Good movement

This is the visual confirmation of what I’ve been saying about the trot, balance, engagement and good movement. If you have questions look back through the improving movement articles, the bending article, the longlining articles and compare your perceptions to what you see here.

This lovely girl is Joan’s mare “Feather”.

If you look closely, you’ll see she’s handily lifting the base of her neck and her forehand, with her hindquarters well engaged in propulsion as well as lift.

You can clearly see the result of the proper use of the “circle” of propulsion muscles running from hock, over hindquarter and wither and ending in the base of the neck and back of the head. Though her face isn’t vertical, she’s clearly on the bit.

What you cannot see as clearly with this photo, Feather’s leading foreleg hasn’t quite settled to the ground yet, the result of the lifting and elevating of the forehand and the positive drive from behind.


This is Chocolate Chicky (owned by Keegan Wallace) during cones at the 2004 RamTap CDE.

Her left hand leg is just settling to the ground and her right front leg hasn’t yet begun to bear weight (knee is still slightly flexed).

She is lifting the base of her neck, is on the bit and is forward (overstepping front foot print).


This is a great picture to illustrate good movement.

Look where the right hind leg is.  If you’ve read the articles on movement and how to improve it, you know the inside leg provides the forehand lift through the bend.

This is Niki at her first Intermediate event.  Can you say forward?  This is warmup for dressage and I’m trying to turn a let’s GO hot mama into something that will chill just a bit in dressage.

We did get our best dressage scores ever at this event.  Muffy Seaton gave us a 44.


This is a really old pic from the 80’s.  The mare is BabyDoll, a 14.3 hand Morgan mare purchased years before as a trail horse for our son.

If you’ve read the article about the kicking strap, you know about BabyDoll.  When she came to us she had a sway back and was physically unable to put her hind foot forward far enough to get it into the front footprint.

This picture was taking during dressage at Remlinger Farm at the Carnation CDE and is an excellent testimonial on how diligence and attention to detail can solve many movement problems.


Donna Yanik driving Illiana (Oldenburg mare) in dressage.

Look where the right hind leg is setting down . . . up under the center of the mass.

Illiana’s stretched forward into the bit lengthening her topline, the perfect training level frame.


Illiana in prelim dressage at Shady Oaks CDE.

Look at the ADP. She’s lifting her forward and is nicely forward in working trot.

She isn’t on the bit.  We’re faking that part and not doing it very well.  The bottom side of her neck is a dead giveaway.  It’s tense.  Compare that to the picture below.  No contact and yet she’s a zillion times better than this pic.  Of course the next pic is a few years forward.


Illiana at RamTap competing in prelim.  The navigator is Donna’s daughter Nikki.

In the articles on improving movement was a bit about the legs acting like springs . . . the harder they push or support, the higher the non-supporting leg lifts in response.

This is an excellent example. Look at the compression in the hind leg fetlock currently doing the pushing.

Trotting forward (with impulsion) through shallow water is a good way to encourage engagement and build the muscles necessary to carry off engagement.


Here’s another picture of Illiana going through water.

You can see the water forces the forward moving limbs to lift clear of the water.