View Full Version : How to stetch over the withers/back for an uphill green horse
May. 2, 2012, 11:51 AM
(sorry for cross post, but no responses on other board.) I have a green younger Dutch mare that I am starting to work. She is built very uphill. My trainer is going to help me with this, but I was wondering if anyone had any good tips or exercises to help with this. We are still working on balance and forward. She is still wiggly. I know she needs to stretch over her withers. "Real" work started one month ago. Before that she had only been worked sporadically. She just completed 30 days training and I brought her back home on Monday. She's already improved quite a bit just with consistent work. Thanks for any help.
May. 2, 2012, 12:29 PM
? I would start with a regular program of lunging using side reins in whatever set up works for her. use all leather ones so there is no bouncing and no extra weight. use them long so she can stretch down/out.
once she can lunge easily both directions without falling in or out reaching for the bit and with good uphill canter departs (means she is pushing from behind) -- then you can begin real work under saddle - just concentrate on response to the driving aids, and start with some Turn on the forehand to teach later aids.
once she is more balanced and knows how to stretch, just the work, if done correctly - will get her reaching... that is what is so COOL about correct training is that if the horse is trained correctly it is just the natural response to the work.
you might get the klimke book or watch some of his or hers tapes.
also do some trail riding, galloping and jumping.
May. 2, 2012, 12:49 PM
I'll just quote the reply I gave you on the hunter forum.
Lateral flexibility gives you longitudinal flexibility/stretch.
Since she's very green, that means working on teaching her to give laterally in her poll and basic bending work - large serpentines, large figure 8s, etc., since you don't want to stress a young horse's legs with too many tight turns.
Don't succumb to the temptation of trying to "set" the head low, and you'll find she wants to stretch down as she gets softer through her body. I have a very uphill TB who has finally learned to want to carry his body soft, long and level like a hunter (he still doesn't move like one!) after a lot of work on lateral flexibility.
May. 2, 2012, 12:59 PM
Thanks netg for being the one on h/j to respond! :) I do appreciate it. And thanks mbm. This horse was started late and is now 6, so I say younger, but not young. :) And we have done some small jumps with her as well. I do have some video but I hesitate to post as I am not sure I want to be picked apart. ;-) But she's just had one month of consistent work and there is already a good deal of improvement. I still am working on FORWARD as she sucks back a bit.
May. 2, 2012, 01:21 PM
Yeah - oince you get forward with steering then you can start on a 20 meter circle and slosly let reins out while driving forward and asking for stretch over the topline. Be certain to use inside leg to outside rein and start getting her to bend - that will help with her ability to do L&L.
My KWPN mare was the same way - I did nothing but L&L (at least it seemed that way) at W/T/C on 20 meter circles (a figure 8 helps learn them to balance) for about 6 months. Then once she had that topline muscle I allowed her to start bringing her head and neck more upright. But there is where you'll need to be careful - everytime she gets "Looky" or tense or hollow it's immediately back to L&L to re-capture the back. Once you got her back then you can allow her to come up naturally where she wants to be.
The L&L on this type of horse is your friend. Helps them to relax, get the butt engaged and to stretch their topline. Plus you'll get a "10" on your stretchy circles when you encounter them during a test if you ride them correctly.
May. 2, 2012, 01:23 PM
netg has it right one the mark. My trainer has taught me to get my horse soft through his jaw, poll and neck, and my horse will get low and stretch out on his own. The big key is to LET the horse stretch. My fault was holding too much, once I learned to just let the horse stretch out and find the contact, the world is a much happier place for both me and my horse!