A little brag...I love my old man! A learning experience for both of us!
I don't tend to post things on here about my own horses, but I just couldn't resist sharing!
I was reading the thread about neck stretchers and thought I'd just share a mini-success story that I included an outcome that I didn't think was possible!
A little back story- I've had the Saintly Steed for close to a decade, he has taught me so so so much. He was (is) a jumper, and for the last 3+ years has been a pasture pet/ pretend eq horse for some local finals/ jumper when I find a show with jumpers that fits into my schedule/where I like the footing
Last May, Saintly Steed popped a splint, everyone told me he'd be out a month, but his last one took 6 months to heal, so when October rolled around and he was sound I was pumped! (only 5 months off! And really, it was my first summer in Texas, how much riding was I really going to do anyways?)
I decided that we were going back to basics for both of us, not riding for 5 months was the longest I hadn't ridden in 19 years, and with his age I knew we needed to take it slow. I really wanted to see if I could get him to be soft and round- he had a hard mouth when I bought him, but he packed me around safely and we won. He was a dressage horse in his former life, and he had nice flat work but I didn't know how to "do" any of it when I got him, so we didn't! Over time I learned basic all the way through advanced flat work, riding lots of different horses and taking lessons with a dressage trainer on the side, but I never used this 'knowledge' on him, he has his way of going and a routine, and when you didn't stick to it he didn't perform! (He's too darn smart!)
Anyways, Saintly Steed got thrown in a happy mouth loose ring and I got some spurs and we headed out to the fields. We took it really slow, but now (maybe 6 weeks later?) he's like a new horse! He goes into a frame, is soft and relaxed at the poll.
I was never one for 'gadgets' but a few years ago borrowed a friends neck stretcher, and got the same result, but as soon as it came off it was back to nose out, head up, and tough. I really felt accomplished knowing that I was able to teach my horse (or just 'remind' him of) something, and that he seems happier (maybe just less angry) about doing flat work now!
I didn't post this thread for it to become a conversation on gadgets vs. no gadgets, but I'm just really proud of both me and my wonderful horse for figuring out a way for him to be in a frame, responsive, soft and more pleasurable to ride! I have now accepted the fact that he will always go a certain way when jumping, but at least on the flat he is much improved!