Bend­ing and bal­ance

EQUUS - - Conversati­ons -

Q:I ride a 4-year-old geld­ing for a friend, and I al­ways longe him be­fore I work him un­der sad­dle. Lately I’ve no­ticed what I think is a bal­ance is­sue, and it re­ally stands out when I longe him. He moves on a cir­cle nicely around me with a good bend, but as his speed in­creases he of­ten leans against the longe line. At a can­ter, the line is taut be­tween us and I’m strain­ing to “hold him up.” Some­times he leans so hard it feels like if I sud­denly let go he would go fly­ing off the cir­cle and pos­si­bly off his feet. I’ve also no­ticed him speed­ing up un­der sad­dle to com­pen­sate when he feels un­bal­anced. I feel con­fi­dent that I’m do­ing my job stay­ing bal­anced my­self, and I’ve been giv­ing him as much sup­port as I can. I hoped you might have some spe­cific sug­ges­tions for how to strengthen him over time and help him sup­port his own weight, es­pe­cially at speed and around turns.

A:That’s a great ques­tion. And you’re right, bal­ance is the key. If a horse doesn’t have good self-car­riage at slow speeds, he will

Lau­ren came to Jonathan Field’s James Creek Ranch Horse­man­ship Camps with her 7-year-old Friesian, Dante. Jonathan will demon­strate ex­er­cises to help Dante bend and main­tain bal­ance while cir­cling on the longe line.

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