Heavy on Forehand
My young tb is heavy on the forehand and as a resut of being like this for a while (prob due to his racing training?) has quite weak hindquarters.
Does ayone have any suggestions for exercises i could do with him to get his weight more on his hind end and lighten up his front?
Also I'm looking for some groundwork exercises i can do with him, both to bond with him and to just improve overall behaviour.
For the hindquarters, hill work and driving (if they know how to drive, which I doubt he does) help a lot. Also, lots of upward transitions: trot to canter, walk to canter, if he'll do it. Lightness on the forehand comes slowly as you gain more control over gathering up and controlling that energy that the hind is producing. After you can consistently have him on the bit, lots of lengthening and shortening the stride can help. Half halts give you the horse's attention and balance. If you are consistent he'll improve as his fitness increases and is able to carry himself better.
Collecting and hill-drills.
hills hills hills hills hills! Trot up those hills (and canter). When you ride him under saddle push him more forward and sit up straight, sit your canter. It'll encourage him to rock back on his hind end. Let him stretch through his back and neck as the lift needs those muscles to be long and strong. make sure, though, that when he's 'stretching' he isn't just running on his forehand with his nose in the dirt
You can do some cavaletti with him... getting him to reach forward with his hind legs to go through them.
Also, just starting each ride by lots of long trotting forward. Push him forward with your leg and have a contact with your reins but dont necessarily hold him back when he gets quick. The idea is to speed up the hind legs, and once you have them moving, slow the front legs. He will lift off his forehand, push under with his hind legs and use his back. It's the basis we use in changing a horse from a different dicipline (mostly OTT or hunters) into dressage, which requires lots of hindend push.
Most likely its from his race training, as most OTT TB's are very on the forehand. Most TB naturally are weaker in the hind end anyway, so building the muscles up is a lot of work.
Lots of hills will help to correct that, once he is strong behind the push will come easier. But the understanding of putting on your leg means push from behind and lighten in the front will come from just driving him forward at the start of each ride. It may take a little time, but suddenly he will get lazy and slow and his tempo will even out. Keep your leg on to reiterate the point.
Also lift your hands a little as you ride, make sure you sit nice and tall and straight (even if youre riding huntseat, avoid perching forward in a normal hunt seat, sit back more so that he can lift off the front end easier).
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