10-01-2010, 03:20 PM
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1- This is the first stage of long and low. See how he is bringing his hind end under himself, his back is lifted and he's starting to round his neck? Even though his head is poking out he is rounding and using himself correctly. This is how we warm out horses up with a lot of riding the body and making them move out and loosen up.
2-This is a little misleading. Here we took him from long and low to a little bit of collection but he was leaning on it a bit and likes to hang just behind the vertical which is mostly due to the way he's put together. It is very hard for him to be truly vertical. This is a decent working trot on contact.
3&4- Here his back is hollow, his head is up and he's inverted. Notice how it makes his stride shorter and he loses that nice frame.
5&6- These are kind of like 1. These are pictures of warming up and you ride the body not the head. In these pictures if the rider had added light contact he would have gone long and low. For now if you can get your horse to look like this you're on the right track. You want him freely swinging his back, tracking up with his hind feed and raising his back and front end while reaching out with his forelegs. I put these in here to show you the different stages of how to achieve long and low.
7- This is the "stretchy circle test". Ride your horse on contact and when you think he's really "on the bit" and "round". Then you put him on a circle with a nice big trot and start to just slowly feed him rein. If he "chews the reins" out of your hand and keeps putting his head down like this it means he's looking for the contact. This is a good sign. This gelding likes to get carried away with how far he puts his head down during this exercise as you can tell.
8- This is a decent picture of a horse doing long and low. His head and neck are coming levelly out of his shoulder, his head is near vertical and he's starting to engage his hindquarters. I would like to see him raise his back and bring his neck up a little more for a "perfect" frame but this is certainly acceptable.
Hope this helped!
Also, here are pictures of the same horse on the lunge line doing a fantastic long and low.