I have an 8 year old Quarter horse, and I am having trouble getting him to have a consistent, long stride, mainly at the trot, while staying off the forehand. What are some exercises I can do while riding to improve his muscle strength? (hindquarters especially) What can I do to get him to really reach out, lower his head and neck, and stay that way?
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He needs a bigger, longer stride, but he has potential.
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Sounds like he just needs some muscles built up. Got any hills around? Either trot small hills or go out trail riding a lot. Uneven terrain does wonders for building up a nice strong horse.
In addition to hills, work on circles and getting him balanced.
You probably have a horse that is either trained for or bred for (or both) WEstern type movment. So, you have to work against that. YOu say you want a consistent forward trot, AND you want his head and neck down.
If he is trotting too slow, not engaging his hind like you want and too much on the forehand, you don't want to try and achieve both of your goals at the same time. you want to get him going FORWARD! first, without any regard for his head or neck position. you have to get hi to change his idea of what a trot means.
You don't want to push him too hard out of his natural rythm, but you want him to be working on acceleration. acceleration is when a horse will reach under himself, and like a speed boat that acceleratest on the water, the front will lift naturally.
So, do the hillwork (which is also a form of acceleration because the horse must add force to go up), and do walk trot transitions and make sure they are prompt and vigorous, and don't fiddle with his head when he goes forward just ride him forward until he wants to quit. let him , then go for another break-out forward acceleration.
once you horse has more forward, then you can concern yourself with your rein contact and how and where he carries his neck.
Work on leg yields on and off the rail, haunches in, shoulder in, spiral circles.
Some Dressage work would help, lengthening and longing at the walk and trot, lots of suppling and softening leg to hand, sit deep in your saddle to feel him using his hind end.
Build up his muscles by doing hill work and work on collecting/extending. Do lots of dressage work. (:
Dont for get backing.. a lot of reverse action, backing to the hilt, up the hilt and down the hilt. Makes them use the rear end muscles and build from there. I like to back up everywhere when im cooling my horse out. Up a hill and back down, do flexing and bending and more backing around some cones, side passing and walking obstacles to make him think while cooling down after a long workout.
Easy workouts all at the walk and backing. Helps working on backing up, pressure, muscle building, yielding, side passing, turning off haunches, loosen the body up and a fun activity to do while cooling down. very beneficial in every day work!
NEVER while warming up you want a limber and calm.
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