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Topline imbalance

If a rider does not correct all the dimensions of natural asymmetry and imbalance, this usually results in a bad posture and an incorrect use of abdominal muscles and back muscles.

It causes an imbalance in the muscles in the topline and underline of the horse.

short-topline long-topline

.............  Imbalanced topline ...................................  Balanced top line

Natural asymmetry can create imbalance during riding. The horse then wants to use its head and neck to balance itself. This makes the horse lift its head up. This can only be done when the horse tenses its long back muscle (the 'longissimus dorsi'). This muscle is located on both sides of the spine and when tensed it becomes short, stiff and hard. Also the underneck muscles start to stiffen.

Natural asymmetry Natural asymmetry

Symptoms and problems

A hard and stiff back and short topline, can cause many problems:

  • Hard mouth
  • Underneck
  • Head shaking
  • Grinding its teeth
  • Not wanting to stretch forward-down with the neck
  • Not comfortable to sit to in trot
  • Lateral gaits
  • Prancing
  • Slow, not forward
  • Short steps
  • No tact
  • Bridle lame
  • Irregular gaits
  • Striking, bucking, rearing
  • Tension in the back causes mental tension and nervousness
  • Bad coat because the blood flow through the tensed back muscles is reduced
  • Kissing spines, because of the short topline, the spines can start to 'kiss' each other.

horse-spine kissing-spines

What about your horse?

  • Are the muscles in his underneck strongly developed?
  • Is it very difficult to ride him 'on the bit'?
  • Is it difficult to 'sit' him in trot?
  • So you can only do the 'rising' trot because he makes you jump up and down in the saddle when you try to keep 'sitting'?
  • Or is it very easy to sit in trot?
  • Almost too easy, that you can't feel him moving?
  • That you don't feel anything at all? In that case they speak in Germany of a 'Schenkel Gänger', which means the horse is only moving the legs, but not using the back muscles. These horses are comfortable to sit in trot, but they don't use the back properly either.

Don't fight the symptoms

Sometimes draw reins are used with horses with a stiff back and stiff mouth, to make the horse lower its head and become soft and round. Or a sharper bit is chosen. But all tools that are used to tie the horse in a certain position and force it to hold its head in a certain way are, without exception, more harmful than helpful.

It usually creates new problems such as resisting the rider, protest, positioning the head behind the vertical, leaning on the riders’ hand, developing an underneck or lameness.


Also, the saliva glands are squeezed between the lower jaw and the tensed under neck muscles. This can lead to infections and can inhibit the production of saliva. These additional reins ruin the horse’s mouth, because the communication through the bit can only be done with the soft, feeling, living hand of a rider.

So don't fight the symptoms, rather solve the problem. In most cases the natural asymmetry is the problem and Straightness Training is the solution. The trainer/rider should be able to recognize the symptoms and train the horse in such a way that it can stretch the top line and use its abdominal muscles properly.

The Mini Mastery Course can help you to get started!

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If you want to learn more about how to start Straightness Training, then join my free 4 part Mini Mastery Course!

This is what you’ll discover:

  • How to avoid the pitfalls that I’ve fallen into, and almost every rider falls into, and which make riding your horse ten times harder!
  • How the dimensions of natural asymmetry can crush your riding goals, and how to turn things around in a simple way!
  • How to eliminate unnecessary stress, frustration, and disappointment, and fast-track your progression!
  • Six simple keys to make horse training and riding easy, no matter what discipline you’re in, and no matter what breed or age!

This mini course really is worth watching - not only useful insights and tips, but also seeing the learning stages that both a less experienced and more experienced horse had to go through to achieve the desired results.

All 4 video clips are accompanied by easy to understand theory and explanations, which makes it easy to follow and the processes even more clear!

Plus,  the downloadable manuals are very informative, useful and helpful!

So don't miss out on it and join the course, it's 100% free:

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