Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Behind the Vertical. Retraining a schoolmaster

"Have you heard that your horse is "behind the vertical? What does that mean? What can you do to correct this common training challenge?"

A horse that is behind the vertical (with its head position) could be doing it for many reasons. It may think that is what it should be, or it might have been taught to do this by someone who thought that it was the right "look". Other times, this position is a result of the incorrect use of draw reins or side reins. Either way, when it happens the horse is not usually connecting to the rein influence. They are going "behind the bit" and setting their head and neck instead of staying soft to the riders rein connection. It becomes an artificial position and a habit that takes a long time to correct. As a result of this position the horse often does not have its back up and is not stepping up from behind. Those who have been watching the training progress of Susan with Darrien have seen a lot of positive changes since they became a team last year. At that time Darrien was still in a double bridle and was not comfortable with the rein connection at all. His lower neck muscle was twice the size of the top of the neck. Now you can see that Susan is riding him in a snaffle and Darrien is now "rounding up" more. His neck has a rainbow, his back is up and he is getting more comfortable with stepping up into the rein connection.

Does your horse have a tendency to go "behind the vertical?" If so, you are not alone. What did you learn from watching what Susan is doing with Darrien?