Hollow back? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-16-2014, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
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Hollow back?

(This isn't a critique on my riding position so much as it is asking for help in seeing the difference between the horse i'm riding having a hollow back/not using his hind end vs stepping under himself properly)
Me and the pony I ride have gotten to the point where we're working pretty consistently, so my trainer started working on collecting him and asking him to step under himself more. I take regular lessons with her, so I am getting feedback on my riding.
I would appreciate if you could just tell me if he is using himself properly in these pictures so I can start to train my eye to pick out what's correct when i'm riding without my trainer.

(The attached image at the bottom is from a couple months ago for a little bit of reference)
In these pics from today I think he's starting to look like he's moving properly? his back legs coming up more behind him and less braced in his neck?

P1020504_zpsd438b63d.jpg Photo by petrichorification | Photobucket

P1020502_zpsf5d74817.jpg Photo by petrichorification | Photobucket

P1020489_zps2ac391fd.jpg Photo by petrichorification | Photobucket

P1020482_zps577cfc93.jpg Photo by petrichorification | Photobucket


Can anyone point out things that have changed(for better or worse) and explain a little bit about how to see in a picture/video if he's using himself properly so I can work out what I need to do without immediate feedback from my trainer?
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post #2 of 10 Old 08-16-2014, 04:35 PM
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While the horse does have more of a U neck and is more loaded on the forehand in the one snapshot at the bottom of the post (the one that I believe is from a few months ago)..
Your hands move with his mouth more than the more current photos. Yes, he is learning forward better, but to me it looks like if you just moved your hands with his head more he will begin to really reach for the contact and be able to lift his back up.

Good example of this is from your walking photo. Yes, you don't have any contact, but that means you also aren't putting a wall up with your hands and his entire demeanor is much more relaxed and supple through his back, whereas his expression right down to his eyes in the other pictures look tense to me.

Give with the hands and keep up the hard work, he is a cutie.

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
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post #3 of 10 Old 08-16-2014, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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We both definitely get tense in the trot, I think it's a little easier for me to relax at the walk and it definitely affects him. I'll work on being more giving with my hands. Part of the tenseness might be because of the bending work we were doing, he's been stiff through his turns to the right recently.
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post #4 of 10 Old 08-20-2014, 11:54 PM
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I would give him a bit more rein at the trot, if you give him his head and relax you your shoulder and elbow I think he will start to relax too and give you a more supple and rounded frame. You will need a lot of leg to lift his back up too, think of his body as a water balloon, if you squeeze one end the water all shifts to the other end. If you leg him and give him his head he will round and reach into your hand, but if you leg him and hold the reins his head is force up and his back down. If you relax your reins and don't leg, he will flatten and go on his forehand. You have to find the correct balance of pushing him forward and supporting him with your reins. It does look like you have improved though, he is still hollow but doesn't look as tense and is starting to reach for your hand more.
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post #5 of 10 Old 08-21-2014, 12:41 AM
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your own position is much improved in such a short time.

I agree that you may have a bit of "fiddling" happening to his head, and he ends up becoming short in the neck, and maybe tense. it's a common thing, that I think many of us do more than we really care to realize.

but, you can help him now and then become more trusting and relaxed in the shorter rein if you sometimes let him carry the bit well forward, even to where you trot him around a bit nearly on the buckle, and don't worry about his outline, just get him briskly and loosely going forward.


look for the position of his hind leg when it is stepped fully under, in relation to something fixed, like the saddle position, so you can see if he is reaching under himself more.
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post #6 of 10 Old 08-21-2014, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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He's started to loosen up more and relax in his neck a LOT since my first post! My trainer has me keeping a bit of a stronger contact on the inside rein on 15 meter circles(otherwise he just sort of 'skids' around with his butt and nose pointing to the left), then releasing, and letting him relax until he completely loses a correct bend. I don't have any pictures, but we got almost an entire circle of him bending correctly and relaxed on a loose inside rein.
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post #7 of 10 Old 08-21-2014, 05:39 PM
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He looks like a Gypsy Cob/Vanner type and the short thick neck they have doesn't lend well to a higher neck carriage when their head is on the vertical - apart from anything else they can't breath properly.
He'll find it easier to work on a slightly longer rein so he can stretch a bit and then begin to come to your hand softly and lift his back rather than end up braced against you with a hollow back
This is a similar breed to your guy winning the British Novice championship last year - you have to skip through some of the blurb at the start but it will give you an idea of to give them the freedom in the neck to work at their best
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-tuyLpWBwQ
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post #8 of 10 Old 08-21-2014, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, that gypsy is gorgeous. And yes, he's a drum horse(clydeXshireXgypsy) so he's built similarly. I'm riding on saturday so i'll try to do more trot work on a looser rein. I haven't let him trot with the reins released almost to the buckle in a while(he's a notorious tripper) but i'll try throwing in a few strides of him stretching out as far as possible at the trot before he loses balance.
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post #9 of 10 Old 08-21-2014, 09:30 PM
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If he's tripping that much he might be dumping all his weight on his forehand. These horses were originally bred to throw their weight forwards against a collar and it seems to be ingrained in them to still want do that
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post #10 of 10 Old 08-21-2014, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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definitely, if he gets unfocused or tired he starts putting his weight on the forehand, then he rushes a little bit, then he ends up dragging himself around entirely on the forehand. It's improved a lot in the past few months, i don't think he's gotten to the point where he's just dragging himself around in weeks. He still trips sometimes when he gets panicky or fatigued, but for the most part he's learned to be a lot more mindful of how he steps, and he's developed enough strength to hold himself together more. He's been boarded at the trainer's for the past month, she rides him twice a week, and i get out there 2 or so times per week, so he's really been able to work correctly and develop the right muscles to help him out with his balance.
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