Achieving a "long and low" hunter frame
I've shown in hunters before but have never really had a chance to work with one horse for any considerable amount of time. Now that I'm leasing, I can ride the same horse 3x a week and really work with him more than I could before just in lessons. I'm going to be showing a lot more this summer and was wondering how I might go about getting that "long and low" frame/way of going that all the good hunter horses have.
The horse I ride doesn't have a particularly high headset, but it's not really low, nor is his stride long. When he puts his head down he usually just gets really heavy on the forehand. How can I ask him to extend his stride without him just doing quicker steps? And how can I encourage him to stretch his neck out and lower his head a bit without getting heavy?
Long and low comes from so many different aspects. For one, you must have a horse who is very limber and flexed (think flexion exercises, making the neck very un-tense, limbering through the body). When I'm looking for a long and low frame a lot of bending must occur in warm up. I want my horse to be free through his body.
You also must have correct impulsion for the horse to be able to carry himself in this way. When my gelding is going long and low, he tracks up by over a hoof. His stride must be "BIG" (not necessarily fast, but big, open, free movement).
For me the two key points must be flexion and impulsion. There are other factors that add in to a quality long and low frame, but they will come with time. :)
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