Flexing the neck round?
 
 

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Flexing the neck round?

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  • Flexing the horses neck on circle
  • Flexing a horse neck

 
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    08-18-2009, 05:19 PM
  #1
Foal
Thumbs up Flexing the neck round?

Hey guys!

I have finally moved to a new yard and have a job there, its a really good dressage yard/livery yard, with a few jumpers there, buck is the only welsh cob there, the only things near his type are the 2 fell ponies next door own, the rest are basically top quality warmbloods! I feel totally small now!

The owner and my new boss has agreed that buck will be a fantastic horse once we get his habits out, she says he isnt bad mannered or naughty, he just hasnt been educated properly, and I can see what she means.

She suggested I did some flexing exercises with him, and I can do it mounted or on the ground, as he is actually quite stiff in the neck, but he okay when a treats involved . She told me that using a treat to get him to turn and touch my toes would be good, but are there any others that I could do? I want him to be as good as I can get out of him!
     
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    08-18-2009, 05:32 PM
  #2
Trained
I wouldn't use a treat as I am against treeting horses like lap dogs. I would just put a little pressure on the rein and hold it until his feet stop moving his head comes around and he puts slack in the rein. Monty Roberts talks a lot about this and is well respected on your side of the pond so you might want to look at some of his work. Also Clinton Anderson talks alot about flexing the head around and in his book he demonstrates with both english and western tack. There are a ton of pictures in his book and it is easy to understand.
     
    08-18-2009, 05:47 PM
  #3
Trained
I have a simple one. Mounted, standing still. Weight the seat bone on the side you want to flex. Either use a slight opening rein or indirect rein (1/4 turn like a key) to ask your horse to flex his head and neck just to the point of his shoulder. The goal is to be able to see his inside eye and nostril. The split second he softens to the contact, release and switch to the other side. Each time you do it, he should get softer and do it as soon as he feels the initial pressure on the rein. The exercise can also be done at the walk.

Another good suppling exercise is shallow serpentines. It's a lot like the above exercise. At the walk, weight your inside seatbone and slide is a little forward of the outside seat bone. Open your inside leg a little to give your horse somewhere to go, and ask for the same bend you did with the rein with the other exercise. After a few steps bending in, straighten him for a step or two and then switch your inside leg to the other leg and bend him back out.

There's a zillion things you can do at the walk for suppling, but those two are a good starting point. Have fun! Don't worry about those big fancy warmbloods. I rode one recently and he was stiff as a board!
     
    08-18-2009, 05:58 PM
  #4
Trained
There's nothing wrong with giving treats. They have to be rewarded and most any animal is food motivated. I stretch my horse's neck out after every ride. You have NO idea how much looser and more flexible she is because of it. =]

Make sure you do it after he's been worked. I typically bring my mare back in when she is still a little warm. When the muscles are warm and soft, it's easier to stretch without the straining you would get if you tried to stretch a "cold" muscle.

It's also important that your horse doesn't "bounce" in the stretch. I heard that when people, say, bend down to touch their toes, when they "bounce" it pulls the muscle more than stretching it. I imagine the same principle applies with horses. Muscle is still muscle. =]

When I stretch my horse, we stretch to the left, to the right, the left, and then the right again. I also get her to put her head between her legs to stretch her back a bit. She usually brings a leg forward, so I make sure to do it from both sides as well. For example, when I stand on the right and put the treat between her legs, she brings her right leg forward to stretch down. You can also encourage your horse to stretch his neck straight in front of him.

And since my horse knows her routine, I can do these things without a treat, by tapping a certain spot on her sides and legs. I still treat her though, but only once per side. For example, she stretches twice to the right, but she only gets the treat the second time. That way I only go through 4 treats instead of 8. =]

Sorry my reply was so long, I'm just REALLY into stretching, and it makes me so happy when other people decide to stretch their horses too. Athletes stretch, your horse IS an athlete. There's no reason they shouldn't get to. I like to stretch her legs too, she's getting older and while she doesn't usually get stiff, I want to make sure I do all I can to keep her un-stiff. =]

PS. I'd stretch from the ground almost all the time. While your horse can still stretch while mounted, it's like trying to stretch with a backpack on. It restricts movements, and your horse will still have to hold you while at the same time relaxing muscles so that they can stretch properly.
     
    08-18-2009, 06:22 PM
  #5
Foal
Hey thanks for the replies guys

MyBoyPuck:- yeah ill try those thanks :) I have got to start somewhere and those sound easy enough haa!

Riccl0ve:- haha nice reply :) by bounce do you mean when they move up and down slightly instead of just holding it there?? If so he usually just keeps it there till I give him the treat, what is either a handful of nuts or a horsebix carrot treat! He loves those, but I might try real carrots, those are his FAVE!

Kevinshorses:- I will have a look into those guys thanks
     
    08-18-2009, 06:26 PM
  #6
Trained
Yeah, kind of. You just want the movement to be fluid. One nice, long stretch, not a jerk to the side, not a push, then another push, but one nice, long, fluid stretch. =]
     
    08-18-2009, 06:50 PM
  #7
Foal
Right okay brilliant ill try that :)
     
    08-19-2009, 01:26 PM
  #8
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinshorses    
I wouldn't use a treat as I am against treeting horses like lap dogs. I would just put a little pressure on the rein and hold it until his feet stop moving his head comes around and he puts slack in the rein. Monty Roberts talks a lot about this and is well respected on your side of the pond so you might want to look at some of his work. Also Clinton Anderson talks alot about flexing the head around and in his book he demonstrates with both english and western tack. There are a ton of pictures in his book and it is easy to understand.
Ahmen.

And I couldn't have said it better myself. I am more of a Clinton Anderson fan myself when it comes to bending. But that's just me,
     

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