Monday, November 24, 2008


I like to tell yall the weird "training techniques" I have learned from local horseowners, for a couple of reasons. One, I don't look nearly so bad in comparison, and two, as a kind of sanity check for me. Some things (broken double twisted wire curb bits, and heavy shoes, and "action devices") I have always instinctively known to be cruel and ineffective. But some other stuff didn't seem correct when I first heard about it or saw it, but it didn't immediately strike me as wrong.

I've seen lots of people, who, when starting a young horse, will yank its head up at the trot. Because it's harder for the horse to buck if its head is up. This is counterproductive, right?

Anyway, it does make some part of me vaguely nervous for my horse to walk along with his head level. He's entirely too polite and lazy to actually try to buck me off, but it just looks... abnormal. His head's always been carried high, and all the horses I ride or see ridden carry their heads high. It never occurred to me that this was actually bad riding, although it sure seems blindingly obvious now!


  1. Hi Funder,
    I was riding Wa once in my first boarding arena..and she was doing her hollow high headed thing...rushing in her trot and I heard this woman say outloud enough for me to hear,"You are going to ruin her top line".
    Well, I didn't want to ruin I just had to take some lessons for a while and ask questions to find that..if she held her head high she could avoid the bit and acceptance of it.It was fear on her part..but it would lead to some back pain in her underdevelpoed muscles.
    knowing her back ground, with it's devises and heavy handed crulety...I had huge challenges ahead.
    But, I too did use a training devise ..a lunging "Balance system"....She really seemed to like it and I had it set at the longest tension and between her legs so she had to reach her neck out...boy that developed her top line! And her neck. I also learned how to invite her down into my softer hands with my leg.
    It has taken almost 3 years.

    So, cruel is cruel...and common sense and fairness in training the indiviual equine personality is where it is happening.!!!

  2. I think part of what's messing with my head about Champ is that I've only ever heard of hollowness in conjunction with avoiding the bit. I don't ride Champ with any contact, therefore, he can't be avoiding the bit and he can't be hollow. Obviously that's not true - another of those flash-of-lightning moments when I realized it!

    I should take some current body shots of Champ. It will be really interesting to see if he learns to use his back properly and actually develops a topline! I'm glad to hear Wa has muscled up her back while you've had her. It gives me hope that I can help Champ fix his back too.

  3. A horse can be hollow without avoiding the bit. It's all about the way they carry themselves with (or without, to some degree) a rider on board.

    I am convinced that Wa and Raven are pretty much the same horse split into two bodies, but I am about 2 years behind Kacy in the 3 year process.


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