, had PEM-F treatments, saddle custom fitted, etc. He shows no back, hip, or foot soreness and his back has been x-rayed for kissing spine. Anyone have any ideas why he is like this? Is it just laziness on his part? He has no problem standing on three feet when picking a front foot and will weight both hind feet. I’m kind of flummoxed about this. Not that it’s a big problem but just a little annoying.

I understa’d you. I m paranoid with these things. IS it more one leg than the other one? IME resting a hind leg under thé saddle it IS not normal, it s a red flag. Many people think that it IS just laziness etc but not for me. I ve dealt with so many issues that i am Always looking AT there posture when standing and i find that horses tell you a lot with their attitude and posture.

Mostly on his left hind but he’ll shift to the right hind off and on. He’ll be totally relaxed with lip drooping and shift his weight from one to the other, no change in attitude at all. He is long in the back if that makes a difference. This isn’t a new thing, he’s done it since I bought him 2 years ago.

Shifting one hind to the other can be an early sign of hind bilateral lameness due to DSLD/ESPA, or possibly arthritis. Get a vet to flex test his hinds and go from there.

Can you post a conformation-type picture of him, standing on flat level ground? If you can snap one with him standing on all 4, that’s best. I also want to be able to clearly see the feet, especially the hinds.

JB, it might take a while but I’ll try to take one this afternoon when I go to the barn.

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Hmmmmmm. When feeling relaxed and “not in work” (like when I show him the arena before working or stop to talk for a bit to someone) my horse will often rest one hind or the other. Sometimes he really tweaks my own hips. When in work, he doesn’t do this. He halts square. He can both be super lazy and hypervigilant.

Please report back on your guy.

Were these done only because he rests one hip, or for other reasons?

Is he otherwise sound when working?

I’m not sure I would be that concerned if he has no other symptoms/issues, but based on this sentence I wonder if this is just one of the symptoms of potential lameness.

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My horse has a habit of not standing square. Often with one or the other hind leg cocked, on the ground but not under saddle. I hadn’t noticed it really until I was trying to take a bunch of pictures with him standing square for our saddle fitting adventure.

I started doing carrot stretches with him for fun and noticed on day two that horse squared himself up to do the stretch. Within a few days it was a lot easier (read actually possible) to get him to stand square for pictures. When I quit doing the carrot stretches, got distracted with life, he went back to standing not square and cocking a hind leg.

Cheap enough to try to see if it helps your horse too!


I had his back x-rayed when I had him at the vet during his last chiro treatment which was about a year ago. He’s very long like I said and had a lump just in front of his croup. I thought perhaps he had some spinal issue but the x-rays were clear. The lump as since gone away with proper work. He is sound generally even with the constant weight shifting. I have him worked on regularly just for general wellness and to keep him feeling his best. I keep hoping though that the body work would eventually help him enough that he will stand square.

Sorry forgot to take pictures yesterday, will try again today.

I do carrot stretches with him not regularly but at least once or twice a week. He’s got all the moves down. I haven’t noticed if he’s standing square when doing them but I’ll do them tonight and see if he is. We reach to both sides, down between the front legs, and straight out in front.

The stretch that I noticed having impact on my boy most is the one reaching for the back fetlocks. In my brief experience, it seems most valuable to do the stretches daily.

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I’ll try that one tonight. He’d turn himself into a pretzel if he thought he’d get a treat.

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You’ve got a willing student at least!