Getting horse to relax withers - The Horse Forum

 
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post #1 of 9 Old 08-03-2011, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
Uma
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Getting horse to relax withers

My throughbred won't relax the area in front of his withers to his poll. Its really annoying because we compete in hunters and they like to see the head level. He won't even stretch on a loose rein or with side reins. He has a nice strong crest however. I'd really like some advice on how to get him to relax that area and stretch down so he can start getting into a hunter frame later on.
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post #2 of 9 Old 08-03-2011, 05:20 PM
Doe
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Uma

Do you have a square on photo or any video?
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post #3 of 9 Old 08-03-2011, 05:48 PM
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Is he collected? You can try giving him small bumps in the mouth until he puts his head down, then stop bumping to tell him that is where the "sweet spot" is. It will take a while, so be patient. And pictures would be helpful!

Horses are scared of two things... Things that move and things that don't.
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post #4 of 9 Old 08-03-2011, 05:56 PM
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Are you relaxed when you ride or annoyed with the horse? If annoyed he might be picking up on that and tensing his neck. Try letting go of your reins and steering with your hands ie for a turn to the right, touch your left fingers to his neck in front of the withers, and signal with your right arm to the side. With many riders there is a direct correlation between picking up the reins and unconsciously tightening their back. And just enjoy whatever happens.
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post #5 of 9 Old 08-03-2011, 08:51 PM
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Sounds like he's locked up in the jaw. What type of bit are you using? I realize D-ring snaffles are popular in the hunter ring, but maybe try a thick O-ring for awhile. While the D-ring actually encourages a tight jaw, the O-ring does the opposite. I recently switched my own horse and saw and instant change. Do lots of bending, circling and suppling to try to get him to unlock his parts so to speak.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #6 of 9 Old 08-04-2011, 12:08 AM
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Lots of suppling & flexing. JMO

Any day riding is a good day.
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post #7 of 9 Old 08-04-2011, 12:13 PM
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I would do lots of practice out of saddle with giving his head and accepting the bit. Also just relax your body and he will relax his and don't keep constant pressure on the reins or else he will just pull and advoid the bit, be soft with him.
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post #8 of 9 Old 08-19-2011, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
Uma
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I have a Loose ring french link snaffle that I've been using with him so it's a really nice bit. If I try the "bumping" thing that someone suggested he just curls and brings his head way behind the vertical instead of lowering his head. And I am pretty sure I'm not tight at all. My trainer has told me before I need more contact but I've gotten better. He just doesnt release that muscle. Even when i'm lunging or trotting on a completely loose rein. He holds his head up.
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post #9 of 9 Old 08-19-2011, 10:34 PM
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Cool

Maybe it has to do with his confirmation. It may be hard for him, how low does his neck tie into his chest?

Any day riding is a good day.
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