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Was it a try or not?? 20/03/2018



Well today was interesting. I had a feeling that Darcy hadn't been truly softening through the ribs because his head level was still above his wither at the end of the lateral drift. I went out with the goal to get a better try with his head lower and even after many attempts and trying lots of different positions, I wasn't getting any better tries. He was quite obviously trying to pick himself up and try for me, as I could see him flexing around me and his stomach tucking up and his back rising, and when I offered the release forward again I got an few offers of vertical flex for the first few steps. 

His head was at an acceptable height (only about 10-15cm in total above the level of his wither) and he seemed to be relaxed, so I'm beginning to think that his head level is ok as it is. As an Arabian he has a naturally high head carriage, so his head is pretty low considering.

We did have some good progress with the lateral drift, especially on the right. His hind had been lagging going to the right and Darcy gave me a few tries of bringing his hind end under him in the lateral drift which I released forward on. 

I'll keep working on it and releasing with the tries I'm getting, and hopefully we will be ready to try a nice lateral drift at the trot soon.


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Hi Luna, sounds like he is definitely giving you some nice tries there. And yes as an arab it may be harder for him to carry his head lower, but sounds like you are still achieving his lateral flex and self carriage. Just keep rewarding those tries and I would keep experimenting with holding the flex a bit longer each time to see if that makes a difference (I could be off track...) I'd also keep an eye on his head carriage in his up and down transitions too between walk and halt and then trot once you get there.

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Hi Jen. I'm getting some nice tries and hopefully it'll improve even more with practice. Darcy is getting pretty worn out from carrying himself, so I gave him the day off today. What was cool though, was when I went down to give him his dinner and when he was walking around he was carrying himself really nicely and engaging his bum. Its lovely to watch :D 

His head carriage is certainly higher when he goes faster and lower when he stops, but that should hopefully even itself out as his posture improves.

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Hi Luna, sounds like you are on the right track and Darcy is giving you some good tries. I think Jen's suggestion is a good one, keep rewarding the tries and maybe hold the flex until you see him lower his head even a little and then release. Sounds like your timing is good. One tip is that whilst you keep asking, the ask doesn't need to get bigger or louder, just keep your ask the same and time the release when Darcy gives you a try. I would be looking for a little progress with each session.

Its not unusual that some horses can brace up emotionally and physically when we ask them to go faster. I think you are one the right track and if you ask him to laterally soften before he transitions up to trot and eventually canter, Darcy will start to travel with a lower head carriage.  Sounds like with your help he is learning to carry himself in a more balanced way :thumbsup:


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Hi Vicki. Thank you for the tip. Ive also found that he is happier yielding laterally from my hip and when I turn my belly button to him he is bracing a bit. I think my lightsaber is offending him! Whoops.

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