topline comes from bottomline
With regard to building a topline. One of the things is that in order for your horse to lift his back, he must contract his abdominal muscles. If he tightens his back muscles, it will shorten his back and cause it to bow downward even more as the two ends are pulled nearer each other.
So, in order for you to help him lift his back you will want to do things that make him engage his abdominal and oblique muscles.
All things mentioned before are good; hills ( I know), cavaletti/trot poles, transitions up and down gaits, lots of bending and stepping under with the hind leg. This is important as it engages the obliques and this helps to build BALANCE. It will also engourage a tiny shift of weight onto the hind quarter, all desirable changes.
As for the falling in on the inside shoulder going clockwise, . . ., let me see . . That means going to the right, ok? So, that means at the canter going to the right, the outside lateral pair of legs will bear the most weight. IF there is soreness or stiffnesson that side, he will not want to go to the right because his left side is tender.
Also, if going to the right means that he must bend his neck to the right and it might be that the muscles on his left side of the neck are contracted ( there might even be a bulge evident on his left side when looking straight down from above.). So, for him to stetch toward the rigth would mean stretching out those contracted and hard muscles on the left of his neck and he will want to keep bent toward the left, thus he overweights his rigth shoulder and "falls in". Does this describe the situation?
While you can use your inside leg to push him over, you would want to work some more flexibility into the body first. I would do a lot of work at the walk and do circles in both directions, and do them bent correct to the direction and do them counterbent, (circle to the right but be bent to the left and viceversa). If you can do it, do some shoulder-in work at the walk and really get him to step under himself.
IF you know how, do lots of disengagement of the hindend.
When you do work at the walk, you are WORKING, so he needs to walk out, and really put some umph in it. Don't try to speed him beyond his natural walk rythm, but have him pushing off with a real forward mentality.
Doing long and low is great and you can do it at walk and trot, just don't do circles so small that your horse has to fall on that shoulder.
I am not a fan of side reins, but I guess used correctly they are said to help. Not sure from personal experience.
Got any photos of your horse?
Last edited by tinyliny; 11-12-2010 at 11:02 PM.