This is my first time posting on this part of the forum for the most part, but I have been retraining my gelding Drifter to be an "english" horse. I am 23 and have rode english my entire life, with a main focus on H/J and Eventing.
Drifter was a horse I found for sale at an auction who was being sold by a woman I had once worked with. I had worked with him before and absolutely loved him. He was bred/trained for barrel racing and running poles, but had been sold from home to home.
One of the main problems I have been dealing with is that the owner who had him before me wanted to use him as a H/J horse for her daughter. Well, to "teach" him how to hold himself "correctly" they cranked his head down in side reins. Sadly, this led to Drifter being broken at the 3rd vertebra. His immediate response usually as soon as he feels me pick up contact is to suck his head to his chest- like he is rolkuring (spelling? Sorry) himself. While doing this, he also tries to suck himself back behind the bit and resist forward movement.
For the last few months I have been working on helping him to relax and stretch his neck out and keeping him in front of my leg. Tonight I rode him for a short lesson and he did FANTASTIC!! He kept his head in the proper place the entire time and stayed in front of my leg the entire ride. I was so proud of him.
He was meant to be my eventing horse, but absolutely hates his job, so he is not going to do that. I have a new guy for that. However, I am going to continue working with him on dressage and really stretching and lifting his back and loosening himself up. I was just so proud of him today. It probably seems like nbd to most people but getting him to not be broken at the 3rd vertebra is really such a challenge and rides like the one we had tonight just make me warm and fuzzy inside