Behind the vertical
When I received my first horse, I really didn't know what I was doing. I did have a trainer right there and she helped me a lot. There's one thing though that I mis-taught? my horse. He flexes behind the vertical when I ask him to collect. How does one fix that? Or is it even possible?
When we ride on the property he's got enough energy/spunk that when I boost his engine and hold the front, he does it perfectly. But if he's totally relaxed in the arena, he curls his neck in a circle. :?
really drive him forwards in the arena, REALLY push him up into the bridle, and just don't ask to much..lift your hands a little stop asking for collection, as soon as he hits the veritcal :)
You may be holding the reins too far back and he is tucking to escape the pressure. You need to have contact but it should be in the right place.
If he's behind the bit he's not accepting it, he's evading it. I would go with a sweet iron snaffle and do some softening with it to get him to accept the bit and the sweet iron will help him salivate and have a quiet mouth.
I agree with what everyone here said. It sounds like he is evading the bit. Try to drive him forward with your seat and legs, and also...I was taught that if a horse goes below the vertical, you should lift the head/neck up by actually lifting your hands up slightly.
i would also recommend circles and other flexing exercises :)
You can't lift a horse's neck, and therefore chest, with your hands. But, to create a straight line from elbow to the bit, you can raise your hands if your horse has a naturally high head carriage.
Remember to let your horse stretch long and low a lot during his work out. Imagine if you had to run around all day with your head back in the same position! It will encourage him to seek the bit and not evade so much, because it doesn't always mean, 'be collected and work really hard.' Also, if he's in a lower level/green/out of work, don't pull his head up too high and let him stay a little above the vertical, as long as he doesn't pull.
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