Topline-The How to?
2 weeks ago i bought (well mummy dearest did) a 11yr TB gelding he has been off the track 2 years but was stuck out a back paddock and forgotten about. So long story short i was wondering your tricks on bulding topline and muscles! I live in an area where there are absouluteley no hillls what so ever!! Meaning i am restricted :? My boy Karlos has no bum and a pencil neck and i know these are his faults and i am trying really hard to fix as much as possible. I have been using the pessoa lunge aid (the zilco version), doing alot of long and low work plus alot of collection work, also been teaching him Flying Changes (someone told me this would contibute to his bum as it uses alot of his HQ's) I also have a few long grass strips that go for about 5 kilometres out the back roads (about 20mins ride) that i mix up between bowling-fast canter/slow gallop work and every now and then i blow him out. We do small cavaleties to help pick himself over them, I also swim him, but its dried up to just above his chest so he can stand so ive been making him trot through it. Every ride he gets a good workout and he also has sudays off (we have sundays off:lol:)
So i need help! "The how to" on topline and all the other important muscles? Its sort of a extensive part of horses that we all have our own ways so i thought it would be good to get an insight on new methods:D Because sometimes... Our way just doesnt work:lol:
i added pics of Karlos not sure if you can see a difference though but you can feel it.
the second day he was home:
late last week sometime (about a week later):
but I think it may just be long and low excersices, circles and stuff
long and low, circles, serpentines, and walking and trotting over ground poles.
Ground poles and walking/trotting up the hill would be my advices.
That grass strip sounds perfect for building topline however I would go about it a little differently. Get him into a nice big long trot, think of it like this: You know that long trot that a horse get into just before they start cantering? Well keep him at that pace, trotting. It is really hard work for him and builds great topline. You will know that you are at the right pace because his head will naturally lower as he has to really work to maintain the pace and truck on.
As an OTTB it will take a while to teach him that he has to maintain the fast pace at a trot as he will be accustomed to canter/gallop work but once you can maintain that solid trot pace, 15-20 mins of this a few times a week will work wonders.
As other said also with the long and low/circle work. Just a word of warning though - whilst flying changes are great to build the HQ, they require quite a bit of training to be done correctly. Even though most horses can swap leads at a canter, this isn't necessarily a flying change. The first step towards achieving this (also very good for building HQ strength) would be to perfect your upwards/downwards simple transitions. Then begin teaching balanced walk-canter and canter-walk transitions. Then lots of leg yielding excercises. THEN worry about flying changes!
Edited to add: He is beautiful by the way ;)
I would also start feeding hay from the floor or from a net that he has to stretch for. Mine used to get thier haynets on rings outside thier stable doors so that they have to stretch for them. now we have bought hay bars so they have to stretch down into the bar to get the hay.
I only ever feed buckets from the floor.
Always working in a good outline and actualy you get the most out of walk suprisingly. Walk is actualy the most difficult gait for a horse to do correctly and it MAKES them use the correct muscles.
When getting my show horses Fit I normaly spend 6 weeks in walk! (I do however have som incredible hills to work with).
continue the work in the passoa.
Finaly the often forgotten art of Strapping a horse (can also be known as whisping or banging). 100 times, on either side of the neck each day will soon see an improvement.
ETA it will normaly take a good 4 to 6 weeks for a noticable difference to be seen. So don't worry if it takes time!
strapping? whisping? banging?
LOL, never heard of it. Explain?
Correct riding leads to correct muscling of the horse. There is no "magic trick" to building a topline. It just takes months and years of riding correctly and working to build the horse into an athlete. Strapping can help marginally but it is not the end all be all. (Google "whisping" for an explanation)
Follow the training scale, and follow the USDF progression of tests. Teaching him flying changes now will do nothing for his topline because he will not be performing them correctly. Correctly done flying changes will serve to strengthen the horse but flat, on the forehand changes will only serve to teach the horse to do flying changes incorrectly.
Perfect practice makes perfect, do lots of walk and tons of transitions. You won't see drastic results for about a year so be patient. Arnold didn't get as big as he was in 4 to 6 weeks and GP dressage horses have been in training for at least 4 to 5 years - not 4 to 6 weeks.
sorry but all i can offer is loooong loooow work on the lunge or sometimes in the saddle. :D
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