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Relaxing a tight horse after jumping...

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  • Relaxing a tight horse after jumping...

    Any tips on getting a naturally tight horse to relax after a jump school...?

    Mare is naturally very tight through her back. I spend a lot of time (and $$ with custom saddle, Chiro, massage etc ) on keeping her loose. We've recently stepped up the work and are working with an H/J/ trainer who also events, as well as our usual dressage trainer. It's working out well, except for the fact that now Maresy is jumping things that are bigger and more interesting than the X's at home, she's back to being very tight. I spend all week after a jump school unwinding her, just in time to do it all again. Gah.

    It's partially the fact she *is* working a bit harder (entirely appropriate to her age and stage of training), which will pass, but part of it is that she's just wound up and not really interested in working on dressage now that she's seen there's another option.

    Any suggested routines to help with this?? She gets turned out all day (as much as there is "turnout" in the PNW) so she does move around. I currently handwalk in the evening after any bigger workout.
    Last edited by Ibex; Apr. 8, 2011, 03:42 PM.
    "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."

  • #2
    My mare gets tight in her back when we start out jumping. My jumping trainer is also a H/J trainer who evented to Adv back in the day. We spend a lot of time before we jump doing long and low. Cantering we keep her longer and change between jump position and sitting while keeping the stride the same length and the same relaxation.
    You can try talking to your jump trainer and doing a few jumps and then some flat work, a few more jumps, more flat work. With all the flat work being long and low.
    Also, mix in some poles when you do your dressage work. That might help her associated going over something and staying relaxed and working through her back.


    • #3
      Learn some basic massage techniques. I personally like Jim Masterson's CD, the Masterson Method. It's more acupressure than massage but it really helps my horse release in the areas where he holds tension.

      The CD is very well done and clearly shows you the techniques.

      My horse gets a mini massage almost every day!
      Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
      EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


      • #4
        Sounds so similar to my young mare. She can get very tight in the back after we start jumping. Luckily--it does not carry over into her dressage work. She even warms up for jumping very loose and is round and soft through her back. Then, sometimes (not always) once we start jumping, she gets a little jazzed up and sproing!! Back is tight as a drum!

        One thing I do on those days is to stay up in 2 point during our canter warm up. In fact, I'll keep a lighter seat the entire session (3 point) Also, will ask her to flex to the outside and then flex to the inside (shoulder fore) during my trot and canter around in between jumping. Suppling work like bending around my leg, leg yielding at the walk in the middle of the jump session can help "unlock" them. For me, it's much worse when the weather is cool--so another suggestion is a Back on Track saddle pad. Pricey--but I used mine virtually all winter (plus a quarter sheet on really cold days). It can help those tight-backed types.