Hind End Engagement
Ok, so since the horse I'm now training named Sky dosn't use his hind end and all our problems stem from that, HOW DO I ENGAGE HIS HIND END?
No one seems to clearly be able to tell me how. Can someone give me step by step instructions and excersizes? Thanks.
I found this online and hope it helps rather then make it more complicated.... :lol:
Engagement of the Hindquarters
Engagement of the hindquarters is defined as: downward flexion at the lumbo/sacral junction; coiling of the loins.
The following are excerpts quoted from several sources:
US Cavalry Manual -- 1942 (and earlier editions): "The mechanism of impulsion lies in the play of the hip joint (coxo-femoral articulation). The closing of this joint leads to the engagement of the hocks under the mass and allows the horse to cover more or less ground according to the energy of extension of the propellers. Such engagement of the hocks under the mass leads to a lowering of the hindquarters ... the horse must lower his croup and draw his hocks under the mass."
Effective Horsemanship -- Noel Jackson (of the French School of Dressage, learned in Portugal) -- The ramener ("ramener" being on the bit) is the term used to describe the different stages of closing of the angle between the horse's head and neck when he bends longitudinally at the poll. It is complete when the horse's forehead reaches the perpendicular as he momentarily relaxes his jaw. It.... stretches the cervical ligament and the muscles of the dorsal part of the neck and the back, which eventually enables the horse easily to engage his hind quarters and to raise his whole forehand. .. As the horse adopts the attitude of the 'ramener' and tensions his cervical ligament, he gives the rider the distinct impression of raising his whole forehand as he engages his hind quarters, and immediately feels half a hand higher."
Another Horsemanship, Jean-Claude Racinet: "...Engagement of the hindquarters, which the (downward) tipping of the pelvic bone is, and the engagement (or stride under) of the rear feet appear as two distinct phenomena."
Hindquarter engagement starts with coiling of the loins a lowering of the hindquarters, and increased flexion in the joints of the hind leg. In the tolt, the horse contracts his back, therefore cannot flex at the LS joint. There is no sustained lowering of the hindquarters from the lumbo sacral junction, no increased flexion of all the joints of the hind leg, and no bascule of the back -- without that, there is no engagement.
Are the feet (both feet) under the body... or is one behind?
If both feet are working under the body, it helps to discern pelvic tilt.
If one is trailing behind, it's certain that the pelvis is not tilted for engagement.
A quick test to see if a horse is working off his hindquarters in tolt, is to ask for a "stop on a dime" or a roll-back and see what happens.
Help! That does sound complicated!
You can work on this quite simply with lots of simple flatwork excercises at walk and trot, don't try to rush it. You need to try to raise his forehand and the back will engage. Do lots of serpentines, changes of direction, increasing and decreasing the size of the circle, at a good active working trot. Trot over poles dotted around the arena to make him think. Always change your diagonal at change of direction to help him balance, and don't let him hang onto the forehand, encourage him to lighten by keeping your legs on.
Half halts and transitions at all paces will help.
In my humble opinion.
Enjoy your training and keep us posted.
Collection is associated with the horse collecting his hind quarters where he is carrying most of his weight on his hind legs rather than his front legs.
When you work up hill don’t let him charge up hill make him work his back legs to push him up hill by walking and when you go down hill don’t let him charge down hill either. Make him take his time going up and down hill. When going up hill don’t pull on the rains or the saddle. Hang on to the horse’s mane if you need to balance yourself.
If you don’t have hills try the dressage exercise shoulder-fore. This is where you move your horse forward at an angle where they are making four set of hoof tracks rather than two when they are walking in a straight line. This will help your horse to arch their back and engage the hind quarters.
Thanks! I worked a little with him today on hind end engagement and though i could not see it, I felt like he had more impulstion. He did amazing today. His trasitions were beautiful and he made it through the trot poles with only 2 nicks! He was a little bratty sometimes ( he likes to vear sharply comign off of the poles), and kept coming off the rail during the canter, it allowed us to work for the first time on cantering cricles- which were executed beautifully, especially for our first time doing that! :) I was over all extremely pleased with today!
That sounds great
I guess you are riding english? It's hard to tell sometimes.
You could make a tiny cross pole, only 6" high to trot over, this will encourage him to think about his hind legs as he may only just have realised he has them.
Don't put the poles in a line but space them about the school in ones.
Keep going with the varied trot work as this is the key to lightening the forehand, in my limited experience. Don't be in too much of a hurry to canter, but if you do, it must be a really good balanced one!
Also don't let him get bored but take him for a blast occasionally.
How about a pic?
No matter how many times you are told, even with step by step instructions, you will not understand how to engage a horses hind quarters properly, even if his hind quarters do engage you may not recognise it.
It takes a lot of work, and knowing how and when to use your legs is difficult....my suggestion is to find an instructor who knows how to do this...it may cost money..... but if you really want to learn, this is the best way to achieve what you want. and your horse will appreciate it........he won't be an experiment and get confused...(this will lead to more problems).
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