How to Get His Back Rounder - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-30-2010, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2010
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How to Get His Back Rounder

My horse tends to hollow out his back a bit while I'm riding, which results in a stiff neck and his head in the air. Usually he does this when we ride outside. Inside he will put his head down and I can really feel him trying to round out and push with his hind end.

How can I get him more focused and more rounded out?

I will add some pictures to show his "hollowness".

(Excuse my awful position. )
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AngelWithoutWings54 is offline  
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post #2 of 7 Old 07-31-2010, 12:16 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Ground poles. serpentines. circles, turn on the haunches then moving forward, half halts, extend collect extend, leg yields, side pass, all these things will help your horse get him engaging his back end better. Also something that will help your horse getting distracted outside and dropping his head a bit more (not forcing his head in without using back end but just dropping it, and relaxing) is lower your hands and widen your hands and just tickle the cheeks of his mouth a little bit with your ring fingers. This wont force his head in or give him a head set but it will get his attention on you a bit more outside and will lower it some which in turn will help him round a bit more. Also if he looks at something or loses focus besides you and is on something else in the ring or outside of the ring turn his head gently away from it or do something so that he starts to pay attention to you rather than everything else going on around him. I'll see if I can get a video clip of it for you tomorrow to explain what I am talking about.
Azale1 is offline  
post #3 of 7 Old 07-31-2010, 01:15 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
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If the rider cannot hold the correct position - how can one expect a correct positioning from the horse?
Your imbalance is throwing him off and so he resorts to the only piece of his body that he has left to balance with - his head and neck. You must work to become more balanced, quieter and solid in the tack and he will naturally soften his back as your seat becomes more educated and softer. As your arms and hands become quieter and more educated, he will soften and supple from them instead of bracing against them.

Good luck!
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post #4 of 7 Old 07-31-2010, 01:48 AM
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I agree with Anabel - you can do all the work you want to "Try to correct the horse" when nothing will be successful if the rider isn't correct themselves.

There are a multitude of reasons why a horse drops their back to evade. Riders seat is one of them, being too loud or too heavy.

Another reason is ill saddle fit, and by the pictures, it appears that your saddle is on your horses withers, being too pommel low. Has the saddle been assessed on the horses back by a Professional Saddle Maker/Fitter to ensure that the saddle is a correct and proper fit for the horses comfort? That could also be a reason why the horse is dropping his back, to evade pain from an ill fitted saddle.

Back with what Anabel is saying, I see a stiff rider as well which will add to the situation.

First thing I would recommend, aside from ensuring that the saddle is a proper fit, because to me it doesn't look it - is to loosen the reins alot to allow the horse to soften and relax, encourage the horse to stretch down and work on long and low, while the rider creates impulsion and rhythm to encourage the horse to open up and move under himself, stretch down and lift his back - - but as already stated, this wont happen if the rider isn't using their seat properly, quietly and softly.

MIEventer is offline  
post #5 of 7 Old 07-31-2010, 06:20 AM
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Agree with Anabel and MIEventer. Also you need you horse to be strait and balanced to get round so you have to be straight and balanced, it starts with correcting your self not the horse.

While your getting balanced this can help him get the muscles he needs to be round and straight... 3rd time i am posting this, so many people need it, it works really well if you keep up with it!

Bandera is offline  
post #6 of 7 Old 07-31-2010, 07:24 AM
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I also agree that fixing your position is the best place to start after ruling out pain evasion. I can't tell you how much better my own horse travels when I really take responsibility for how I travel. It's a work in progress, and old habits die hard, but it's really worth it.

I recommend picking up a copy of Centered Riding by Sally Swift. I just ordered it myself, and can't believe I waited so long to get it. Excellent book.

Thanks for posting that link, Bandera! :)

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
Scoutrider is offline  
post #7 of 7 Old 07-31-2010, 09:27 AM
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Great video on Yoga for horses - I think I'll have to give that a try :)

I <3 Sally Swift.

Something I learnt a long time ago, during my Pony Club Days...something I was taught by an Olympic GP Jumper. I was fortunate enough, along with many others in the area who were involved with Pony Club got to ride under the great Ian Millar. While it was eons ago, I will always remember his words....

"A good rider, blames themself. A poor rider, blames their horse"

that has always stuck with me, and always will.

And another phrase that has stuck with me, was something I read in an article written by an Olympic Dressage Rider "No matter how loud we talk, our horses aren't going to understand our language. It is our job to learn their language, not theirs to learn ours"


Back to your saddle - you've made COUNTLESS posts about finding some corrective pad to fix your poorly fit saddle, which is aparent in you pictures......your horse, in no manner, will relax, soften and round his back because it hurts him to do so.

Until you get a properly fitted saddle, I wouldn't worry about anything until it is remedied. He is evading the poor saddle fit, so therefore, no matter what you do, he wont reach up to it because it hurts.

No "magic" pad will fix that.

MIEventer is offline  

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