Your Horse (UK) - - You Horse's Training -

Katie spends time en­cour­ag­ing Dil­lon to stretch. It’s cru­cial for him to de­velop the cor­rect out­line so he can work ef­fec­tively and safely, and be­come soft and sup­ple. “There’s no quick fix for this,” says Katie. “He spent all his work­ing life be­fore com­ing to us not hav­ing to worry about his out­line and his mus­cles aren’t yet ca­pa­ble of mak­ing the shape we need. “Long and low work is at the core of re­train­ing an ex-race­horse, es­pe­cially one who can be as sharp as Dil­lon. So, we al­ways start each ses­sion with stretch­ing.”

How to ride it

1 If your horse strug­gles to stretch, you’ll need to en­cour­age him all the way. 2 Go large and, al­though you’re only in walk, en­sure the pace is pur­pose­ful by us­ing your seat and hands to en­cour­age for­ward­ness. 3 Don’t be tempted to lower and widen your hands to get the stretch. Keep the weight even down both reins and carry your hands. 4 Just stretch­ing an inch at a time is enough in the ini­tial stages. 5 If he strug­gles to stretch at the start of the ses­sion, or he’s too fresh, work him up and to­gether for a few min­utes, then try again. Some horses may not stretch cor­rectly un­til fur­ther on in the ses­sion, so be flex­i­ble in your ap­proach. 6 If he’s happy to stretch, try it in ris­ing trot — only for half a cir­cle at first and then tran­si­tion back to walk for a few steps be­fore trot­ting again. Don’t ex­pect too much and praise him when he tries hard.

At first, Dil­lon finds it more dif­fi­cult to stretch out in trot

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