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post #1 of 3 Old 04-26-2010, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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Location: South Africa.
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Question ~ Opinions Needed

Just recently I have decided to start off from scratch again with getting Night Heat into jumping, and my main thing I am working on is getting her to keep slow and relaxed on the flat.

She is a very forward horse, and she also works in a very hollowed outline with her head in the air. I want to try and prevent her from lifting her head so much so that she doesn't develop an ewe neck.

What would you suggest I do about this? Running martingale? Riding with shorter reins and driving her into the contact to get a shorter frame? Or riding with looser reins and driving her forward into the reins for a longer frame? Please, I need help here, as she really needs to build some muscle on her top line.

I also don't want to force her into any frame, I want her to develop her own frame where she can hold herself instead of relying too much on my hands BUT still keeping her at a respectable speed.

Below are two pictures of her, just so you can see her top line. The first one is a fairly recent one showing her neck. The second one was taken last year September. She is the horse on the far left.

Any advice is appreciated.
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post #2 of 3 Old 04-26-2010, 07:02 PM
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Thumper's the same way, except he's been ridden by so many people who can't seem to ride him relaxed and he has soooo much muscling on the underside of his neck it's ridiculous. l've been doing lots and lots of work on longer reins to get him to really stretch out and use his back. We used to be at a point where l couldn't even keep a steady contact with him and have him not freak out, but now he reaches for the contact and uses his back. Just make sure you don't completely drop the reins; keep a contact and use some leg to 'drive' her into the contact. Building up a topline is still a work in progress with Thumper, but so far this has been successful for us! l'm sure others will have great ideas- l'm interested in seeing them, because they'll probably work for Thumper, too!

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post #3 of 3 Old 04-26-2010, 07:18 PM
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Rhythm and relaxation should be your main focus. Cougar liked to head butt me in the face years ago when riding. He was extremely forward and racy. I did about a good solid two months working on his walk and trot, keeping him straight, even paced and encouraging him to relax. The frame came later when he truly was working from behind. Then we started working on his canter. Mind you, Cougar had a wicked buck on him due to being off balanced and it was suggested by my trainer to just leave the canter alone at that time and get his trot where we wanted it. I'd just focus on getting the horse steady, straight and relaxed. Once his canter was able to be steady and he was able to lengthen and shorten his strides that's when jumping was introduced. He was 3 and a half when I got him. I did two years of flat before he ever came near a jump. It doesn't always take that long but we both had to learn together and he was too young to jump anyways.

I never use martingales personally but if you fancy using one that's more a matter of personal preference. I adjusted my rein length throughout the ride so he was able to get used to holding his head at different levels.

Last edited by Cougar; 04-26-2010 at 07:23 PM.
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