To have a horse comfortably swinging through his back, he first needs to have a relaxed neck in a position to assist his balance.
It is very common to see a short, tense neck which is often caused by the rider, trying to create more collection. In their effort, they forget that having a stronger or tighter contact, will bring in the nose but then destroys the horse’s balance. It is with the making of energetic hind leg steps, which are then put into balance with a series of half halts, that lighten the forehand, allows the neck to be free enough to ‘round’ and soften. Achieve this and you are on your way to developing a swing through the back.
The more difficult problem is the horse that has learned to shorten back his neck, into the rider’s lap to avoid the contact. This takes some talent and ‘feel’ from the rider to change and correctly train. Contact to the mouth has to be maintained to the back of the elbows where ever the horse wishes to place his neck. With the leg asking for him to search for the connection, and the rider keeping the balance of both horse and rider, trust can be developed and the neck muscles lengthened, so the whole horse swings. It takes time and patience until the horse does not revert under pressure.
Kelly rode a great test at her first Hickstead Championships with over 64% and is full of enthusiasm to progress with her horse’s training.
We are still looking for:
1. 16.2hh or little taller, horse for a client to train. Need not be a world beater, but fun to ride.
2. Large pony that is safe to ride for children and small adults. Good in the stable. Small riding school environment.