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  1. #101
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    Those neck stretcher things are NOT good for horses that already curl the neck. Just a warning.

    The low-deep-round is great for SOME horses, but not ALL.
    Horses that curl behind the bit do not use the bit properly. So that is the issue that should be addressed--just as you have explained.
    Riding the horse in the deep frame is too advanced for a curling horse. The curling first has to be addressed.

    Actually I have found that horses who curl up into a little ball I do have to ride to fix and therefore I don't usually lunge them. I like to have control of the "bump".
    I have worked curling horses through the issue with the help of the lunge. But I personally find it easier to ride--because basically you have to un teach them and then re teach them and I can do that easier in the saddle. But that's my personal issue.

    The low/deep/round position is correct for every body type and is a very necessary step of top line body building for youngsters. It puts the right kind of beef on them, especially on the lower back and flank. Which is often over looked. Especially in those horses who have a great amount of natural talent.
    Some horses, as mentioned, curl. This causes a issue not only with the ability to ride deep but also with the training scale.
    Teaching a horse who enjoys curling to NOT curl is super fun. NOT. And it takes a very long time. But it absolutely must be addressed before moving on to more advanced schoolings. And if it is skipped, at some point along the way someone will have to address the issue.

    "Why" one might ask, "should the curling be delt with even though the horse is scoring so well in the dressage due to it's very fake perma frame?"
    Well, because one issue with curling is that horse is not stretching it's topline and reaching into the bit. It's not using it's back properly and though a rider can get through (possibly even 2nd level) with this type of frame, it will eventually catch up in a negative way. Maybe the horse will start to stop at large fences. Maybe the horse will go lame in the back.
    Plus, I don't know about you guys, but galloping down to a very large box is super fun on a horse who is curled. Ever wonder if you are going to die? Try it. Super fun. For real.

    So, if the horse does indeed hold the bit properly, the correct progression is to stretch them out and work them properly in the long/deep frame to eventually curl less and less until the horse always searches for the contact instead of hiding from it.

    Remember, this all takes a very precise and technical ride with a very well educated hand. FEEL.

    If the horse doesn't hold the bit then the rider gets to spend countless weeks or [usually] monthS teaching them how to hold the bit, and THEN teaching them to stretch the neck in order to work properly over the top line and to follow the training scale.
    Until the body can be stretched, and the horse can be placed in ANY position by the rider, the horse is stuck at training level or the beginnings of 1st level.


    And I just happen to have some experience with photo documentation. : )

    1. Curling horse. (this is the TB in the videos)
    http://i128.photobucket.com/albums/p...pse11f1671.jpg
    2. fixed under saddle within several rides of forward and asking for stretch
    no more curling. Also with lunging using the neck stretcher and side rein.
    http://i128.photobucket.com/albums/p...pse635d07a.jpg

    1. curling horse
    http://i128.photobucket.com/albums/p...ps3eccceb9.jpg
    2. fixed under saddle over the course of 1 year with the "bump" method:
    no more curling:
    http://i128.photobucket.com/albums/p...ps196774ba.jpg
    http://i128.photobucket.com/albums/p...pse4d0cad5.jpg
    Yes, this is the infamous HH as a 4 and 5 y/o. : )

    1. I wish I had a curling pic of this horse. He was the WORST and had me in tears sometimes.
    2. I fixed him with a bump technique incorporation the lunge and use of a veinna rein.
    http://i128.photobucket.com/albums/p...ps0c425541.jpg
    Allison Sprenger now rides him.

    1. (my fav of course) curling baby Boomer at age 4
    http://i128.photobucket.com/albums/p...psd04b02df.jpg
    2. no curling Boomer at age 6
    Long/Deep/Low technique used for 6 months or so..
    http://i128.photobucket.com/albums/p...ps77ec02dd.jpg

    That all being said, I don't think the OPs horsie is in danger of curling. He's fairly stiff and short necked.
    It's usually the horses who have neck to spare and are made of silly putty who curl because it's sooo easy with a great long bendy neck.
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  2. #102
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    I think I need to clarify. There are some horses who I work on working deep...and others that I do not because they natural go there...so my focus is a bit different.

    I was riding my two today, one I don't really think I ride deep and my other guy who I DO work on getting deep and decided that what I'm really doing is working them in the same general shape....it is just that with the mare, she is there without any work so it isn't my focus.
    Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Feb. 16, 2013 at 10:07 PM.
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  3. #103
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    Purplnurpl- when you say the "bump" method, so you mean a short, upward pull with one of the reins every time the horse drops behind the bit?

    I have a curler who will stretch downward, long-and-low at all three gaits (quite happily) but as soon as you start to shorten the reins you get a short, curled neck. I've had some people tell me to do "bump" method, others say do long and low and gradually shorten the rein. Unfortunately, I feel like neither provides a consistent result.

    I can get her to push into the bridle with more of a training level neck position when I get her forward. But as soon as start to ask for her to engage a bit more and take more weight behind (say with a shoulder-in, so its not like I'm half-halting with the reins and she's responding to that), the curling starts as soon as that hind leg starts stepping under. She doesn't ever drop the contact when she curls, just very light and not actively seeking it.

    Its the worst at the canter, which can be very nicely balanced, straight, and forward but still never really opening up that throat latch. Counter canter helps, shoulder-in at the canter helps, but I always feel like I'm begging her to stretch her neck out.

    I can get a couple good strides with the "bump" method, but then lose it. Do I just need to be more consistent and keep with it? I'll admit, I might have given up on the bump method too soon since I felt like I could never get her to stay out on the contact for more than a few strides and thought it just wouldn't work with her. Maybe I need to send her to you.



  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eventer13 View Post
    Purplnurpl- when you say the "bump" method, so you mean a short, upward pull with one of the reins every time the horse drops behind the bit?
    answered via PM
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  5. #105
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    A 'bump' for me is a quick lift of both hands. Very quick-not harsh in any way- and NOT pulling back.

    My 2cents. Not an expert at all To me, an honest connection to the bridle=and honest connection...and the horse should be able to be ridden up or down or long or short from the leg and seat w/ receiving hand. All horses have different head/neck conformation, so what is 'correct' will look different for each and every horse. Just like riders with correct, effective positions don't all look exactly the same.

    Personally, I don't work my horse low-deep-round because that's where he wants to go naturally. We do incorporate stretching...which is a 'connected' stretch that honestly looks more like low-deep-round than a flappy rein nose to floor 'stretch down'.

    Here's a little training progression of him...this is over ~5months from start to finish, last year when I officially restarted him. He is OTTB.

    Curling, behind leg.
    http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphoto...34118250_n.jpg

    Next step, stretch. (CONNECTED stretch)
    http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphoto...62079184_n.jpg

    Finding the bit
    http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphoto...90352370_n.jpg

    Putting it all together
    https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphot...01503185_n.jpg

    Edited to add: his length of stride changes SO much in this photo series...which proves...yes any horse can have a bigger trot with training!
    What these photos don't show is that Pie was verryyyy tense....we are NOW a year later finally getting the last picture type of consistency at horse shows! I posted a video earlier on this thread.
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  6. #106
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    The two posts that show photos series are actually very interesting.

    I hate to do this but it is a VERY good visual. I wish leah had more horses to post.

    But if readers would go back and look at each series. It's basically 1. a rider who rides each and every horse in a deep frame that encourages easy use of the back and IMO gets the youngsters into their first moments of schwung.
    and 2. a rider who does not spend much time in the frame.
    Look at the spot just behind the saddle and down the flank in all the photos.
    The horses who spend quite a bit of time in a deep frame during their early development are more substantial in that area. Look at the entire hip as well as the engagement of the hind limbs. Note differences. Even with the OTTB-- the two photos of him show a difference of 3.5 months and only about 2 rides a week with often a full week off from being ridden.

    just incase:
    Schwung is swing through the horse's back allowing his limbs to move freely and efficiently. Almost like a puppet on a swing.

    **To emulate schwung yourself. Stand up. Bend over so that you are looking at the floor and lift your back so that it has a roach. And then, keeping your arms limp like noodles...start swinging them forward and back allowing a bounce through your elbows. Be sure to stay very loose through the shoulder socket..almost like it can pop right out..

    Now to get the opposite. Keep your back stiff with an arch and swing your arms with no bounce in your elbow.

    The first should make you feel great. Like a stretching massage. The second...not so great. Your back should cramp.

    This is EXACTLY how our horses feel.

    Also, in each position, try to tuck your butt underneath your body. This is how our young or green horses feel. If you do it in the 2nd position I bet your horse will tell you to [blank] off.

    this is very well said:
    an honest connection to the bridle = the horse should be able to be ridden up or down or long or short from the leg and seat w/ receiving hand. All horses have different head/neck conformation, so what is 'correct' will look different for each and every horse.

    The bump:
    When I bump there is usually a lot of leg and often a tap tap tap of the whip involved. The portion of the bump that bumps their body into the contact is quite important and most likely a make it or break it moment.


    Personally, I don't work my horse low-deep-round because that's where he wants to go naturally.
    This is very nice. Take advantage. You don't have to work to get the horse there so once he's working over his back then send his butt very forward to encourage a very large step and hopefully you will feel the transition into schwung.
    Because with these younger horses like our OTTBs who tend to be a bit tight it will feel like a lightbulp went off. Almost like a transition into your butt.


    Last edited by purplnurpl; Feb. 17, 2013 at 12:10 PM.
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    Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!



  7. #107
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    For the OP: (and this comes from someones who always says its the rider/etc)....have you had a vet do flexions? Although he does warm up and more free, he is irregular in front going to the left. Imho this is not about the exercises to be chosen. I would have him hoof tested and flexed.

    The second set of progression pix never shows a horse which is up/open/or with the chest lifted, and the first three show a horse which is broken at the third vertebrae (which means the neck is compressed and the horse is not seeking the hand). This is incorrect because of the (mis)alignment of vertebral bodies. The first set is somewhat better, but the horse does not show an slight ifv/open throat latch in any of the pix (which is desired by the directives/rules).

    Horses should keep the chest lifted and arc out to the bridle EVEN WHEN they are doing the exercise which is in the tests of chewing the reins forward/down/and out. Any hh is (a lightly vertical action) to change balance, not chasing the horse with the leg.

    Ldr/rk is an invention of the last 20 years, and it is very problematic for a number of reasons. First, it goes against the directives for training. But, One of two things is happening if it is done: either the horse has lost balance/energy/closed the throat latch/etc OR the rider is intentionally creating this posture (interesting that the riders also show the same postures as the horses). IF half halts have worked correctly the horse will stay up and open and active (because an upright posture is what compresses the hindlegs/gives thrust).

    But my question is always (for someone who jumps): Would you ride to a fence in such a posture? Then why would you train on the flat in that way? The dynamics are the same. Obviously the bascule would not be an even arc/correct if the approach was like that. There is a reason that the rules (for training) are written as they are.

    And the biped analogy of hollow back does not quite work because we are not quadrupeds, our joints bend opposite of horses (our arms are more like quarters/and legs like forelegs...so our head would have to be on the opposite end), because our necks are far shorter, and because we have a collarbones. No we dont want hollow the back in the horse, but the balancing rod of the horse is a neck which is allowed to be freely used (ie how does the horse get out of trouble at a fence?).
    I.D.E.A. yoda


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  8. #108
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    ideayoda~ can you show us a correct set of pictures then?
    Photos only show a moment in time...I am not proclaiming to be a professional of any kind. This is my personal horse and a few photos that show a training progression from over a year ago.

    Pie HAD a big 'bump' in his neck from breaking at the 3rd vertebrae for so long~ he was a pony horse on the track before I got him, and he carried himself in a super curled, tense tight position at all gaits. The muscling is diminishing, as you will see in pics of the progression, and becoming more 'correct.'
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  9. #109
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    About 3/4 of the way down the page there is a grey horse which is going fdo correctly albeit low: http://www.sustainabledressage.net/rollkur/why_not.php And obviously a horse with baggage is almost in negative territory, and the needs clearer direction from the rider to change from being held in (as a pony horse) to seeking the hand. But that means opening the throat latch (there is a 67 page discussion of that in the french discussion on the dressage section). Reschooling is never easy, and for me for such a horse I would start with work in hand and exercises when mounted which cause the horse to be more upright (like a reverse pirouette).

    And I take it that the horse changes its balance, does come up/etc when presented with a fence (right?).
    I.D.E.A. yoda



  10. #110
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    Where that grey horse is...is what I'm trying for with horse that I'm working deep. My main issue is getting them to let go at the base of their neck...and dealing with muscles from bracing in racing built up under their neck. Takes time to convince them to balance and relax in a different manner.
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  11. #111
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    FIRST the horse goes up/open/active, then it can 'chew the reins from the hand' into a fdo gesture (not the other way round). Working deep or ldr has a closed posture and a totally different action (bit on bars) and in the hind legs.
    I.D.E.A. yoda


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  12. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by ideayoda View Post
    FIRST the horse goes up/open/active, then it can 'chew the reins from the hand' into a fdo gesture (not the other way round). Working deep or ldr has a closed posture and a totally different action (bit on bars) and in the hind legs.
    correct. but when dealing with OTTBs it can take time and work to undo the muscling and reactions from bracing racing.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **


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  13. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by ideayoda View Post
    FIRST the horse goes up/open/active, then it can 'chew the reins from the hand' into a fdo gesture (not the other way round). Working deep or ldr has a closed posture and a totally different action (bit on bars) and in the hind legs.
    I think you are having a slight semantics problem with some of what was said on this thread. I mean that in the nicest possible way, as I sincerely respect your dressage knowledge. I am certainly not talking about rollkur or what ever that website you posted was showing. I suspect that what many of us refer to as "deep" is substanially different than what you think it is. And I know myself, and others on here are talking for the most part about re-training race horses.

    Yes, horses come up and change their shape when jumping. No, no one on here is riding their horse nose to its chest to a jump. No one on here is talking about nose to chest period.

    And regarding "poll not highest part of the neck" you fix it later, once the horse has enough physical strength to hold itself correctly. It takes time to make muscles, specifically the hind end muscles strong enough to go FORWARD and carry, and to retrain the muscles made in the horse's first career, but I suspect that you know that

    Here's my chestnut curler:

    First ride post racing: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9244445...in/photostream

    After six months of training by me- much better but not 100%: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9244445...in/photostream
    Last edited by Judysmom; Feb. 17, 2013 at 07:43 PM. Reason: there vs their



  14. #114
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    Great discussion going on here... I stumbled over a video which I think fits in here perfectly.. It shows very nice what kind of riding will improve the trot. Its a mixture of riding forward, changing gaits, riding over poles and stretching....
    Sorry its German...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JLNG...ature=youtu.be
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  15. #115
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    The link I posted was not to be about the rk, it was about how the horse stretches (the grey horse), the opening of the throatlatch (not about the rest, except how the horse functions). And since horses trot around the pasture freely up and open, they are strong enough to seek the hand, it is more mental reactions (to the bit/the hand) and duration which is developed. (And I deal with a lot of ottb and plain brown wrappers which are to be retrained.)

    Elongating the outline (it is not really stretching per se) is only done properly if the horse carries with its entire top line (into a forward/down/out posture), a closed outline means the throatlatch posture is the same whether the horse is up or down, and if down/closed it is the underneck which is carrying its weight with the nuchal ligament in constant tension and the parotid glands are pushed out.

    Ideally the poll is always the highest point (of the skelton), but the lower the horse goes the more important it is that the horse opens the throat latch and arcs/arches out to the hand (especially in retraining the mouth/bearing/balance).. That is why ground work is so important as well in reforming dynamics and proper reactions to the hand and not just letting the horse remain closed or low.

    The (german) video is to address pure rhythm (takt), suppleness (lateral flexibility leading to longitudinal flexion (losgelassenheit), and contact (ahnlenung). Contact in the german scala is progressive meeting of the hand and flexion over time (as the hindlegs allow it).

    For sure the good part of an event rider is that they ideally hack out, do caveletti, and apply lots of different exercises which change the balance/bearing/reaction systems.
    I.D.E.A. yoda


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  16. #116
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    Thank you for Ideayoda for explaining the video... And I still think, this is the correct way to improve the trog and its lenghtening...
    Owned proudly by my horses and the Pony
    Blacky by Sandro Hit, Amica by Amidou,
    Sarasota (Princess) by Don Schufro and Daysie by Sandro Hit
    and last not least Kassandra GRP by Burstye Orpheus



  17. #117
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    To bring this back to the OP...this is a good scoring training level test (one of my horses ridden by a Pro). It scored a bit outrageously well....a 13 something (and even more obnoxiously...it was the 2nd place dressage score). But I would generally say this was more of a low 20 test.

    This horse is on the flashy side but I would not say he is an outstanding mover. He is a good mover and better now as he is getting stronger but my trainer rode for every point she could. He is a VERY tough horse to ride and she has him as connected as he could be at this point in his training.

    This horse has never seen a pair of draw reins in his life (I started him as a 3 year old and have owned him since he was 2--and known him his whole life).

    The video of your horse shows a lovely horse. He looks a touch sore up front (is he barefoot?). But he is a horse that is a good enough mover that with the right training will be competitive. You do not need an outrageous or fancy mover to be competitive in eventing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_z7NxVQO8E
    Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Feb. 17, 2013 at 10:16 PM. Reason: typo
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  18. #118
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    For sure the good part of an event rider is that they ideally hack out, do caveletti, and apply lots of different exercises which change the balance/bearing/reaction systems.
    I thought this was funny.
    "It's a good thing you guys hack out, do caveletti and apply lots of different exercises because your work on the flat sucks."
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  19. #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by ideayoda View Post
    Elongating the outline (it is not really stretching per se) is only done properly if the horse carries with its entire top line (into a forward/down/out posture), a closed outline means the throatlatch posture is the same whether the horse is up or down, and if down/closed it is the underneck which is carrying its weight with the nuchal ligament in constant tension and the parotid glands are pushed out.


    OK I now understand what you were getting at. Point taken.



  20. #120
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    Not at all purpl...... the purely flat riders do not have the amount of ammunition to change their horse's postures as easily...and they do not understand the implications of closing/holding a horse (to a fence) in the same way a jump rider does. (Yet what do I see before a dressage ride at an event: lower/rounder/lower/rounder...who would say that if they want to jump clean. Don't copy the flat riders (unless you want to do a rotational).
    I.D.E.A. yoda


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