How to take out the vetro flex?

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How to take out the vetro flex?

Post by Zahraphina on Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:54 am

Help!
My 12 year old mare carries herself ventroflex and it's bone jarring to say the least. When riding uphills she is smooth as glass but on level terrain she travels up & down. I've been riding her in a rope hackamore or rope halter as she responds very willingly in them. In a snaffle bridle she fights any pressure. I've owned her for three years and it's time to get her smoothed out, not sure what to do to help her.

Her previous owners were very heavyweight and I suspected saddle issues ( making her head pop up ) so I ride her in treeless saddles. I did have a specialized saddle that I used her her at first but it made no difference in her carriage.

Needless to say we don't do any kind of fast riding......... and seldom gait because of the roughness.
What can I do to bring her head down and build up her back line? A friend suggested side reins and surcingle on long lines. Not sure if this is what I should do?
At this time I can't afford to take her to a gaited trainer as I'm laid off. I look forward to ideas and suggestions. One of the things I'd like to understand is WHY does she carry herself ventroflexed?
Thanks,
Laurie

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Re: How to take out the vetro flex?

Post by Chelsie Kallestad on Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:46 am

Hello,
Thanks for the question. I am sorry it has taken all of us so long to respond to you about this. I hope my answer helps you and your horse a little. I also ride in Natural Hackamores and treeless saddles so I think that is great that you do also.
What you need to do is teach your horse to relax his neck and back in the walk and then gaiting. You need to teach your horse Vertical Flexion. Vertical flexion is not collection but vertical flexion will help produce collection.

Vertical Flexion is where the horse carries his head vertical to the ground. Horses carry themselves with their nose out forward and then when a rider gets on there back they hollow their back and tip their nose out even more. So we have to kind of teach our horses how to carry a rider on their backs by putting them in the proper position. No one has taught her this and that is probably why you are having this problem.

To ask for Vertical Flexion you are going to be working with the axis and atlas in your horses spine. The atlas is first and it moves up and down, the axis is next and it moves side to side. Vertical flexion is the result of the altas dropping. The atlas can not drop unless the axis is soft laterally. If the axis is soft laterally the atlas drops on its own.

So what you are going to do is pick up your reins and have a soft but steady feel to your horses head. Now take one of the reins and open and close your pinky, ring finger and middle finger, over and over again in a fast rhythm, but keep your index and thumb holding the rein. What you are doing is kind of milking the rein with your last three fingers. This is called your massaging rein. You are massaging the axis to get it soft laterally so the atlas can drop. Your other rein is your supporting rein, it holds steady contact so that the neck does not bend around. Once your horse drops his head or tucks his nose you open both hands and let your reins go loose. This is his reward for doing what you wanted, your release. Do this over and over again until your horse is giving you vertical right when you pick up your reins and start asking. Then do the same thing at a walk. Once he is getting it at a walk ask him to hold the vertical for a few steps and then for a few more by not releasing your rein right away. Then go up in to your gait. When your horse puts his head up and then hollows her back, ask for the vertical and she will drop the head and loosen her neck and back muscles.

I hope this helps,
Thanks,
Chelsie Kallestad
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Re: How to take out the vetro flex?

Post by Admin on Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:32 pm

Awesome, Chelsie! I was just wondering to some friends how to do this exercise! I have a young horse- 3 years old and it's time he learns to carry me correctly. Thanks for this great visual!
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Re: How to take out the vetro flex?

Post by Chelsie Kallestad on Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:13 am

Your welcome.
Thank you!
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