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Friesian/draft cross
Willowcreek Stables
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how is it that i am distracted by everything yet paying attention to nothing

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Matterhorn, Italy | Codrin_Coman
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*flicks holy water on you* leave

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I’m just gonna bullshit it.
- my life motto for the past 20 years (via beyleesis)
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Cute Bear ~ By Richard Bowler
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Champ 163 & Rodrigo Pessoa
 - $50,000 G&C Farm Jumping Derby.
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It took me 18 years to realise Saturday has turd in it

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ever wonder how different your life would be if that one thing never happened

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Disclaimer: If you’ve seen this whole thing posted before, it’s because I posted it to my personal blog (underdarrensspell.tumblr.com) a few months ago. I am in fact the same person, I am not stealing any material. I actually re-drew the image and changed some things to make it a bit clearer and hopefully easier to understand.
So I guess I want to start by saying that it is my belief that it is crucial for every rider’s education to learn how to get a horse to carry itself, no matter what your style or discipline is. Even if you’re never going to show in your life, it’s simply important to know. Getting a horse to move his body correctly versus bee-bopping around with you on his back is like the difference between doing a shitty push-up because it’s easier, and doing a real push-up because it’s better for you. Horses’ bodies are not built to carry the extra weight of a rider, so horses that are ridden regularly wear down their joints and tendons and muscles quicker than they would naturally, so we have to ask them to adjust the way they carry themselves to accommodate for the extra weight we add. It’s better for their bodies in the long run, and allows them to build up the correct muscles to do the things we want them to do (jumping, barrel racing, reining, etc.). 
So, now that that explanation is out of the way, let’s look closely at my amateur-ly drawn diagram. The horse on the top is a horse that is “hollow.” This means he is not really carrying himself effectively. This sort of frame is perfectly fine for him while he prances around the paddock, but for prolonged periods of riding, it’s going to wear him out and make his back sore. What’s happening is he’s not engaging his back muscles at all, making it more comfortable for him to stick his head and nose in the air like a giraffe. His hindquarters aren’t engaged either, so he’s pulling his 1000+ lbs. body around with his chest muscles. All his weight is on the forehand, his shoulders are dropped and unbalanced, and his strides are short and choppy. And, if we’re being honest here, it’s butt-ugly. Not good. N-O no.
What we want is for our horses to look like the horse on the bottom. Now, I want to be sure and acknowledge that different disciplines expect different frames from their horses, as they are for very different purposes. In western pleasure, we would see the neck much lower and the strides much shorter. In english pleasure, the hindquarters are even more engaged, allowing the front end and neck to come up much higher, freeing up the action that you see in the front legs of such horses. What I’ve drawn here is a generic version so you get the idea.
First and foremost: hindquarter engagement. Your horse can’t do shit with his body unless he’s moving forward. His shoulders should be balanced and lifted. Then we want him lifting his back through his ribcage, which supports your weight (the rider) much better and healthier for him. Along with this will come the lowering of his head and relaxation of the jaw and poll. When he’s moving properly, you’ll find his gait will become smoother and more fluid. 
All in all, round is good, hollow is bad. If you have specific questions about this stuff, feel free to meander over to our ask box, or talk to a qualified trainer. Just about anyone with a decent education in the horse world can tell you about how a horse should carry himself in order to be correct.
Thanks for reading this ungodly long post.
- JS :)

I’m reblogging this purely because it’s amazing and I want to be able to find it.

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