TWH Critique?

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TWH Critique?

This is a discussion on TWH Critique? within the Horse Conformation Critique forums, part of the Horse Breeds, Breeding, and Genetics category

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    10-24-2012, 06:43 PM
TWH Critique?

I've been working with my gelding a lot lately on backing up and general groundwork, amongst other things, and I've especially been working to build muscles in the back and get a better neck on him...

I think we're going pretty well, but I am the first to admit that I cannot see the faults in my own horses... so...

Anyway, he's a purebred TWH gelding, not registered, and used mainly for trail riding. Six and a half years old, and roughly about 15-3 hands tall. I am hoping to get him ready to do obstacle challenges sometime within the next year or so, as I think he has the mindset for it (not much of anything fazes him and he's a very forward and brave horse, always th first to check anything out without any fear).

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    10-24-2012, 06:52 PM
He's a really nice looking horse. I think his muscling looks smooth and even. Good job!
    10-24-2012, 08:26 PM
Green Broke
I wish he did not have the dip behind the withers and that his back was shorter. He has nice bone and LOVELY low hocks and knees. Does he gait (do a running walk)?

To really build a horse's neck you want to get the horse to learn to curl his hind quarters under himself, lenthening his back in an upward arc while bringing his hind legs under him.. which will lighten his forehand and raise the root of his neck. This will cause the neck to "turn over" and have more muscling on the top and less on the bottom. When you stretch him to stand, you are actually doing the exact opposite of what he needs to build a good "ring of muscles." See this link: Biomechanical Riding and Dressage 1

That being said, he is really quite nice. A bit hammer headed but a nice horse.
    10-24-2012, 09:06 PM
Thanks for the info! As I said, I've been teaching him a few thins lately, as I feel like he gets bored with the same old things every time I work him (hence the reason I taught him to park out).

I don't really know how to convince him to really bring his hindquarters underneath him... can anyone shed some light on that?

He actually doesn't gait at all. Neither does his dam, though his sire gaits naturally. He just didn't inherit it and we've tried to teach him to gait, but he just doesn't get it... Though, his walk, trot, and canter are super smooth and he does have the rocking-chair TWH canter.

I'm having to ride him bareback every time I ride him at the moment, because I don't have a saddle that fits him yet...
    10-25-2012, 08:45 AM
Green Broke
Getting a horse to use his hind quarters requires you to understand what you are asking him to do.

Start by trotting up hills on a loose rein. Since he seems to have the mind for trails, this should be pretty easy for you. LOTS of hills.. and lean forward and get your butt off his back (it is hard but you can do it bareback.. and think of the thighs you will have! LOL). This will help him to build abdominal muscles which will support his longish back.

The horse needs to first build those muscles and learn to stretch his back and reach under himself behind.. so you need to drive him forward on the flat and let him reach under himself.

Do you know what a half halt is? That can help as it suggests to the horse to raise the root of his neck as he drives under himself. My half halts were a gentle squeeze of my hands (twop hands on the reins) (like squeezing a sponge and releasing) while squeezing the horse forward with my leg. I used a sweet iron loose ring snaffle to start this.. or even a side pull or half breed. This only after he has done lots of hill work and trotting in a long frame on the flat for about a month (assuming you ride daily or 6 days a week).

As you build his abdominal muscles and you get the half halt going you start to work on transitions.. in the gait (usually the trot) and between gaits. Start at the walk and trot.. asking him to extend on the straight away and then shorten stride on the corners with a half halt.. and then extend again (like a spring). The object is to keep the horse in balance.

Next you work on transistions between gaits.. walk to trot is easier than trot to walk. Again.. the object is for the horse to transition and retain balance and be smooth. When you can get your horse to reliably transition down from a trot to a walk at a specific point in the arena you are making progress (this is why Dressage arenas have letter around them.. to give you a spot).

Remember to not do the same thing or stop and start at the same place so your horse does not anticipate.

This is all foundation work. It takes time.. and it is what I did for many years. This foundation was then handed off to someone who wanted to do a discipline such as western riding, barrels, dressage, jumping or even just trail riding and so forth. The foundation builds the horse's muscles and muscle memory so that no matter what you do.. from trails to Grand Prix jumping the horse is comfortable and can use himself.

Properly done and regularly ridden a solid foundation can often help a horse to retain soundness in his back for a lot of years.
    10-25-2012, 10:13 AM
Thank you for explaining!
    10-25-2012, 11:00 AM
Green Broke
And after you get all that going with the walk and trot you add the canter. Eventually you should be able to have the horse start from a square stand into a canter with no trot strides in between. You should also be able to go from canter to walk w/o the horse going on the forehand and "falling apart."

Most people never lay the foundation like they should on a horse and then later on when they need something.. they have to go back and train. MUCH easier to take a few months and lay the foundation.

I rode nearly every day.. so my time frames are based on that schedule for conditioning.
    10-25-2012, 11:32 AM
I'll have to work on the timeframe, as I work three days a week and go to college four days a week... so i'm only getting to ride about twice or three times a week now, and not for long periods of time...

Thank you so much! I didn't know much about training when Dakota was born and all, and now that I've learned a lot about things, I can see a bit of what I skipped during his training, so that's what I've been focusing on lately has been trying to go back and fix the holes in his training.

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