getting hindlegs more active

xXxTraversxXx

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i am currently riding an andalucian and he's going well, but i'm struggling to get his hindlegs going/ tracking up! im sure part of it is to do with the way he's put together, he's quite unusually long in the back for his breed (and big aswell - about 16.3hh) and feels like he's going forwards but even the tiniest bit of tension through his back and we're back to square one. transitions make it worse - as he just collects up even more. duno if i should maybe be doing more shoulder in/ travers etc or maybe get off his case about going in an outline for a while?? these horses!
 

millitiger

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transitions within the paces can work better sometimes if transitions between the pace are causing tension.

i know transitions in the trot transformed my little mare's way of going- she would get tight in 'proper' transitions but was fine varying the trot and it really got her propelling along on her hindlegs.

now she has had her break and is coming back to work i am hoping to carry on the work into her canter!

also what is he like if you ask for an outline out hacking?
 

TableDancer

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No experience at all with Spanish horses so don't know if this is appropriate but with "normal"
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horses I find trotting poles on a circle really really helpful, then once they've got used to that, try raising one end a few inches - really really makes them work! You can vary where along the poles you place you rcircle according to how collected the trot is, ie collected trot, smaller circle, towards inside of poles, iyswim
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Kelpie

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what's his movement like when he's not ridden? Does he still struggle to activate his back legs properly or is he OK? Also, how old is he/ what work has he done before?

I have a similar problem with my boy in that while he'll seem collected at the front end, his back legs won't be properly engaged. However, he will move like this regardless of whether he has a rider on or not! For my boy, it seems to be more of a conditioning of his way of going, I think from his prior training before he came to me. Pole work seems to help, tho, as does taking the forward seat and giving him a good blast round the school to loosen up his back end.
 

xXxTraversxXx

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he's exacly the same when he's p*ssing about in the fiels without me on top! he's about 10, unfit and has been out of proper work for quite some time (his owner is v nervous) but has been ridden by a v good rider about once a week for some time, generally well schooled, can piaffe, good laterals etc.
I have tried blasting and gona start doing some more galloping on hacks maybe once a week (once i know him better
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haha) but when i do it in the school he just won't go!! just gets bouncier
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i think alot of it is just him, and unless i re-breed him he's just never going to go perfectly in that way, just need to try and get the best out of him i guess. but i do feel that i would get slated by judge's if i competed him for not getting enough impulsion and getting him engaged enough even though he feels like he's alot more engaged/ more impulsion than my last ride (warmblood always tracked up)
 

Kelpie

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maybe you have the same problem as me then? possibly part natural confirmation but likely also past owner may have shortened him up too much in front without sufficient attention to the back and now that's how he thinks he needs to go?

If that's correct, I'm finding it's a long process to resolve! you have to work quite hard at the balance between trying to achieve collection but still trying to get the horse to move freely and not to think that he needs to go into what he previously was taught was collection but what was really shortening up at the front without engaging the back end. Just try to make sure that where he goes to that place where he's been taught collection is previously (but isn't a true collection), you always gently push him past that and either do something different (transition/ lateral movement, something to divert his attention), or try to push him into extension, or really just anything so he learns that in fact that's not where you want him to be.

For quite a while, I've not really pushed for any high collection work, to try to get him out of his habbit of where he thought previously collection ought to be - that might be something worth you trying too? Also, as said above, raised trotting poles help, and I've also found gridwork jumping to help, as it can be used to help activate the back legs.
 

TarrSteps

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Does he get higher and rounder in his movement behind, or just take short, flat steps?

As you say, this breed and similar tend to be very round in their movement (inclined towards collection but that doesn't necessarily mean every time they do it it indicates a correct collected gait) and when they get tense, or tired, or otherwise stressed they are going to go "up" instead of "out" when pushed. It's just what's easier for them. This is why they struggle with the extended work at higher levels.

If tension is the issue then relaxation is the answer, as it were. He needs to take longer, somewhat slower steps and swing more from the hip rather than just push upwards in reaction to your driving aid. Trotting poles, as TD mentioned, will help, so long as there is an emphasis on relaxation and stretching and the lengthening is done gradually.

Now, if he's just puttering along, taking lazy short steps like many horses do when they're slacking, then all the "speed" exercises, sharpening reactions, increased fitness etc. will help. If he takes a big step but it's slow in the air, then more transitions etc to quicken and shorten the step slightly, so he steps more underneath, less behind the line of his hip.
 
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