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Mare Stuck in Back

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  • Mare Stuck in Back

    I am sure everyone understands the self defeating feeling of a bad lesson. Well, last night I had a lesson on my mare and again we are having the same problem....

    I have read very similiar stories of others COTHer's troubles with their own mares but I am looking for some direction and excercises to help my mare move out rather than tensing her back and hollowing.
    She does eventually loosen near the end of our ride but by that point I feel her muscles are tired and I do not want to push it.

    (Background: coming 4 y/o dwb filly by Pacific Star, no saddle fitting problems or health/foot issues).

    Thank you everyone!
    Last edited by pryme_thyme; Oct. 12, 2011, 01:50 PM. Reason: Forgot to add- my filly is 3.5 y/o.

  • #2
    Find yourself another coach. Sorry.
    I don't like her riding at all; way to much aids. Doesn't wait for the horse's respond. Kinda harsh with her hands.

    The horse is rushing (being rushed) and is not straight. Always leaning inside. I understand that your trainer is trying to correct that at some point but...I don't like the way she does. What she is doing will put your horse in a frame rather than on the bit. She does not offer real support with her outside rein, she takes it with unnecessary huge half halt.

    ETA: You said everything was good physically, I assume this includes the teeth?
    Last edited by alibi_18; Oct. 12, 2011, 11:24 AM.
    ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

    Originally posted by LauraKY
    I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
    HORSING mobile training app


    • #3
      So trainer is trying to get long and low - the way to start working on the " horse has tension in back I loves to hollow". When you do this you do need to push horse forward into contact then ask with reins for lower head. You must also (when starting) allow horse to raise it's head into more natural position because the horses muscles will need a break.

      But in video mare is trying but trainer appears to be "nagging" too much with legs. Ask for forward then stop asking. When horse needs a reminder ask again. If horse ignores use whip (spurs are more for lateral work on green horses).

      It took me 6 months of long and low before my mare would stop hollowing, stay round and connected over her back. Once she was consistent then I allowed (i.e. stopped asking for long and low) her head to come up into a more natural position BUT she had to stay round and connected - at ALL gaits. The minute she hollowed or tried to avoid the connection it was back to L&L.

      Also make certain when you post you open and close elbows. This allows for a steadier connection with the horses mouth.
      Now in Kentucky


      • Original Poster

        Teeth are fine. Had vet out in September to check.

        Thank you Valentina. How do you personally ask for long and low? I love trying new techniques, every horse is so different.

        I have been using a lot of transitions, within the gate as well, and closed outside rein to finger squeezes inside to help the body and head....


        • #5
          Telling someone to find another trainer in a public forum after viewing the trainer riding is beyond bad taste . . . that's what PM is for. I wonder if this trainer even knows this video is up for criticism.
          "You gave your life to become the person you are right now. Was it worth it?" Richard Bach


          • #6
            Originally posted by Calhoun View Post
            Telling someone to find another trainer in a public forum after viewing the trainer riding is beyond bad taste . . . that's what PM is for. I wonder if this trainer even knows this video is up for criticism.
            If the trainer doesn't know about this video, it is OP's fault.
            What are videos for if not up to criticism?

            If Pryme-thyme had said it was a video of herself riding, I would have been a bit nicer in regards of her riding but this is her trainer and this person is being paid to train that horse. I wouldn't pay for what I see there. This looks like a nice horse who needs some good rides.

            Did you send Pryme-thyme a PM with your advices?
            ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

            Originally posted by LauraKY
            I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
            HORSING mobile training app


            • #7
              @ 3 1/2 yrs old I wouldn't be really worried about it as she's so butt high right now. I'd not nag her about it. I'd work instead on finding her balance with relaxed tempo & rhythm & then & only then ask for some lengthening of her neck, frame, topline. Hopefully just allowing her to find some balance will work her more from back to front. She appears to be trying to run forward to catch herself at this time. I've found that the horses who are so high behind do better if they are ridden slightly more up to find this balance. Not pulling them up, just supporting a correct, light contact at this stage.
              I'd also use cavaletti 2-3 days a week at walk & trot.
              Producing horses with gentle minds & brilliant movement!


              • #8
                well. this is a 3.5 yo filly that presumably is only under saddle a short time?

                for horses this age then it is all pretty simple:

                1) horse needs to be moving actively forward. usually you want them to be a little bit more active and forward than they would be on their own. once she is reliable moving forward happily as requested then you go to the next step:

                2) seeking the bit forwards/downwards while maintaining forward activity.

                3) once horse can reliably do those then you can add in bending and flexing - ie start working on contact.

                i think from what is shown, that the very basics have not been consolidated.... and too much is being asked .

                at this stage of riding the hands should be still receiving what the horse gives - not demanding etc.

                also, as for your question: a 3.5 yo mare is not going to have the muscle strength to move over the back.... it takes time to develop this. and as it is, all the btv this mare is doing is defeating your prime goal: a forward horse that seeks the bit forwards/downwards.

                if you want something simple yet profound to read: pick up Muesler's Riding Logic. All the answers are there


                • Original Poster

                  I am not asking for critism here, I have faith in my coach and her abilities. She has a fantastic reputation in our area and not to mention is the assistant trainer to a well known olympian.

                  Though, I can remove the video from the post if it appears I wish to critisize her riding.

                  I am merely looking to show how my mare moves and give a visual for opinion and advice on excercises to stem to bring up her back.

                  Video is older but this is still my battle, hollow back and compensating with head position.


                  • #10
                    One more thing...I love to ride all horses in a slight leg yield outward on every corner. I use large serpentines & keeping the new outside rein on but elastic, I leg yield them into the new outside rein on each bend & at the same time I reach down with my inside hand for a quick pat on the neck. This allows for 2 things; it encourages your horse to stretch downward in balance & it keeps you from pulling her around the turns which is backwards riding, front to back which shortens the neck & pulls them onto the forehand.
                    Done properly, this exercise is simple way to ride back to front. Just be super elastic on the outside rein as she hopefully will stretch her topline.
                    Producing horses with gentle minds & brilliant movement!


                    • Original Poster

                      Thank you Whitfield and MBM!!!!!!!!!!

                      This is exactly what I have been looking for!

                      I was not sure if this was a weakness my mare has and should be corrected right away or if it will come.


                      • #12
                        Where is the video? I can't find it. I second the long and low riding though, I had a mare like this and you just need to get her loose. I'd love to see the video though, to see if it really is the same issue.


                        • Original Poster

                          Focus you have a PM


                          • #14
                            Whitfield is correct - LY helps. Didn't know if you mare was that far along but LY (for corner) is relatively easy to teach.

                            Focus - video removed - too much criticism of rider which was not OP's question.

                            OP - for L&L I always keep a steady sonnection on outside rein and "sponge" or "massage" (squeeze/then go back to normal contact) inside rein. Sometimes you have to squeeze several times in a row to getthem to bring their heads down a bit - key here is how muach (long) you ask for L&L to get there and how long you can keep it. Initially horse won't understand what you want so when she brings head lower you tell her good girl or pat her with inside rein (outside remains in steady contact).
                            Now in Kentucky


                            • #15
                              i will suggest again the amazingly pure, concise and understandable book: Riding Logic by Wilhelm Muelser.

                              This book gives a very complete and concise outline of the german system of training, and it is fairly simple to follow.

                              If you follow Muesler you will find that sponging the inside rein to get the horses head down is not what he advocates. He says to teach the horse to reach forwards/Downwards you use the outside rein - call attention to it and allow the horse to seek it.....

                              this however, comes after the horse knows how to bend.... and for bend/flexion you do use an inside opening rein.

                              One of the most critical aspects of young horse training is to have a well balanced quiet seat with hands that are also quiet and not sawing, pulling, tweaking, etc etc.

                              also, for youngsters it takes time for them to build a topline, understand the aids etc.

                              also, before i taught leg yield i would teach the turn on the forehand. then leg yield.


                              • #16
                                I was able to see the video this morning but didn't have time to post before work. I just wanted to say that I think your horse is so very cute!!!

                                I'm working with a 6yo mustang and my coach and I were just talking about back muscles in tonight's lesson as he's learning to carry himself and work over his back and move freely and forward. She told me how she was reading an article in maybe USDF's Connection about how the back muscles develop, so maybe you could see if you can find that article?

                                It takes a lot of time to develop the back muscles necessary for the horse to properly carry herself (and you!). Since she's so young, I would just work on forward and balance - can she stay between the legs and reins? Can she move straight? Can she have correct bend on the circle? Developing the muscles will come as a result of correct work. Trying to force her into a position or trying to "make" her back soft is counterproductive - it will come from carefully developing her strength and fitness.

                                I'd do only short rides, a few days a week, give her lots of turnout time, some easy trail riding, and check your saddle fit regularly. I was riding my mustang in a jump saddle that technically didn't have any glaring pain-causing problems, but it wasn't the "right" fit for either of us. It was a bit too wide for him (but do-able) and the seat was way too big for me and it put my leg way out in front of me. Just a couple weeks ago I got my dressage saddle that I had ordered and it has made a HUGE difference - it fits me, it fits my horse, and we are now working better than ever, improving with each ride. Just because the saddle seems to be okay, don't discount that as her body changes she may need something different as well.

                                Good luck to you - I think she is so adorable!
                                "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran


                                • #17
                                  btw: i love klimke for young horse stuff.... i highly recommend getting the DVDs and books if possible.

                                  here is a short snippets from youtube: