forward down 300x236 Is lowering the horses neck enough?The forward-down tendency and lowering the horses neck is an important part of riding horses, but it is only part.

When a rider rides a horse only in forward-down – without engaging the hind legs in a proper way – the following symptoms can occur:.

horizontaalscheef 300x212 Is lowering the horses neck enough?

  • The horse leans on the rein and uses the hand of the rider for support, like a fifth leg.
  • The horse shows little shoulder-freedom.
  • The horse will develop only pushing ability and not any carrying ability , so he will never learn to carry the rider in balance.
  • Due to the weight of the rider that is added to the front legs, strain injuries can occur.

Only running a horse onto the forehand with no parameters except the lowering of the neck can damage the horse.

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The good thing of riding with a lowering neck is that the back is coming up, which is important, because a raised head and neck will cause the back to drop and lose strength. When the horse lowers his neck, the back is lifted and stronger.

But also a grazing horse is lifting his back….. still carrying 3/5 of his weight on the front legs.

Click Here eBook ST 205x300 Is lowering the horses neck enough?.Tekening2 300x151 Is lowering the horses neck enough?

Really developing the back of the horse doesn’t happen magically as simply a result of lowering the neck.

We need more!

More paramaters are needed

Of course the horse must lower his neck and ‘search’ forward down for the rider’s hand. But lowering the neck is not enough to prevent the horse from physical problems and to develop a proper topline.

Ondertreden 150x150 Is lowering the horses neck enough?The horse must also step more under his center of mass and into the light contact, thereby creating a connection over the top line, encouraging and allowing the horse’s back to come up to allow the smooth flow of energy through the horse.

To get a hind leg to step under, we need correct lateral bending of the horse.  This brings the inside hip forward, making the hind leg step exactly under the center of balance.

LFSonLongeLine 300x236 Is lowering the horses neck enough?So three important parameters are:

  1. Lateral bending
  2. Forward-down tendency
  3. Stepping under

These three ‘keys of straightness training’ are closely connected and one cannot exist without the others.

However, the main goal is to develop the complete carrying capacity of the hind legs in order to lighten the load on the fragile front legs.

Collection 150x150 Is lowering the horses neck enough?This goal can be reached by the following three keys of straightness training:

4. Bending the inside hind leg using the exercise shoulder-in
5. Bending the outside hind leg using exercises like hauches-in/renvers
6. Bending both hind legs using using exercises like piaffe/pirouette

All keys of straightness training are necessary to develop a proper top line and carrying hind legs. So…..


Lowering the horse’s neck is not enough


The keys of straightness training are necessary to protect the horse against major physcial problems such as back problems or strain injuries in the front legs.

In the beginning of the education of the horse the first three keys are most important:

  1. Lateral bending
  2. Forward-down tendency
  3. Stepping under

These keys:

  • must be trained in harmony and will lay the solid foundation.
  • form the central theme during the entire education of the horse, from circle to pirouette.
  • form the proper basics to fall back on when encounter problems. Riders can work from these basics to fix whatever problems they encounter.

From there the rider can take it a step further using key number 4: bending of the inside hind legs and number 5: bending the outside hind legs. Because of the clear structured keys and by using logically structured gymnastic exercises you can develop a proper top line and carrying hind legs.

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Eventually you can develop the talents of your horse to its maximum with key number 6: bending both hind legs simultaneously.



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  1.   Jennifer Bashoreon 08 Feb 2012 at 07:10

    I have some questions. I would like to purshase your Straightness Training course.
    But I need to know if the course teaches how to do it or is it just a theory. I have a wonderfull Gelding off the race track. But I also see beautifull movement in him . But I also see a great deal of problems. All of the things you have discussed in the problem catergory he has. I see that of course he is very loaded on his front left foot. And if you would listen to his foot fall you can hear a difference. Also he is recovering from EPM. I am just starting him back to work on the ground after a long time off from the sickness. I am very interested in your work with horses. I only want the best for him, he is a remarkable horse full of beauty and power and grace. I want to do the very best for him. But also know that I am not a Dressage person. I do not like what I see in the Trainers around here. But we would like to dance together in the future. Can your course help to teach me this method?
    Thank you for your time
    Jennifer Bashore and Amigo

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