Zoe84

Short Necked Horses!

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I was extremely fortunate to be given a young unspoilt TB with decent conformation, excellent brain and nice movement. He is uphill and beautiful, I'm having so much fun with him. However, his neck is just that little bit too short. I find that he really 'locks' it, and becomes stiff & resistant when he's faced with something he finds a little difficult. I always have my horses going long & low before they are asked to come up, and try to make him stretch down a lot before and after a workout on the flat...as well as regular massages of the neck and especially the poll area. (He is also quite thick thru the throat latch)

Does anyone have any good exercises you can recommend for short necked horses, on and off the ground? I've had him for a year and a half but have been taking things slow.

Thanks to anyone who can help!

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when you say he has a thick throat latch do you mean his thoracic muscles are over developed? (under part of the neck). if so he's not tracking up either and you don't have his back either. first thing i'd is to check that your saddle is not interfering with scapula rotation, and the second thing i'd do is not fight the resistance, rather respect it until he decides to relax it when he notices there is no resistance on your part. this is advice I got from a biomechanics expert who corrects 100s of horses a year and it really worked. especially with a young horse you don't want to make this an "ordeal".

I've seen a lot of short necked horses who are supple and relaxed through the neck and topline and also my share of horses who aren't so short necked being resistant and locked up. it would be nice to see pics too!

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A picture tells a thousand words but Photobucket is not being my friend at the moment! I'll try later on the computer instead of my phone.

I'm portraying him a lot worse than he is. There's not as much resistance as you're probably thinking, his neck muscles aren't built up on the under side - where he joins throat to head is quite thick (from a conformation point of view) saddle and everything else A-OK (I'm a massage therapist & a real stickler for saddle fit)

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Is he bracing up into the bit? It might be a symptom of him not liking the bit you're using - it might be worth, esp. if you have access to a bit library, trying something different.

I'd recommend some of the basic carrot stretches, too.

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i agree that you are being our critical. He certainly does snot look to me like a horse that would have his athletic ability limited by the conformation of his neck

To me, he has a pretty clean throat latch, esp for a horse that has not had that area sweated.

Nope, I'd be looking for a training iussue

If anything, I see a horse some what long backed, which makes engagement more difficult. His topline is almost equal in length to his under line Hocks are also higher off the ground than I like

I don't know what long and low means to you, but to me it means getting that movement from behind first, before worrying about things like head set ans collection

So, what I see that limits that, is not his neck, but rather a hind end that is weaker than ideal, hocks off the ground and a long back. This will make drive more difficult, but he is not that far out that you can't build some strength that will increase impulsion. Once you have impulsion , lift, ect, the neck takes care of itself

I think that he has a nice neck and decent throat latch

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Thanks Smilie

The vet said he has very nice conformation but if he could take 4" off his back & add it to his neck it would be ideal!

Like I said, there's no actual issue, every time I ride him he gets better and better, but having feet trouble at the moment otherwise I would ride him a lot more.

Thanks Shameless, I have a bit I was going to try on him which has worked well with 'fiddly' horses in the past, he might like that better.

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Those pictures also show me something else you need to take into account. The dips behind and in front of the withers tell it quite clearly - this horse is out of shape and has an underdeveloped topline. He's probably getting better every time you ride him because he's getting *fitter*. An unfit horse will also often brace up against the bit, because he doesn't have the core strength to quite balance himself right.

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Thank you Shameless :) he's not in work as often as he should be! Ideally I would like to be riding him 4-5 times a week but at the moment with his feet I'm lucky to get that in a month. Unfortunately I will probably have to get shoes on him otherwise I'll never be able to ride him as regularl as I would like. Thanks for your input :)

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Of course, level of fittness, conditioning helps any horse move in frame, but the major factor this horse has to over come, that conditioning won't change, is his long back and not his neck.

Horses can , with training and ability, limit the effect that long back has, but collection is never as easy for them, as for a horse with a short back

In fact, Smilie has a slightly long back, and that has never limited her ability at the regional breed level, though I expect it would at the World level

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I'm with Smilie, his neck and throat latch aren't a problem.

You can do some "Finger lifts" when grooming him that will help develop the muscles in his back and soften his head and neck at the same time. https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play;_ylt=A86.J7vUFf1Ub28AB4MnnIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTB0aWRtNmFyBHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2dxMQR2dGlkA1lIUzAwMV8x?p=tellington+jones+belly+lifts&tnr=21&vid=9BDB732CF1751C6A3B7F9BDB732CF1751C6A3B7F&l=94&turl=http%3A%2F%2Fts3.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DUN.608030123926947770%26pid%3D15.1&sigi=11r624lms&rurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DBHs4R47gdsw&sigr=11bam5kj4&tt=b&***=Ttouch+clinic-+leg+and+belly+lift&sigt=11193nc92&back=https%3A%2F%2Fsearch.yahoo.com%2Fyhs%2Fsearch%3Fp%3Dtellington%2Bjones%2Bbelly%2Blifts%26ei%3DUTF-8%26hsimp%3Dyhs-001%26hspart%3Dmozilla&sigb=138e1c5u6&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-001

I've noticed that there seems to be a trend where very long necks with thin throat latches seem to be "in". To the point that some horses have compromised the depth of their larynx and have breathing problems. Especially in Arabian and Saddlebred horses. My old riding instructor would have called them "Tied in at the neck".

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