Originally Posted by jillybean19
The accordion example was great - I'll definitely try implementing these stops into my riding. I am seriously counting down the days until I have my own trainer! Of course, with all you excellent folks, maybe I won't need one after all! *joke*
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Nothing can replace a good trainer.
Your horse is a nice horse and has a lot of potential. Doing these sorts of "dressage" excersizes are good for any horse, even if you never ride dressage. And, they build your riding skill, too.
One thing about Arabs is that they are often masters of moving themselves along in energy conserving manners, thus them being great for endurance, I suppose. They can tend to move by pulling more with their shoulders than pushing with the hind end. I don't know if that is a bad thing in endurance or not, but in dressage it is.
My friend has the world's cutest arab. He is very "conservative" of energy (read "lazy") but she has worked on this and made him much more forward. I realize this is not your horse's problem; forwardness. But she did a lot of hillwork , and a lot of acceleration.
Hillwork is pretty obvious as to why it's beneficial for a horse's hind end, (though cantering up hills won't do as much as either trotting or walking up them does. And don't forget going down hills. Going down at a walk, stopping periodically, on the way down , and asking the hrose to back UP the hill three or four steps is also a great way to improve the hind end and the abdomin muscles. Abdomin muscles strenght is paramount in being able to lift the back, afterall, the back is lifted whenthe abs contract, not when the back muscles contract. THAT causes the back to hollow out.)
Acceleration can mean going faster within a gait, or it can mean changes of gait. Going straight from a halt into a trot, you will kind of jump forward, right? That builds the hind end and will lift the front end , as a speed boat lifts in the water when you accelerate.
YOu do, however, once again, have to have a connection to the bit so that the energy that comes from the acceleration doesn't all just fall out the front but is contained by the contact to the bit, and transformed into "carrying" energy, meaning "vertical" energy that lifts the rider up. THAT is one of the fundamentals of dressage; the transformation of horizontal energy into vertical energy.