Originally Posted by kctop72
Thanks! She is 14 and loves to just go, go, go. I've been riding her for a while but trying to slow her down and for that matter even get on her without her taking off. She was my husbands horse for a long time (which is why all she wants to do is go) then she got sick, dropped weight and muscle and now I'm trying to bring her back. Unfortunately we don't have hills or slopes but we have a mountain of manure LOL. She has come a long way but am running out of ideas to improve her top line considering we have no hills or slopes to ride. She's definitely been a challenge but we've improved together and it's been a slow process. Do you have any other suggestions besides hills for her top line?
I'm no expert, but I would try some different exercises in a plain eggbutt or o-ring snaffle (something without shanks so you can have some direct contact without curb pressure) that encourage her to flex and bend. For example (and anyone else out there who has ideas, please feel free to correct/add/expand on this) a simple exercise that I use on horses that only know how to go and whoa, is just begin teaching submissiveness to the bit.
Walk along, then ask her to drop her head and then ask for whoa. Then walk along again, ask her to drop her head with the reins but don't whoa. Then mix it up...always asking her to drop her head until she gets the idea and then speed up the walk. Then throw in a whoa here and there but not always at the same place (so she can't anticipate it) and HOPEFULLY (this could take a few rides) she will learn to carry her weight on her rear, ready to whoa at any time, and this will begin to develop the rear, the abs - the back. At this point, another 100 pages of the technicalities of collection could be written, but I'll leave that up to you to read up on.
That is a very very basic beginning exercise. It is the beginnings of teaching her to carry her body correctly. Once you get that down, you could put her back into a shanked bit (if you use one)and you'll notice a lighter feel and response and may even change bits at this point. Throw in some obstacles like poles or logs to step over - that type of movment also makes them lift their back and as a result, tighten up the abs. Just walk and trot this exercise for a couple of months. Boring, but effective in the long run.
SOme folks (depending on your discipline) start adding speed and rollbacks or others might begin lateral work - side passes - leg yields and whatnot. You don't have to try to be a WEG competitor - so pick and choose how far you want to take it. But as it is with any animal (or human) it will take some weeks before you see obvious results.
I'm no expert, but thanks for asking - I'm sure there are more qualified individuals on here who might have some ideas - I always start with collection, then leg yields working in some straightness and adding flexing exercises and don't even canter or lope until my horse is soft and bending. You could do a search on collection exercises and there is so much info you could apply - it could take you days to read it all.....