Here is where I am very confused. I think I've had too many different people and trainers telling me too many different things and when I thought Cinny and I were doing it correctly, we obviously failed miserably as reflected by our marks for these elements in shows.
What I was told and thought was correct was that in the free walk, or stretchy trot circle the horse should stretch downward, rounding it's back but not changing it's stride or rhythm. Optimally the horse should be able to reach it's nose to the ground in these elements.
Cinny felt like he was rounding and would put his nose knee level with a roundish neck...almost like he was trying to graze while walking or trotting. Obviously something is wrong.
When I was running scores at a show I would watch the entry and guess at it's points for these elements. I was WAY WRONG on my guesses. Horses that I thought did them crappy would actually get better scores over the ones I thought did it correctly. The horses with the higher scores seemed not to stretch toward the ground but seemed to be trying to put their chin on their chest..... so it was down but super round neck almost behind the bit.
So... I'm hoping Spider sees this, because she REALLY helps me so much and I understand, but anybody else who has a good way to explain so that I am not confused, please do.
Cinny really really needs a lot of topline work, and this "off season" is going to be dedicated to topline development. I believe Free Walk and Stretchy circles when done correctly will also help me to gauge his topline development...or am I wrong in that too? Anyway, they are things we need to fix before next year.