07-26-2012, 09:38 PM
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Long and low, as I have said in many a thread, is a VERY strenuous exercise for a horse that does not have the balance or strength to maintain the activity and carrying power in the hind end, with the head and neck in a low position.
I would actually rather see a horse that is developing its balance and strength, ridden a little deep to encourage stretch of the neck in front of the wither, and a lift of the back, than in a 'false' long and low.
As soon as you dump the horse on the forehand, the exercise is essentially useless. The back wont swing, the movement will get choppy and there will be tension through the body as the horse tries to keep itself upright.
Roundness comes from strength and balance. There are no shortcuts unfortunately! Lots and lots of transitions, suppling work, plus work out of the arena such as hill work and gallop work. This will all help to develop muscle in the right places, and balance to enable to horse to carry itself in a rounder 'frame'.
When the horse is stronger and more balanced, we can demand a little more, asking more increased bend and flexion to soften the jaw and supple the body, while asking the hind legs to come more active, which will develop further roundness over the back.
Patience, hard work, and tactful riding will always be successful.