[Teach Me Tuesday] How To Engage Your Horse's Back [Video]

"Needs to be more over his back" was one of the comments that I used to get some years ago. I felt like I needed to ride my horse more into a frame, to get his head and neck into a certain position. I thought that would be it. It took years and countless hours on Hafl's back to get a feeling for what over the back really means. It is not easy to explain and way too often we might think that we have reached this point already.

Here is one of my favorite videos of Will Faerber who put together a series called "Two minutes of.." on YouTube on several horse riding issues. His way of explaining and his great pictures and direct comparisons are great to get an idea of what "over the back" looks like.

This is exactly what Hafl and I are working on right now. He needs to lift his shoulder more so what we do is we seek contact in a stretchy trot and then, with a lot of leg, try to lift him up step by step. It might take several circles to get him up and I can feel that it is still very exhausting for him. 

The trot he shows then when worked correctly over his back is tremendously different to his "normal" trot, the trot that you would guess a Haflinger has. His steps become bouncier and smoother, I feel his back moving up and down way more than he used to. Sure, he was kind of round before as well, but this new feeling is so different that I do not want to miss it anymore. What a difference!

Of course that also needs a lot of strength from the rider because, as said in the video, instead of collapsing and sitting heavy on your horse, you also need to grow tall and raise your chest and be light. That requires a lot of core strength - which is obviously a weakness on my side as well.

I have started to go to the gym some weeks ago and I feel myself becoming stronger already. It might still take a few months until we both can keep up the positive tension, but in the end, I am sure that you will see the difference. Hopefully, I will have a chance to make a comparison in pictures or videos soon!

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