In frame
horse silhouette

February 8, 2021

Riding a horse “in frame” is one of the things I hear horse people say a lot but often it is not the kind of frame that we want our horses to have.

My intention for this blog post is to serve as a reminder (or wake up call) for those who want their horses moving in a way that not only looks good, but is healthy for horse and rider. The kind of frame I want every horse of mine (including lesson ponies) to move in, is a soft neck (due to relaxation) and engaged back and hind quarters, I want them stretching their backs and necks and bringing hind leg under.

This is a very broad  definition because depending on the fitness of the horse and knowledge and strength of the rider, the shortness of the frame will vary drastically-but what remains the same is all of the above, no matter what!

Even when you see the upper level dressage riders w their horses polls up above the wither-the horse is still (ideally) stretching to the bit, and as relaxed as possible (within reason). This is what gives their movements fluidity, makes the trot comfortable, and it also keeps them sound longer.

If you’re not sure if your horse is properly or improperly in “frame” AKA in to the contact, moving over its back, through, stretching to the bit, in the bridle etc…

Here are some questions for you to think about (consider their head set, body, and demeanour when answering questions).

  1. What happens when you lengthen reins while in w/t/c?
  2. What happens  when slow your horse down or do a half halt?
  3. What happens  when slow your horse down or do a half halt?

Who knows the correct answers to the above questions? Ie. What SHOULD happen when you do all of these things? 

Exercises to help your horse properly move into bridle:

  1. Get your horse wonderfully obedient to right and left leg and both legs together.
  2. Get your horse obedient to body/weight aids and reins for half halts and halts
  3. Get your horse soft through poll by gently flexing in and out.

Who’s brave enough to comment below? I’ll post answers in next blog post <3 


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