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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My mum suggested doing long & low groundwork to strengthen Ninja's upper neck muscles and teach him to work properly in trot & canter especially. Does anyone know how you would go about this? How would you get them to stretch out when you aren't riding them? I know there's a Chambon thing that's supposed to be good for it, but we don't have one. Plus, my parents aren't keen on using tools like that.

Thanks in advance for any advice or ideas!
 

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I’m not keen on using contraptions to get a horse ‘long and low’ because I don’t think it’s beneficial and is more likely to result in a horse being on the forehand all the time
We have one that was like that for that very reason.
When you ride a horse into long and low you ride them into your hand to seek the contact, so, as you ride them forward you lengthen the rein without dropping the contact or allowing them to become ‘front end heavy’ and end up ‘tunneling’
The closest I can think to encourage this on the lunge is to use side reins and lengthen them bit by bit if the horse already understands what to do
When I’ve worked horses on the lunge that had a tendency to be high headed or if I wanted them to be in a lower head/neck set I attach the side reins to the girth, just below the bottom of the saddle flap
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I’m not keen on using contraptions to get a horse ‘long and low’ because I don’t think it’s beneficial and is more likely to result in a horse being on the forehand all the time
We have one that was like that for that very reason.
When you ride a horse into long and low you ride them into your hand to seek the contact, so, as you ride them forward you lengthen the rein without dropping the contact or allowing them to become ‘front end heavy’ and end up ‘tunneling’
The closest I can think to encourage this on the lunge is to use side reins and lengthen them bit by bit if the horse already understands what to do
When I’ve worked horses on the lunge that had a tendency to be high headed or if I wanted them to be in a lower head/neck set I attach the side reins to the girth, just below the bottom of the saddle flap
Yeah, that was why I was confused about how to get them like that on the ground. I thought that the Chambon was supposed to be the least risky of contraptions..although now that I'm thinking about it the lady only said that it was practically impossible for the horse to go behind the verticle. Nothing about being on the forehand.

I think we have side reins. I don't know if I'll be able to use them correctly though, cos' I'm not good at recognizing movements on the ground. Plus, he's never used side reins so I don't know if he'd know what to do.
 

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There are excellent books on the subject of lungeing. I would google "working horse long and low" to learn the benefits and pitfalls before you proceed.
 

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I have found that working a horse with two lines, to the bit, will encourage them to bring their hocks under them and, as they do so they will lower their head without being on the forehand.
 

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I'm not sure if Foxhunter if referring to lunging with 2 lines, or ground driving, or (what's the real difference anyway), but I love it. You don't need to stick to circles, but you can, and can reverse them with contact which is great so they really follow through. You can keep the feel of the horses mouth and control their back end. I like to go over poles when ground diving. I use a plain halter with my horse, a surcingle and 2 lunge lines.

On a few occasions I've also used the side reins while ground driving but looking back I don't think it was necessary or accomplished anything special with the combo.
 

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Not sure long and low training actually teaches a horse anything useful.

https://www.amazon.com/Falling-Fallacies-Misleading-Commonplace-Dressage/dp/386127969X

If you want the horse to stretch his back, let him graze. If you want to teach him to accept contact, then ride him with understanding contact. If you want him to lift his back by lowering his head, it won't work. Remember, the front legs are not attached to the spine. He lowers his neck by lowering between the front legs.

"If the rider stays in a light seat and lets the horse travel at his very slow natural rhythm, he will start to relax and drop his head. The front lever is then working to raise the back. As the back starts to raise, the hindlegs start to be freed up and are able to move farther forward under the centre of gravity....The horse’s back is often likened to a suspension bridge with levers at both ends. The front lever is made up of the neck (the nuchal ligament and upper neck muscles) and these do the job of pulling the backwards-facing spinous processes forward and thus raising the back. At the other end, muscles of the hindlimbs and the abdominal muscles working via the sacro-iliac joint, raise the back from behind by pulling the spinous processes of the vertebrae farther back, which are oriented facing forwards."

Why Is An Understanding Of Biomechanics Important? | The Horse Magazine

Unfortunately, the article is bio-mechanical nonsense. There is no lever at the front because the front legs are not attached. And a horse can extend his legs well underneath any time he wants, although he doesn't carry more weight on his hind end by doing so. The forward extremes of the leg's motion decelerate. They are not load bearing. Nor will pulling on the back muscles raise anything because the back muscle is attached to every bone along the spine. It only superficially looks like a rope. But you cannot pull it tight at one end and lift anything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm not sure if Foxhunter if referring to lunging with 2 lines, or ground driving, or (what's the real difference anyway), but I love it. You don't need to stick to circles, but you can, and can reverse them with contact which is great so they really follow through. You can keep the feel of the horses mouth and control their back end. I like to go over poles when ground diving. I use a plain halter with my horse, a surcingle and 2 lunge lines.

On a few occasions I've also used the side reins while ground driving but looking back I don't think it was necessary or accomplished anything special with the combo.
I hadn't thought about ground driving! I think I'll see if the groundwork instructor can teach me how to do it. Thanks for the suggestion.

Not sure long and low training actually teaches a horse anything useful.

https://www.amazon.com/Falling-Fallacies-Misleading-Commonplace-Dressage/dp/386127969X

If you want the horse to stretch his back, let him graze. If you want to teach him to accept contact, then ride him with understanding contact. If you want him to lift his back by lowering his head, it won't work. Remember, the front legs are not attached to the spine. He lowers his neck by lowering between the front legs.

"If the rider stays in a light seat and lets the horse travel at his very slow natural rhythm, he will start to relax and drop his head. The front lever is then working to raise the back. As the back starts to raise, the hindlegs start to be freed up and are able to move farther forward under the centre of gravity....The horse’s back is often likened to a suspension bridge with levers at both ends. The front lever is made up of the neck (the nuchal ligament and upper neck muscles) and these do the job of pulling the backwards-facing spinous processes forward and thus raising the back. At the other end, muscles of the hindlimbs and the abdominal muscles working via the sacro-iliac joint, raise the back from behind by pulling the spinous processes of the vertebrae farther back, which are oriented facing forwards."

Why Is An Understanding Of Biomechanics Important? | The Horse Magazine

Unfortunately, the article is bio-mechanical nonsense. There is no lever at the front because the front legs are not attached. And a horse can extend his legs well underneath any time he wants, although he doesn't carry more weight on his hind end by doing so. The forward extremes of the leg's motion decelerate. They are not load bearing. Nor will pulling on the back muscles raise anything because the back muscle is attached to every bone along the spine. It only superficially looks like a rope. But you cannot pull it tight at one end and lift anything.
For him long and low is just getting him to relax and stretch his head out. And accept the contact as you said. I can do it in the saddle, but sometimes when he's really nervous about something, it can be really nerve-racking for me and it would be nice if I could work on it on the ground first :)

(Also thanks for the info :D)
 

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My Friesian cross mare was very high-headed, tense and spooky of everything. It was literally impossible to get her to relax her back and stretch into a contact. Even when I tried to ride on the bit, she was all tight through her back and neck, refusing to relax and stretch it out. I used a combination of longeing in side reins set below the saddle flap as jaydee suggested, and lots of riding good forward trot and canter while encouraging her to stretch into the bridle. I admit it took awhile but she came around. Now we're stretching wonderfully and rounding up into collection. I credit the combination of longeing and lots of 20m circling while encouraging her to stretch, that finally got us there. Leg yielding from small circle to larger is another great exercise that helps the horse think about stretching into the outside rein.
 

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You can introduce It from the ground and It definitely helps build up the top line when incorporated into a program. I'd recommend looking at arttoride's youtube. His method requires no contraptions nor tools and I think he explains things quite well. I do a similar method and have personally seen great improvement before and after. Long lining is also great, however I've found that skill quite hard to learn without a teacher, so mainly stick to other groundwork, hill work and riding to build muscle.



 
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