• Erin Long

Fix It Friday

This week's submission comes to us from @ru.moshi, who says her horse is an OTTB leaning to stretch and use her back properly. 

The first thing I notice in this image is how downhill your horse is moving. This is common in green horses learning about stretching, especially OTTBs as they are used to having firm contact to hold them into position. I love that your hand is soft and following, but as a result she has no encouragement to sit back on her hocks and drive her withers up and forwards. There are a few things you can do to help her here. First, lots of bending and counter bending with an indirect rein. Horses naturally have to collect to a degree when going properly on a circle, so doing so can help her build that movement. Second, hill and pole work. Many horses do not even realize the range of motion and power they can send from behind, and both of those can really help. 

Make sure you are not tipping forward and sending your leg forward. I know it is tempting as she feels like you're riding down a hill, but doing so puts more weight on her forehand which only feeds the cycle of falling downhill. Instead, practice sitting tall and bringing your leg back beneath you. Sometimes having a longer stirrup length can help here, as riders often end up fighting the stirrup and using the wrong muscles. I'd like to see a shade more bend in your elbow, as this will give you more elasticity and flexibility as you work through the bending exercises and a green horse's ever-changing frame. 

Overall, keep up the great work. You've gotten her relaxed and quiet, but now you need to work on building truly good movement for a long term career.

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