Schooling exercises for softening and lightening

harvgj19

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Ok, so rode the horse I will be exercising last night, and he is pretty stiff in his neck and heavy on the forehand. The owner did warn me of this and he is ridden in a loose ring french link snaffle, but what exercises can I do with him in the school to loosen his neck and lighten his front end.

Last night I did lots of transitions from halt, walk and trot and changes of rein and circles.

What else can I do to improve this?
 

zizz

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lots of transitions in walk and trot as i expect his canter wil be quite unbalanced at present. also on your circles try leg yeilding in and out again to help him step under and carry his own weight.
 

Tempi

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ltos of trot/walk/trot transitions - so walk for literally 1-2 strides them immediatly trot again, make sure the hind leg is kept active in the downwards transition by lightly touching the horse on its croup during it to get to lighten the forehand.

Lots and lots of changes of rein and circles whilst over exagerating the inside bend - so really open your inside hand and use your inside leg to push the horse out and lift up through the shoulder. Make sure you keep your outside rein on tho, so the horse dosent drop the shoulder and 'rush'.

A bit of shoulder fore in trot and canter will improve the canter and trot work immensly - it will help the horse to engage behind and to lighten the shoudler again.

Serpentines of 5 loops or more are also good, with a very distinctive change of bend over the centre line.

Raised trotting poles can help to get the swing through the back, lighten the forehand and get the hind quarters more active also.
 

ruthsimms

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I'm no expert I hasten to add (!) but my boy starts off every schooling session with a stiff neck and hollow back. I've recently introduced more transitions from walk to trot which have worked well but I find a decent canter with a light seat really loosens him up. The resulting trot feels much better.

Lots of serpentines with a circle or diamond thrown in.
 

fairhill

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Just a couple more exercises to add to the very good advice already given:

Turn about the haunches - slow him down (or halt), and move his shoulder around a 90 degree angle.

Also try and flex his neck gently from left to right in walk whilst you're warming up, aiming to keep him walking straight whilst he's flexing.

Everytime you feel him start to lean and tip on to his forehand, come back to halt, get him accepting your legs, and the contact and then move off again.
 

harvgj19

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Thanks PG and everyone else! Some great suggestions there. I did some work on a long rein at the start and also tried for a little leg yielding on a circle. He is just learning to leg yield.

I also did the walk trot walk stuff. He seemed to really respond to that.

Is shoulder fore the same as shoulder in?
 

Louby

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7 July 2005
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I fall into the habit of endless trotting in circles trying to lighten my boy, half halts are non existent cos they dont seem to work and we both end up bored and frustrated. Although its probably not the right way round to do it Ive found if after walking on a loose rein, I do some leg yielding, turns on the forehand, riding squares instead of circles, shoulder in in walk and then trot that he really starts to listen to me and is much much better. Tonight I concentrated on swinging my hips with his walk which I forget to do
and then did a half halt and he stopped immediately, it was great.
 
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