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Working on the topline
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seeker · 17/08/2010 22:53

Dd's ponly is an Arab, and so carries her head and tail quite high. As she's getting on a bit this obviously isn't good for her back and we're thinking of ways of working on her topline - anyone got any ideas?

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Callisto · 18/08/2010 08:53

Lunge, lunge and lunge some more.

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seeker · 18/08/2010 20:27

I know. Looks like I'll be buying some side reins and a roller - the bloody horse's wardrobe is worth significantly more than she is already!

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Primroselady · 18/08/2010 22:26

I would think you need to get some lessons so your dd can help the pony work correctly. Sidereins on lunge will help pony accept contact, but a Chambon or Pessoa would also help pony step forward and use back.

If she is getting on she is probably established in the way she goes and she may be slow to show improvement but you are right about needing to strengthen back and topline.

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Callisto · 19/08/2010 08:05

Chambons and pessoas are a training aid too far imo and used incorrectly can cause serious problems. I think you need lots of experience to use them, personally I don't think they have a place in a normal stables.

Lunging in side reins will work lateral muscles and make the horse more supple which in turn will help the horse to work in an outline and build up top line muscles too. Fit the side reins low and the horse automatically reaches down for the bit.

There are too many gadgets and short cuts on the market these days, from those ridiculous (and ridiculously expensive) ropes and sticks that rip-off Parelli sells to extreme use of draw reins and the like so that dressage horses will rollkur (which is a subject in itself). Gadgets are a shortcut to try and avoid proper schooling and the time and effort it takes to learn to ride properly.

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seeker · 19/08/2010 22:30

I think so too, callist - definitely not for amateur use. Apart from anything else, i doubt if there's anyone in the yard who could show dd how to use them properly, and would then have the time an inclination to stand over her as she used them. She's lunged a lot anyway - but we will add side reins.

Thank you very much everyone - please feel free to add any more thoughts!

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SkiHorseWonAWean · 20/08/2010 07:34

I very much agree with Callisto. If you have the time (and energy) long-reigning is great - but as you suspect, always best to get a lesson first.

Lessons will help without a doubt, but I've got to admit (and hope I'm not the only one!) - that as a teen, I never really "got" the whole outline business - I was far too busy having fun.

As far as lungeing goes (I'm not a fan) - if the horse goes well - as in you don't need to keep pushing her forward, use two hands on the rope. Feed them through your hands as though giving a two-handed wank Blush. This has the effect of gently "massaging" the line - so the horse won't fight against it. A fixed line/hand means that the horse tends to "fight" it and will hang or raise the head to the outside. By feeding the rope (but not extending it), the horse automatically drops the head and to the inside. Easier to get a 12 year old to do that than use gadgets. Probably best not to use my wanking analogy though! Wink

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BearBear1981 · 25/08/2010 13:09

Water treadmill!!! Very best way to do it. Worked for my guy after some box rest. You can take your horse to lots of different places who have them and they are surprisingly cheap to use, just make sure there is someone there who knows what they are doing!!!

Then also try Dr B's lunging aid on HorseHero.com which also is a good way to lunge them without restraint.

Trotting and walking up steep hills in half seat will also encourage topline muscles.

Don't forget though if horse is an arab, that is the way they are built to go. Your arab will never look like Totilas!!!

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