This is my daughter's horse, Lola. She's a 7 year old Missouri Foxtrotter. I've had her since June. Am I seeing things or does it appear she has somewhat of a ewe neck? From what I've read on other posts it could be due to the fact that she carries her head very high while riding? If she does have a ewe neck, what measures can be taken to prevent it from becoming worse or hopefully correcting itself?
It really doesn't look like she has much of an ewe neck to me, but rather- a 'shark fin' wither. It's hard to tell with just one picture, but her neck ties in fairly well besides that.
You can help muscle up her topline with flexation (carrot) stretches, teaching her to round herself up (thus getting her further on the bit and carrying her head much nicer), and bringing her off of her forehand will all aid her in looking a little less wonkey as well as encourage her to bring her head down.
Really though, she looks like a well build horse from this side of the screen.
Thanks for the nice compliments. My daughter absolutely loves this mare. And this mare is perfect for my daughter. They really are a match made in heaven. The only complaint I have is that she carries her head so dang high while they are riding, that's what I thought might be contributing to her "ewe neck" look. How can I get her to drop her head? My brother-in-law (a competition roper) said I need to put a tie-down on her. I said NO - there are other ways! So now I need to know the "other ways". Thanks guys!
I agree with Jumanji. She isnt' ewe necked by conformation, but the mildly enlarged unde neck muscle and slightly light upper neck muscle speak loudly for how she carries her neck. Not only is she probably raising it in the air, but might also be bracing rigidly against the bit? What kind of bit is he going in?
It is kind of natural for gaited horses to be stiffer in the body because they need a kind of firm "platform" form which the more actively moving legs can gait. So more leg action, less swing in the back as you would see in a non gaited horse. So, some times the neck can also get a bit boardy, too.
There are ways to encourage a horse to relax and reach downward and flex at the poll and jaw. ONe can use their fingers to "tickle" with the reins and keep a little contact and when the horse reacts by pushing forward or downward against the bit, you give with your hands to follow it downward.
THis is an extremely simplified explanation and don't confuse this with any sort of way to make him "collected". It is ONLY to get the horse to soften at the poll and reach forward.
I would strongly suggest not using the tie down. Instead, try what Tinylily said. I would also use serpentines, circles, and maybe trotting some cones to help her learn to flex her body more, concentrating on not only having her turn her neck and front legs to make her turns, but also to soften and use her back- creating a sort of 'cresent' shape with her body when you turn. How is she as far as leg commands? I know that she's a kids horse (and if the picture is your daughter, I'm assuming she's under 9?) but if you feel confident in the saddle, I think it'd be a good idea to work her in a pen or arena once or twice a week yourself, asking her to yeild to pressure, respond to leg cues, use her whole body turning, and dropping her head (comes with yeilding to pressure.) Does she gait at all?
Yes, she's very naturally gaited. She doesn't know leg cues besides kick means go. I'm a very good rider myself, but I've never had any formal training whatsoever. How do you get one to yeild to pressure? And yes, that is my daughter - she's 6.