We are blessed to live in a day and age where we can measure the effectiveness of riding through video, digital x-rays, and thermal imaging. The buzz on both sides of the aisle, (not talking politics) English and Western disciplines is horses can achieve at their sport more fully when “working over their back”. The very obvious plus side is horses maintain their longevity even after competing in said disciplines. The unfortunate downside is there is much confusion on what working over the back is and how to best get there with your trusty equine pal. Again thanks to modern technology, there are many resources right at your finger tips! The unfortunate downside is not know where to go for reliable information. The old proof in the pudding adage did not let me down in this category. I have learned and successfully applied “Art 2 Ride” methods of classical dressage to train my eye and finally understand what it means to “work over the back”!
The photo above is a mare I started under saddle two years ago. Through consistent application of long and low work outs you can visually determine she is working over her topline. The tail-tail markers are the neck which biggest muscle resides on top rather than underneath. Also, the mares hips are in more of a sitting position. To simplify the idea, I think of it as good posture verses poor posture. The closer humans stay to neutral spin the better we are at supporting out muscles and organs. The closer the horse is to “round” the better they are able to carry their rider.
Training your eye is one thing but how do you get there? My Friend it takes time, discipline, and lots of support. I’d be happy to help you there!