05-31-2013, 03:55 PM
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He does look like he carries himself well at a canter for his breed :) he has nice legs for harder work, which is great!
Remember though, that using their hinds when they aren't being ridden, and using their hinds when they have an extra 100+ lbs on their back are two different things, and any horse will have a hard time doing it at first. That's why at first, any youngster should be asked to learn how to just travel 'forward', then 'long and low' before ever being asked to round themselves, push from behind, etc. It takes them a while to build up the muscle and endurance for doing that.
Your guy's stiffness when you ask him to bend his neck and tuck his head has to do with his back, believe it or not! If a horse's back is hollow (very typical of horses just being started under saddle, like him) he can not properly hold his head. If you don't worry about his head position and focus on teaching himself to round his body and propel from the back, you'll find that his head and neck with naturally fall into place. If you ride a horse from back to front, rather than front to back, it will learn to round it's body and its head will follow, rather than you hold the head in position and dragging the rest of his body along with it. Remember that gaited horses (including pacers) also tend to have higher head carriage than other breeds also, so even if it looks a bit 'wrong' to you, he might actually be doing what his body allows him to do to the best of his ability. It isn't bad, its just a 'signature', if you will, of his body type! :)