If you can get yourself to a Schoenich clinic, or find a trainer who is familiar with his methods, the exercises he does definitely gets the horses using their abs and stretching their topline. He specifically advertises that this helps horses with kissing spines. I have heard the book is not much help, nor the online videos. Better to witness in person.
Hi everyone, thanks for all your answers!
We've been making some improvements and I'm really happy about it!
We've been doing a lot of work at the hand (side steps) together with chiropractic exercises to make him more flexible. He's also been prescribed selenium (the vet had his blood checked and found that he had a severe selenium deficiency) which he gets in five-day intervals. I've found a good trainer who suggested we work an gait changes such as from walk to halt or from trot to halt in short intervals to activate his hind leg. We're still avoiding the sitting trot as well as any exercises during which he would have to collect himself. We're also still using the pelham because he's much more willing to work the bit which means that he doesn't tense up in his lower jaw and back. I also use the opportunity to do dressage when I go outriding, I've found that he concentrates much more outside than in the arena. His entire top line is starting to look much better now! I'm having the saddler take a look at him in a couple of weeks time to see if any changes need to be made.
I would suggest that if he has never had the correct muscling, he has never had the correct training, and he is a retraining project.
i also want to say that changing the bit multiple times is not substitute for correct work. do you have some one you could put in the saddle while you lunge him, so that the can transiting from the correct position on the longe to a correct position under rider more gradually?
Once he has become accustonmed to carrying weight in the correct position, he may realize it is less painful and transition more correctly to working under the rider.