How to build muscle in your horses back?
   

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How to build muscle in your horses back?

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    07-24-2011, 12:27 AM
  #1
Foal
How to build muscle in your horses back?

Hi everyone, I'm brand new here so excuse me if I write to much or not enough lol.
I have a TB and she has such a tight back! There is nothing wrong with her physically, or a bad fitting saddle or anything like that. She was ridden hunter/jumper poorly(the person who owned her before just ripped up her mouth and smashes her gaits into the ground) before I got her and got used to have her head super high and not using her back. When I get her on the bit and deep enough so that she is using her back, all is well. But it takes so long to break up the tension in her back and I feel like I'm kind of "stuck" for the first 30-45mins of my ride just trying to get her warmed up and using her back. So, my question is, is there any excersises to build up your horses back, or make her back softer and easier to get on the bit and using her back? I do a lot of walk/trot-trot/canter transitions and do walk up/down hills to help. But are there any tricks to help to get your horse to use his/her back quicker and faster?
Sorry if this is worded wrong or I am not using the correct technical terms, I kind of new to dressage, so please don't rip me apart

Btw, I have a trainer(certified) and have lessons once a week if that helps. I also ride 3 times a week.
     
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    07-24-2011, 12:36 AM
  #2
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by legyield768    
Hi everyone, I'm brand new here so excuse me if I write to much or not enough lol.
I have a TB and she has such a tight back! There is nothing wrong with her physically, or a bad fitting saddle or anything like that. She was ridden hunter/jumper poorly(the person who owned her before just ripped up her mouth and smashes her gaits into the ground) before I got her and got used to have her head super high and not using her back. When I get her on the bit and deep enough so that she is using her back, all is well. But it takes so long to break up the tension in her back and I feel like I'm kind of "stuck" for the first 30-45mins of my ride just trying to get her warmed up and using her back. So, my question is, is there any excersises to build up your horses back, or make her back softer and easier to get on the bit and using her back? I do a lot of walk/trot-trot/canter transitions and do walk up/down hills to help. But are there any tricks to help to get your horse to use his/her back quicker and faster?
Sorry if this is worded wrong or I am not using the correct technical terms, I kind of new to dressage, so please don't rip me apart

Btw, I have a trainer(certified) and have lessons once a week if that helps. I also ride 3 times a week.

This for a start but in a longer frame.

‪01_Philippe_Karl_estratto_stage_2003&#x202 c;‏ - YouTube
     
    07-24-2011, 12:43 AM
  #3
Super Moderator
It sounds like you have already started moving her in the right direction.

There is one thing I kind of wanted to point out, not that it matters in terms of how you change her back . The reason her back is stiff is that she has been 'firing" those back muscles TOO much. They have been contracted , thus the head high and the back hollowed out, for so long that no doubt they have literally shortened. To lengthen them you must make her contract the opposing muscles, which would be her abdominal muscles. That, and such things as carrot stretches which forcefully stretch the shortened back muscles help. But by building up the under side of the horse, the topline develops.

So, the horse must engage those abdominals when transistioning upward, transitinion downward CORRECTLY, going uphill engagee long and low, backing up, backing up a hill, going over cavaletti, walking engaged on a circle with focus on tracking up and under with the inside hind.

Lots of bending laterally will really help. Old fashioned cow pony type disengagements of the hind quarters will help soften and teach the horse to follow the rein, too.

I liek that you see and feel the issue being a stiff back, but focus on strengthening the abs to improve the back.
     
    07-24-2011, 12:49 AM
  #4
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
It sounds like you have already started moving her in the right direction.

There is one thing I kind of wanted to point out, not that it matters in terms of how you change her back . The reason her back is stiff is that she has been 'firing" those back muscles TOO much. They have been contracted , thus the head high and the back hollowed out, for so long that no doubt they have literally shortened. To lengthen them you must make her contract the opposing muscles, which would be her abdominal muscles. That, and such things as carrot stretches which forcefully stretch the shortened back muscles help. But by building up the under side of the horse, the topline develops.

So, the horse must engage those abdominals when transistioning upward, transitinion downward CORRECTLY, going uphill engagee long and low, backing up, backing up a hill, going over cavaletti, walking engaged on a circle with focus on tracking up and under with the inside hind.

Lots of bending laterally will really help. Old fashioned cow pony type disengagements of the hind quarters will help soften and teach the horse to follow the rein, too.

I liek that you see and feel the issue being a stiff back, but focus on strengthening the abs to improve the back.

Thank you so much! I bolded what I thought was super helpful. So you are saying that carrot stretches are good? Do you think more proper stretching would benefit her?
     
    07-24-2011, 01:17 AM
  #5
Super Moderator
I would think so. Also, being totally certain that the saddle is a very good fit. And maybe a good pad, like a thinline or other good pad.

Post a video sometime. Now I am curious!
     
    07-24-2011, 01:34 AM
  #6
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
I would think so. Also, being totally certain that the saddle is a very good fit. And maybe a good pad, like a thinline or other good pad.

Post a video sometime. Now I am curious!

Hmm that's an interesting thought, do you think I should maybe try a half pad? If so do you have any suggestions on brands that you like? I am going for a lesson tomorrow and I'll have my mom take a video! Thanks a ton you have been very helpful!
     
    08-07-2011, 01:12 PM
  #7
Weanling
True with what's been said above. It takes tummy muscle, to comfortably round out the back and stretch out.

As long with lots of lateral flexion, stretching and flexing the legs also will stretch out the back, so after she's walked around a bit, stretch out her legs, and then after the ride, do the same.

I've always like the ThinLine Trifecta half pad. All the back support without the bulk of the heavy skeepskin underneath.
     
    08-07-2011, 01:15 PM
  #8
Foal
Thank you DejaVu! I will try the stretching after our warm up walk. I'm thinking of getting her a half pad but she has SUCH a sensitive back, I'm afraid it would do her more bad than good. I'll try more stretching, hopefully that will help.

Thanks for the replies! Everyone was very helpful.(:
     
    08-08-2011, 07:15 AM
  #9
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by legyield768    
Hmm that's an interesting thought, do you think I should maybe try a half pad? If so do you have any suggestions on brands that you like? I am going for a lesson tomorrow and I'll have my mom take a video! Thanks a ton you have been very helpful!
I use this one: Thinline Contour Pad Thinline (Equine - Supplies Tack - English Horse Tack - Pads Girths) Love it!

From my experience (I started dressage last year also without any back or shoulder muscles) the best way to build them all is riding correctly (making the horse to use the back). Mind you, it IS a slow process (took me 2 months of riding when I started again in Spring), but it's doable.Great you are taking lessons - you'll progress much faster with someone watching and correcting you from the ground.
     
    08-08-2011, 08:16 AM
  #10
Trained
Bare in mind that tb's are notorious for being 'leg movers' not 'back movers'. Speaking in general terms, it is much harder to get a tb's back than a wb's, and once you can get a tb swinging and through, you'll find a horse that is bred to swing a piece of cake to get through.
When I work tbs, I don't do much work on straight lines at all, and in warming up, I don't ride the horse straight. I'll ride overbent shoulder in and travers, bring the horse fairly deep and ride very forward. The key with the tb's is to unlock the base of the neck, which will lead to being able to unlock the back. You'll never unlock the back if you don't ride forward. And forward means having the horse moving freely off your aids, not rushing madly with it's head in the air.
By riding a little deep and very lateral, I find that I am able to unlock these points quite quickly. Once this occurs, I start to bring the poll up. NEVER compromising the quality of the forwardness or the softness in the back and neck. As soon as I feel some stiffness coming back, I'll go back to riding a little deep in laterals again until I feel the 'unlock' and try again with bringing the poll up.

And yes, I said unlock the neck - no, this is not riding 'front to back'. All good and well to say 'chase the hind quarters, get them motoring!!' but you can't have a swinging back if you have a block in the neck.
Spyder and legyield768 like this.
     

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