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[RC] Riding up steep hills - Cynthia Eyler

As has been discussed about the judging of riders in some kinds of CTR's, I was taught that I should get up and forward when my horse is climbing steep hills.  What I've finally learned, however, is that for this particular horse I needed to do just the opposite.
 
My gelding is a narrow, TBy-looking QH who has always been heavy on the forehand.  I was desperate to strengthen his hind end, and a friend suggested that I work him on very steep hills by sitting on his back and making sure that he didn't have his head down as we climbed.
 
The difference has been phenomenal.  He no longer pulls himself up hills with his forelegs.  His rear shoes now show twice as much wear as the fronts, and before it was just the opposite.  Yesterday my farrier told me that Jack is clearly more comfortable with having his rear legs held up for shoeing.
 
Question for folks more experienced than me (which means almost everyone on this list) -- as time goes on, can I begin to sometimes give him a break by getting up out of the saddle during steep climbs?  I'm thinking that I should continue to sit those climbs during most of our conditioning work but then make it easier for him during rides.  Comments?
 
Cindy
 
 

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