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Abduction vs the cross over in the pivot

When people teach the pivot to a horse whether it be on the saddle or on the ground, they tend to focus more on getting the cross over than anything else.

And that’s awesome but here is why getting the abduction part of the cross over is more important to the over all success of the maneuver and long term health of your horse.

Let’s first explain what abduction is. Abduction is the action of a limb moving away from the the body.

So why is abduction so important to the horses health? Well to start out with, teaching abduction helps keep your horse’s spine from collapsing to the inside which could cause nerve compression over a period of time. Correct abduction in this maneuver also cannot be done if a horse is falling forward as the horse’s center of balance is too far forward. By rocking the horse back a step and then asking for abduction, you can help set them up for better balance and success in the pivot. Also correct abduction helps build proper shoulder muscle.

Teaching proper abduction by leading with the inside leg rather than crossing over helps a horse be more connected to the inside rein in the turn. This can also help prevent runoffs and improve steering while riding.

While the crossover is going to happen and must happen in order for the pivot to be correct it is best kept as the second step in the series of pivot steps. Leading with the crossover vs the abduction step can cause for long term nerve compression. It can also eventually cause a horse to just fall forward and leave the turn and even end up turning on the forehand or just walk a small circle vs a pivot.

If you are interested in learning more about abduction or teaching the pivot, register at and click the lesson tab to set up a lesson or a consultation!!

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