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Recognizing BTV from riders perspective?

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  • Recognizing BTV from riders perspective?

    Does anyone have any advice or recommends readings for helping me recognize if I’ve got my horse behind the vertical from the saddle?

    Im fairly new to this, recently beginning lessons with an eventing trainer. On a few occasions during my flatwork lessons I’ve been concerned that I’m relying too much on my hands and bringing my lesson horse’s nose back rather than successfully asking for proper carriage, although using my seat to ask for impulsion is an ongoing study. However, these instance are almost always accompanied by more successful transitions or bends, and praise from my trainer. It seems her methods and my ideas may not be perfectly aligned, but I’m having trouble articulating this during lessons.

    So, if anyone has ideas for better recognizing when I’m behind the vertical while riding, I’m hoping I can be more accurate in identifying that concern and explaining myself. We don’t have mirrors.


  • #2
    One tip is to make sure you can always see the head stall band behind the horses ears. I don't know if it's true for every horse, but is on the one I'm currently riding. Maybe have someone tell you when the head is OK and check what the head stall looks like.


    • #3
      Kind of like the above: bridle path horizontal, and pole highest point of neck usually good indicators.
      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


      • #4
        Video your next ride so you can have the visual of when the horse is behind the vertical (if at all) and play back how that felt in your mind. If you can ride with a friend who can tell you as you ride that will also help.

        That said, the poll should be the highest point. The crest should rise smoothly to the poll, if you have a ridge or bend about a handspan back from the poll the horse is overbent and is breaking at the 3rd vertebrae (bad regardless of where the nose is). If the horse does this enough there will be permanent damage and you can see it in the shape of the neck.

        Ideally you should be able to feel a good connection and not have to stare at the horse, but we are visual creatures and sometimes having those markers helps. Just don't get your eyes stuck on the neck and head.


        • #5
          On the other hand, if your trainer *wants* the head btv, and you don't, that's such a mismatch that things won't go well.


          • #6
            Melonie Kessler in a clinic said something like imagine your horse is a unicorn, and then work to have horn parallel to the ground.


            • #7
              In order to know if you have the visual 'right'. I would have your trainer tell you from the ground in your next lesson when your horse's head is behind the vertical and when it is at or just in front of the vertical and accepting the hand. You need to take note exactly how it feels and looks to you from your vantage point each time that she tells you (each). This will help you develop an understanding of when it occurs and when it is 'right'. There is no way to teach feel but this helps give you the tools to develop feel/timing/understanding.
              Ranch of Last Resort


              • #8
                I have a slightly different approach to the problem. I test whether my horse is in front of my legs... If it is, I am fairly sure that it is not BTV if my connection is nice and soft...


                • #9
                  At my second real riding lesson, on my just bought green-broke Anglo-Arab, my teacher took the time out to show me how to tell the horse was behind the vertical (AND behind the bit according to her). It was to look at the top of the neck, from the third cervical vertebra forward if the neck went DOWN the horse was BTV.

                  I've used that method in the 48 years since that lesson. My Anglo-Arab, arched neck and wide between the jowl bones, never ended up going behind the vertical because every time it looked like his neck was going wrong I used my legs and let up on the reins.

                  She was a Morven Park graduate, BHSI, and she emphasized that going behind the vertical was wrong, wrong, wrong, almost on the level of a "mortal sin" as far as higher level riding was concerned. She told me that this one thing was a sign that the rider basically did not know how to ride at the level they were attempting.

                  This one lesson is part of the reason why I did not ruin my first horse even though I was basically a beginner, my wonderful new horse had just been gelded three weeks earlier and he had only three weeks under saddle. Green on green, but I did not ruin my horse.

                  On him and every horse since then if I see the top of the neck headed down I use my legs until it is no longer headed down. With one mare it took me six months before I erased that pernicious habit, but afterwards I did not have that problem with her.


                  • #10
                    I was looking for something else and saw this: