probably discussed before, but I'll ask anyway... topline help

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probably discussed before, but I'll ask anyway... topline help

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    10-19-2008, 11:08 PM
probably discussed before, but I'll ask anyway... topline help

How do I improve my horse's topline? It's not really that bad, but go to this link to see pictures, How does she look??

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    10-19-2008, 11:11 PM
With Sonny I've always had a hard time with his topline. I found that just letting him have his head and balance himself helped a great deal.

Getting Jubilee to properly round herself and carry herself properly will help greatly with her topline. LOTS of transitions up and down will help greatly. Try going from a stop to a canter. When I do that with Sonny I could literally feel his back rounding and him reaching underneath him (a great feeling actually lol).
Backing up then going immediately will help because the back *should* naturally round when backing up (unless their neck and head is wayy up high when backing)
    10-19-2008, 11:50 PM
Green Broke
  • Work long and low, but with good impulsion from behind.
  • Work on the trail, over varied terrain, long and low with good impulsion.
  • Work on the lunge ling with side reins set low, with the inside rein shorter, and good impulsion from behind.
  • Work long and low over trot poles.
  • Lots of transitions, between gaits and within the gait.
  • Counter bending, long and low with good impulsion.
The key to building topline is to work your horse correctly in a rounded frame. The horse should be really PUSHING from behind. You should sit your gaits, riding him into the bridle. Asking him to go lower will allow his back to come up and engage. But, you have to be sure to keep his hind end pushing, otherwise he'll topple on the forehand.

Some Dressage lessons would be a good idea, from a classical Dressage instructor.
    10-19-2008, 11:53 PM
Green Broke
Be careful with too much stopping or reinback. If you do too aburpt of transitions without the horse being physically prepared for it, then you risk winding up with a hollow back and upside down neck. It takes a lot of strength in the hind quarters and topline to stop from the trot or canter, or canter or trot off from a stop or reinback. Since your horse is lacking in topline and haunch muscle, she is not likely ready for these more advanced maneuvers.
    10-19-2008, 11:57 PM
Luvs2ride, I must comment saying that my horse for the longest time had zero topline at all and he was still able to stop quickly from a trot or canter and to take off cantering or trotting from a dead stop or a rein-back. I used these things to help build my horse's topline when he had none, so it's defiantely something any horse could do.
    10-20-2008, 12:17 AM
Green Broke
Any horse "can" do it, but if not done properly, you can build the wrong muscles and end up with a horse with less topline than before. If a horse has a hard time cantering from a stop or trotting from a reinback, then he is more likely to throw his head and hollow his back. If the rider in turn yanks the horse's head back down, then the horse will brace with the head and neck, which works the underside muscles, not the topline.

I'm glad it worked for you, but it's not something I would recommend to someone unless I know they are working with an instructor that can help them correct any problems that arrise. Just watch a (bad) amatuer reiner trying to canter, stop/slide, then back up. It's not too pretty, lol, and sadly not that uncommon.

There are many other ways to help build topline with less risk of failure. The more dramatic transitions are great for more advanced work or to further a horse's training, but it's not something I would personally recommend for a horse who's lacking in muscle. Baby steps are safer for horse and rider, and more apt to produce a better outcome and more lasting result.
    10-20-2008, 12:45 AM
Thanks for your input guys, I really appreciate it. I will work on the things you suggested.

It looks like I'm on the right track though, because I have already been doing stuff like this. I've been really working on getting her into frame and working her hind end. Her butt muscles have come such a long way since when I got her a year ago, and her overall muscling has improved so much. I'm hoping the same will happen with her topline.

Also ... its hard with a thoroughbred too, because they have high withers and pointy croups.

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