Dip in horses neck
I have a throughbred that I am constantly working with to try to get him to put his head down, stretch his neck, use his back and have a more swinging trot. Everyone's dream right?
Well he currently has strong muscles along his mane line and the underside of his neck is strong (probably from resisting contact) but he has a dip in his neck where the neck meets the shoulder area.
I am interested in using a lunging system to help solve some of these problems. Possibly a pessoa system. I would like to hear your thoughts on the pessoa system, whether you like it/use it, and if not what you use instead? Is a surcingle/side reins better?
Also what are other exercises that I can do to help him stretch his neck?
Well if hes off the track or had any track training he will be bracy and want to lean into contact because that is how they are trained to race. As far as the dip unless you show a pic tb's are high withered horses and it dips where the neck part of the spine meets the back. Its not abnormal and no training system will eliminate it.
Using the training systems in 50/50 because they kno the difference between something mechanical like the pessoa or side reins versus human hands. The training aid doesn't change and give steady contact so yes if you can match that contact you will be in great shape but if you go "ack" and jerk at all or get sucked into a pulling game they will get bracy and lean again.
I have 2 OTTBs and bot are the same with wanting to lean on the bit and not collect. And since TBs are built to race they are built a bit differently and may not collect in the ideal way and its just how it is.
I can tell that my OTTB's dip is due to no muscling in htat partivular area and not because of wither connection. Also my horse does not lean on the bit at all. Its basically like he just feels it in the corners of his mouth but other than that he could care less about stretching or looking for the bit.
Agree with SE that without more info, musclewise it could be just the way he is. I prefer not to use gadgets to train, and I think it's also important the horse is properly educated to respond to them properly before using.
First & foremost I'd get him & his saddle checked out & ensure he's not in pain. Hopefully all is well and it's not a case of can't raise his back, round up, etc, but physical discomfort/pain is often behind behavioural/muscle problems. Especially if you think his mouth/bit is a problem, either physically or due to previous training, I'd consider training him in a halter or bitless bridle, to begin with at least. Changing the tack and methods of training can help break those automatic reactions that are associated with them and reducing any chance of pain can also help avoid this behaviour/attitude.
You don't say anything about his behaviour, training, or about your training of him, so I can only guess, but I'd guess he needs to learn how to relax first & foremost. Calm, low stress training is probably something he's had little experience with as a racehorse.
After I'd established he understood how to reliably & softly yield to pressure, not just from the bit but in all ways, then I'd probably start long reining or lunging him, teaching him first at a walk, to go calmly on a loose rein, taking up rein pressure only if/when needed to change/control his movement. I would teach him this in the saddle too, before I would begin thinking about teaching him to accept 'contact'.
Making a practice of taking up the reins softly with only a 'contact' for a moment before asking anything of him with more pressure while teaching him in this relaxed way will help him understand how to accept and not resist it when you start teaching him with contact.
Anyway, he is a 10 year old gelding off the track. Before I bought him he was successful hunter/jumper in my area. He is very lazy for a thoroughbred and we are constantly nagging him for more energy. I suspect he had muscle then, but I don't have any pictures from then. He has had a lot of training but just doesn't have any energy required to stretch and search for the bit.
Due to not doing this his back has become weak and so has his neck.
I take weekly lessons, and ride 2-3 times in addition to that during the week. I have been riding (with a good instructor) for 3 years but have been riding for 5 years before that.
Hope that helps you help me!:D
I liked Loosie's advice, about teaching him the meaning of contact by having it and getting a change, then releasing it bigtime. So it's not endless, dull, meaningless contact.
your further description tells me that he needs some work to get him to know the meaning of "forward!" Working in a round pen and just getting him to go honestly forward would be good. If you wear spurs, dithch them and take up a whip but when he goes forward, let him coast in freedom.
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