Can you make him rounder?

“Can you make him rounder?”  This is something that is often heard from dressage coaches. The roundness referred to is the horses neck; indicating that the horse has accepted a contact with the bit and that the energy created in the hind end of the horse comes through the body and then is channeled to the front of the horse.  So it’s all about a lot of roundness or parts of the horse  being “rounded”.

This quest for ‘making him rounder’ can often result in something very undesirable; the rider pulls the horse’s head and neck into a rounder position and stifles any energy that may have been created coming from the  horse’s engine which is the hind end. The  horse will then get tight and stiff in the back, and the whole thing is a mess and not at all what is desired.

Roundness is something that is only required in dressage. Hunters, jumpers, race horses are never required to be “round”. In those disciplines the horse does not need so much collection.  Collection is the term used for the horse taking more weight on his  hind end, coming up in his shoulders, accepting contact with the bit, and rounding the neck. Here is a photo of one of the Cavalry Blacks and  you can see his neck is not round. There is no need for this horse to be round or to be collected in a parade situation.

IMG_0369Here is a photo of a horse that is displaying all the correct qualities of roundness.  His neck is round with  the underside of the neck  a nice U shape not a tight V shape. You can also see how he is bringing his hind legs under him and how his hind  end is rounded.  His head has not been pulled in and is at the vertical not pulled  behind it.  The rider’s contact is light and not pulling and  the energy created is freely moving forward.  This is “rounded” at it’s best in a Grand Prix dressage horse.”

DSC_6340

This is my response to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge. To see other responses click here:

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/rounded/

 

Photo of Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu on her Grand Prix horse All In by Karie Alderman.

 

15 Comments Add yours

  1. I have an OTTB that my chiropractor said would one day develop neck arthritis. He loves being ridden long and low, but I also need to pick him up for circles, counter canter, etc. I love how he looks round, but I am still trying to figure out a balance so I’m allowing him to travel more naturally for who he is. I’ve been told he’d probably be a better dressage horse than low jumping (that we’ve been doing). Decisions, decisions!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Some horses are built for the upper level dressage and some are not but most horses can be comfortable with the frames required in the lower levels and it can be good for their necks if correctly ridden. Best of luck with your OTTB. I like TBs and used to have one many years ago.

      Like

  2. sandyjwhite says:

    The images are great examples of what it means for a horse to be rounder.
    An interesting read, Anne!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      thank you! I’m happy to know that the illustrations were helpful.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ingrid says:

    Defiantly something you hear often, great read !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes it is a dressage mantra! Thanks for your comment.

      Like

  4. I’ve learnt something new today! Thank you. 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      You’re welcome. I’ve learned a lot about MS from you! So if I can pass on some horse knowledge I’m happy!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for sharing those worth information ma’am.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      You are welcome. Thank you for commenting.

      Like

  6. leapingtoes says:

    This is so educational! Thanks for the information. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      You’re welcome! Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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