In frame pt 3

February 13, 2021

I’m going to take one common mistake per post since getting your horse in frame is a very complicated and involved process (which is why I am skeptical when someone says their new horse goes into frame so easily!). We ask them to go forward and they: grab bit and go faster, take faster steps without stretching out stride, head up and go faster w tension.

All three responses are assuming your horse is obedient to the leg but not stretching into contact. These responses are all due to tension in the horses body.

Assuming you’ve already covered your bases w chiro/massage and proper fitting tack, one of the biggest things I would work on as a rider would be: balance, strength and connection to the stirrups. (Can you stand in the stirrups indefinitely walk and trot?) 

Things to work on your horse

they need to learn to stretch down so riding with as little rein as possible so as to not interfere with the natural response of dropping neck is a helpful first step (reward every time the head goes down naturally).

Some exercises to incorporate into your rides:

  • Keeping your horse on the inside track for the whole ride, riding circles-spiralling in and out, and counter flexion on a circle: The goal is to get steering totally off the leg. 
  • Opening and holding pressure on a rein and waiting for your horse to stretch down (w leg on!) is another great way to get your horse to find a stretch over the back. And switching the flexion to inside and outside until they FEEL symmetrical (this can take a very long time especially if your horse isn’t used to being flexed through the poll). The key is to be GENTLE when needed and also FIRM when needed in complete harmony with the level of resistance they give you. I only recommend experienced riders try this and ideally with supervision if unsure of the mechanics as it can be confusing to both horse and rider. The principle that we are apply is: Pressure on mouth (via the bit) should result in the horse softening to the pressure  (through the poll only) either bringing nose from poked out to perpendicular to the ground, or softening to inside or outside flexion
  • If your horse is tense by nature I highly recommend putting them on Magnesium Oxide (Pureform is the brand i use and an average sized horse gets 4 scp a day). It relaxes the mind and the body. I have a blog post about it somewhere…


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