Why does it matter if my horse is Round?

Are you someone who struggles to get your horse round? Is your horses stiff and tense? Does your trainer tell you that your horse needs to get rounder?

In this video we take you through:

  • What is roundness
  • Why your horse should be round and
  • How you can tell if your horse is round or not

To put it in very simple terms, one of the most basic reasons we want our horses to be round is because it makes them more rideable and safe.

When your horse is above the bit they are:

  • Externalized, looking around not paying attention to the rider
  • Tense and distracted
  • Difficult to stop and turn

In the video, you can see the “drive view” of when the horse becomes round. When this happens everything becomes smoother, mentally and physically. So in short, roundness leads to rideability and safety.

The next factor to consider as a positive benefit of roundness is your horse’s topline structure and their overall health.

When your horse is inverted, they’re using their under-neck muscles and their backs are hollow with their vertebrae pushing closer together (not good!) . This can cause them problems because if they develop like this, they are unequipped to carry us as riders. They need to develop the muscles to lift up their back, use their core muscles and engage their hind end in order to be able to safely carry their riders without excessive labour and hardship.

In the process of getting your horse round, the first step is teaching your horse to move forward and for their neck to drop. The neck acts like a lever. It’s connected to the long back muscles and when they drop their neck, the back muscles come up, creating a better place for a rider to sit.

When the horse is round and working over the back, you’re connected to their body and their brain making communication so much easier and more comfortable for the horse and you.

Roundness also affects rider position. When the horse is above the bit, it becomes much more difficult to have an independent seat and ride predominantly with the seat and the legs. You become preoccupied with your hands which is what we’re trying to avoid.

So how do you tell if your horse is round? Optically from the side, we’re looking for a few things.

  • Flexion at the poll
  • Contact with the mouth
  • Head on the vertical

Things to look for when you’re mounted.

  • You want more space between your head and their head.
  • You want to see an arch come upwards on his neck.
  • If you look down, you want to see the base of his neck get a little fatter because they’re using their neck and back correctly.

I hope you find these pointers helpful.

Thanks for watching and happy riding!


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