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Balancing With her Neck

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  • Balancing With her Neck

    I just read the engagement in the canter and made me start thinking about my recent rides. My OTTb mare is 6. We have been jumping 2'6-3. She really uses her head and neck when she jumps and after reading the other thread I think it may be causing her to land off balance. She will take off from a nice distance balanced and with a soft pace but when she goes to land sometimes (happens more with oxers) she will land and shoot forward. She will pick herself up several strides later if I don't do it for her but it causes problems with turns, changes, etc. My trainer has recently started putting poles on both sides of the oxers to encourage her landing more balanced. What other excises would you all recommend?
    We flat 4-5 days and jump 1. I am really trying to build her strength on the flat hoping this will help but she doesn't display any of these problems on the flat.

  • #2
    Sounds like some gymnastics would help teach her how to rebalance quicker after the jump.

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    • #3
      Ahh I love spin off's! Now I can use other ideas to incorporate into my 'issues'.

      Sounds like your problem is that your mare is having a tough time rocking back. Which I did have, now it is the reaching through her body issue.
      I did the below.

      - Bounces, keeping them under 2'6. Since she can't take a stride, she doesn't get strung out and she has to think quickly to lift her front end.
      - 10-11ft Landing poles.
      - I use halt-canter and halt-back-canter excercises to build the hiney.
      - Canter poles on a circle. Increases the 'sit' for my mare.
      - Roll backs (Which I find help with more than just the balance)

      I will also use half halts to remind, but I don't abuse, since it is her job to hold herself up.


      • Original Poster

        Oh thanks pryme-thyme! I will be using those I agree rocking back seems to be our issue which she will do but she does prefer to "ski" across anything under 3'3.
        How do you place the canter poles?
        How often do you guys think gymnastics/bounces should be done?


        • #5
          Sorry I should have been more clear.
          I place like, hmmm.... let me see if I can get this to look somewhat like it with the keys....

          \ /

          I use 3-4 poles but the keyboard has limitations , like a fan formation.
          The more poles the trickier, measuring 10ft from center to center of the poles. Canter in larger circle around the poles, think about wrapping your legs around the barrel, taking a deeper seat, establish your bend with the correct aids.
          Once you feel like you have support from your horses back, (I relate it to feeling like I am riding my horse up a staircase), spiral your circle and come through the poles.

          Done properly the poles act like your half halt 'aid', making your horse lift in front and give elevation in the canter.

          I have the 101 Jumping... I love it.
          I ride three days a week, I pick one jump exercise from the book for one day, set it up and come through it after 15-20 minutes of warm up. Coming through it maybe.... 5-6 times. Not enough to tire but enough to see improvement, then back to flatting something easy for 10 minutes to cool down.
          Another day, I will do a pole exercise from the book or of my own invention, but to obtain a specific goal. Ie: lift in the canter, striding, improving my eye etc.
          The third, all flat with more emphasis on dressage work. More suppling, more transitions. It is her 'thinking' day.

          Though, the combination is all towards a goal I have picked for the week like I mentioned earlier.

          Last edited by pryme_thyme; Jan. 7, 2013, 04:09 PM. Reason: Didn't answer the whole question


          • #6
            SO many gymnastics and grids plus transitions transitions transitions. I try my best with greenies to let my seat and legs be the strongest aids and then let the horse figure it out with their body through excersises, so very few half halts and don't try to "help" your horse over the fence, Good Luck!
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            • Original Poster

              Thanks guys! I will be trying things this week I will probably be ordering that book too!


              • #8
                My boy has a nice long neck that works against us if I'm not concentrating on staying deep in my heels and keeping my shoulders back. He will dive to the forehand after a jump and practically pull me out of the saddle, so I have to be really strong in my core to get his hindend under him and get his head up. A bounce after the jump helps with this. I also find it's harder when he's ready for hock injections.

                I have 101 jumping exercises but don't use it nearly as much as I should
                Boyle Heights Kid 1998 16.1h OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
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