How To Engage Your Horse’s Back – corrected version

Master Horseman/Classical Dressage Trainer Will Faerber demonstrates how to encourage your horse to raise its back, engage its hind end and “get connected.” …

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50 Responses

  1. grace x
    | Reply

    This is one of my favorite video’s. I’ve watch it and shown it to horsey
    friends most be over 20 times in the last year.
    My only problem is. It still doesn’t explain how to get the horse to
    stretch into the contact. It explains how it feels and how it should look.
    But not how to get there.
    What do I do with my body and hands to encourage my horse to stretch down?
    How much contact should I have before and during the stretch. How do I show
    him what I want? Do I keep my hands active?

  2. Hmain xxx
    | Reply

    Guys, when he says it takes a year, he doesn’t mean you can’t get the horse
    “on the bit” in one year. You can. He means it will take one year for the
    horse to develop the muscles properly!

  3. Sorcha W
    | Reply

    Excellent advice! I’m riding a 7 year old twice a week and he stretches
    just fine at a walk and trot, but the moment he’s cantering his chin goes
    up and he avoids the bit… how can I stop this?

  4. Hmain xxx
    | Reply

    Damn… I finally understand! All this time I have been thinking about the
    head, and pulling it in with tones of different methods! Because if you ask
    someone how to get a horse on the bit, that’s what they say!
    I feel I finally understand the concept of “On the Bit” properly!!! More
    people need to watch this video!!!

  5. Cynthia Sharon
    | Reply

    The way you get the horse to stretch down into the bit is simple. You
    reward him for the smallest stretch by giving some on the rein. This means
    you move your hand away from your body and towards his head. If he keeps
    giving, then slowly release the rein through your finger tips. If he stops
    giving or raises his head up, then shorten the reins until you have a
    little pressure in his mouth and start over. The minute he gives (goes over
    the back and lowers his head) that is the minute you give him more reign. 

  6. Megan Anderson
    | Reply

    I was also told to always keep connection, if I was trying to get my horse
    to lower his head at the trot would I still keep light connection or give
    him some rein to see if he will stretch. I used to ride a small
    thoroughbred/welsh pony who would go wonderful ( very round and light) on a
    complete loose rein, but when staying to gain contact he would brace. 

  7. calamity cate crismani
    | Reply

    beginning dressage for me with Felisa Richards…so much to learn but my
    horse, TB mare, Raiderette is a natural…she is so very very intelligent
    and oh so sweet!

  8. Megan Anderson
    | Reply

    My horse is an ottb he was a race horse for 5 years. He doesn’t want to
    stretch his neck. He will give up his back sometimes but he’s not strong
    enough to keep it there. As a race horse he never did stretch the neck
    down. Idk what to do. He is so willing to collect but it’s a false
    collection because he won’t give up his back. Does anyone have insight from
    owning an ottb? 

  9. faultroy
    | Reply

    This is a very enlightened trainer, and everyone should listen to EXACTLY
    what he is talking about.

    I do have one disagreement: his comment about “Descente du Main.” His
    definition is incorrect. At least according to the Grand Dame of Classical
    Dressage, Sylvia Loch.

    The “Descente du Main” is according to De La Gueriniere : “..at that level
    of high collection at which the horse no longer seeks contact with the bit
    for guidance, STAYS in collection on a loose rein. ” In essence the idea
    was that he was so well schooled and so balanced, that he did not need the
    rider helping him anymore he could work completely on his own.–at least
    that is what Sylvia Loch says her incredible book: “The History of
    Dressage.” 

  10. Cody Mazerolle
    | Reply

    I was given an ex-show saddlebred gelding (who’s 7) and if you’ve seen how
    they are trained and showed, they carry their heads very high. It’s what
    makes them “flashy”. I was wondering if you had any advice on how to teach
    him to carry his head lower. I can get him to collect and put himself in a
    “frame” at the walk but as soon as I ask for the trot his head goes sky
    high and he fights me constantly and won’t bend at the pole. Instead he’ll
    toss his whole head and neck up and down till we walk. I’ve already had him
    cleared by the vet and farrier and he has no leg/back injuries and I’ve
    tried putting the nose nets on to discourage the tossing of his head but
    I’ve had no such luck. I really want to avoid using a martingale and draw
    reins on him. Any solid advice would be greatly appreciated.

  11. Ashleigh Harris
    | Reply

    Loved this video. I am attempting to engage my OTTBs back with a trainer,
    and videos like these really help – Particularly the hollow vs round
    pictures. 

  12. Becky Johnson
    | Reply
  13. Alyssa Taylor
    | Reply

    If you let your horse “find the bit” then pull him up wouldn’t he then be
    putting all his weight on the bit? therefore not he forehand? wouldn’t you
    then be teaching him to push against the bit instead of self carriage? 

  14. mbschan
    | Reply

    One of my favorite videos! I always go back to it as a reference to see if
    I am achieving the goals with my horse as a represented on the video.
    Thanks!

  15. Thewelsh arab
    | Reply

    Just wanted to ask. My horse wasn’t engaging her back, she was head high
    and she’d go faster if I slackened the reins. I’ve stopped riding her to
    correct this and started to lung her. Any tips on how to get her to engage
    her back end and fix this problem? She doesn’t really put her head down
    whilst she’s being lunged either

  16. claudiahorsevideos
    | Reply

    This was fairly helpful! The horse goes well at home, and it is ez to get
    the stretchy circles and work on a long rein. However, at shows (hunter)
    all bets are off. He is ottb, and becomes so nervous he hollows, head is
    thrown in the air and is wayyyyyy behind my leg. I do not use martingales
    or any devices. I have a better understanding of the mechanics of his
    reactions now. Thanks for the great video!

  17. Lauren Mitchell
    | Reply

    Lauren this is interesting 

  18. LaurenMichele Mcgarry
    | Reply

    Very nice. No devices or special bits or harsh hands can do this only
    encouragement to move and stretch and the riders body must be doing the
    same. I appreciate that it is pointed out that this will create a very
    buoyant feeling in the rider ( not the tense harsh seat riding you often
    see) but equally important it takes 1 or more years to develop this.

  19. melisa perschon
    | Reply
  20. Rebecca Bradley
    | Reply

    Awesome I shared with my riding students. They really needed to understand
    what this means.

  21. shirehorse91
    | Reply

    Really, really good advice. People need to understand that doing it
    incorrectly, like lifting weight incorrectly, will damage your horse’s
    back. Too many U’d backs in dressage.

  22. Sherry Tillotson
    | Reply

    This video is very well done! Saw it a couple months ago and I keep
    referring back to it. I pick something else up every time I see it! Really
    has helped me understand what my trainer has been helping me with! She
    teaches this way and now I see why it is taking so long for my horse to
    step under correctly. So I just need to continue with patience. Thank you
    for taking the time to put this video together!

  23. Caballos Finca Malpasillo
    | Reply
  24. Phoebe W
    | Reply

    Keep pressing 7 XD

  25. Carolina Neto
    | Reply

    Amazing video 😀 My teacher is french and he teaches that! Very nice
    explanation! Thanks for that lovely video

  26. horsechix
    | Reply

    Agree 100%! My old trainer always taught the “head down always and by any
    means necessary”, and its always a fight to get him to keep it down. This
    video made so much sense, i’m excited to find some exercises for tomorrow!

  27. ccoetzer
    | Reply

    Actually that’s what I understand as well and it makes me (as a novice)
    feel “oh what the hell, why bother then”!

  28. Ketan Patel
    | Reply

    nice

  29. Fruitygurl4ever
    | Reply

    Very nice video!

  30. TheMareXo
    | Reply

    learned a lot from watching this, works well! thank you 🙂

  31. mesatop5
    | Reply

    I have a TWH and would dearly love to see some videos addressing collection
    and gaited dressage — especially since conventional wisdom advocates a
    “heavy” seat to encourage the flatwalk and related gaits. That said, I do
    love all these vids — keep ’em coming!

  32. horselovur
    | Reply

    Whoa! This is so helpful and I was so excited when it showed American
    Canyon Training Center because I live about twenty minutes from there!!

  33. rebamac96
    | Reply

    I love this I really wish I had great instruction when riding.

  34. usmdressage
    | Reply

    I love this video!!! This is how I was taught by my father Otto Sameit who
    was a German riding intructor. I’m very sad he’s not with us anymore. I’m
    very glad that someone is teaching this way, thank you.

  35. MapleGirlNL
    | Reply

    what if i have a horse that, if i let her head come to the ground, she
    begin acting like a beginning horse and doesn’t listen to what i want to do?

  36. 1osalo
    | Reply

    Why then did NUNO’s horses never look like this ?

  37. 20trudel
    | Reply

    Very helpful, because it’s true you see people riding and all they want to
    do is get the horses head so arched that they’re behind the vertical, and
    you can still see how the horse is so tense. My horse lowers his head right
    down to the ground like I seen some of the horses do in this video. Which
    is good I guess because that means I’m getting somewhere with him, and
    allowing him to stretch out his neck. But the problem I have now is when I
    am cantering with him, his head is very low.

  38. 4x4Girl14
    | Reply

    This is such a great method! I have a 20 year old Arabian mare who was
    trained with martingales and draw reins since she was 3 or 4 (I bought her
    at 11) and a 5 year old half-Arab gelding I trained myself with just a
    3-piece loose ring snaffle. My mare has done well at shows but her neck is
    usually very tense when I ask for collection because she was rushed into
    training as a filly. I used this method on my gelding, and now when I
    shorten my reins he flexes at the poll and is relaxed!

  39. Kathy Sierra
    | Reply

    Excellent video, and so important. I have one issue: the “takes one year to
    develop the topline”. I cannot find evidence to support this in terms of
    biomechanics and horse physiology. If done correctly, it should not take
    anywhere NEAR that time, assuming the horse is reasonably healthy and ready
    to begin work, even if completely out of shape. Muscles, posture, cardio,
    tendons, ligaments, bones, muscle memory, I cannot find anything to
    describe why the topline would take a year to build. Advanc

  40. goldenfloria
    | Reply

    Hi, what is the purpose of lungeing with side reins? I have had several
    classical dressage instructors and I have learnt how to correctly lunge
    with just a lungeing cavesson and no other triangle reins or side reins.
    I’d be interested to your reply, please! I’m sure you had a great reason
    for using them!

  41. KLo12151
    | Reply

    This makes sooo much sense. My gelding is the classic “disconnected”
    example, due to a long back and a weak hind end. But I will definitely be
    using these techniques.. Thanks so much for posting!!

  42. jeffreyRAWKS12798
    | Reply

    you can try letting the horse realize that when there’s contact, it’s soft
    and light and pleasant. when he tries to fight it, it’s hard and
    unpleasant. this is just what helped my horse, maybe it might work for you!

  43. Janet Gerl
    | Reply

    Hi Kathryn I do understand the importance of stretching . . . I had just
    never heard anyone say it would take 2 years of riding everyday. I do not
    plan to ever compete with my horse, but I do the stretching exercises every
    time I ride and in ground work, knowing it is important. Just thought that
    personally, that statement was very discouraging. As in, all or nothing.
    Thanks for responding.

  44. Sydney F.
    | Reply

    My horse is 17.2 thoroughbred with a loooong neck and he does 3’6″ jumpers
    and for the life of me I can not get him to do this 🙁

  45. rebamac96
    | Reply

    amazing video

  46. tiffanyxx1000
    | Reply

    how do you get them to seek the bit, my horse lowers her head right down
    when we are on a trail but i think shes just smelling the ground haha

  47. Chevron704
    | Reply

    I’ve been learning this at the stables where I ride in Maryland for years,
    but wasn’t sure exactly how to teach it at the camps I work at (actually
    doing it and teaching it to kids are two very different things). This video
    helps me figure out how to teach it better to the kids and adults I work
    with, especially when we have the horses that behave better when you do
    this with them but have riding instructors who have never learned this
    stuff. Thanks!!!

  48. Shelby Liver
    | Reply

    I started feeling my horse stretching up unto me with his back when we
    changed his bit. 😀 It’s awesome now!

  49. fenwickefarm1
    | Reply

    Thank you Will! I have been teaching this method for over 20 years even to
    my Jumper riders. It strengthens a horse to do any discipline. As an old
    dressage trainer told me a looonnng time ago. “It takes 10 years to put
    their head on the floor and another 10 to pick it back up.”

  50. Elizabeth Peters
    | Reply

    Beautiful! My TB Gelding has no topline. I broke him when he turned 7, and
    he has no collection yet. very weak on the top and has a hard time driving
    the back legs up under himself and rounding the back.

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