Discussion # 72: Let's discuss this quote!
"Every horse has only one appropriate head and neck position for riding with respect to his conformation into which he has to be brought and in which he has to be worked. In other words, it can never be arbitrary. It is determined by the poll, whose position is limited to a very small space, if not merely a point, in terms of its height. The rider has to search for it. He has found it by keeping the neck in the same place, or by raising or lowering it, when he feels that the reins affect the entire horse, including the back and hindquarters, through the poll and the steady neck. This point in terms of the poll height has not been found yet as long as the horse yields to the reins only or even partially in the neck and evades with his neck." ~ Adolph Kästner
Interesting quote... I personally don't believe that there is only one position for each horse, but rather that there might be one best position for each situation. For example, if a horse is tight in the back at that moment, a lower neck (still reaching correctly forward into the bit, ie a proper stretch) would be most beneficial. And the horse that is trying to be too low and heavy on the forehand should be encouraged to carry himself a bit higher by doing exercises that lower the quarters.
I also believe that for true gymnastic value, the horse should be worked in a number of different frames within each ride. Typically starting off with a longer, lower frame, building up to a higher, more collected way of moving, with periods of working lower to give the horse a break, and re-establish any lost suppleness and relaxation. And of course finishing each ride with some good stretching so that the horse finishes each ride with a loose, relaxed body, and a happy mind. What are your thoughts on this? (Click on Discussion Title above (in blue) to read this educational discussion)