Ninja, the above picture shows the position called the neck telescoping gesture. When you look at the neck muscles which show so very well in this photo, you can see that the lowest muscle is so relaxed that if you moved it with your hand it would flop back and forth. Whereas, the upper muscles are engageed to stretch the neck out in an arching shape, lifting up from the base (right where the neck enters the chest).
This position is very good for helping horse to loose the overdeveloped neck muscle of the underside that comes from them riding braced agains a hand that pulls back against them. And it helps to build the very important muscles of the upper neck and those just in front of the withers and the one (not visible because is deep within the neck) at the base of the neck.
If you ask the horse to reach forward LIKE THIS and then ask him to follow the bit even further downward, AND step vigorously through with his hind legs, this is LONG AND LOW. This is a basic exersize for starting young horses or helping already trained horses overcome stiff backs and incorrectly developed necks.
If you don't mind, I would like to copy this picture and utilize it in other threads where the discussion of the correct development of the neck arises.
Thank you for that information! She was actually looking at our grill that had a big blanket on it in that pic, but she has a natural balance and head/neck carriage like this. You can see that she raises and arches her neck like this in some of the other pics and uses her hind end quite well under saddle. Not quite to this extent, but pretty close. She has always been one to have a nicely developed topline, even without me exercising her because it's so natural for her to move in a proper way.
Anyhow, I don't mind you using the picture. :) Posted via Mobile Device
Yes, that explains why she had the arch in her neck. It is usually associated with the horse displaying curiosity and maybe some wariness. I think it makes total sense, because they reach forward, but engage the muscles that lift the base of the neck up which helps with the overall tucking of the tail and raising of the back, which puts the horse in it's most balanced stature, ready for flight if necessary.