The Frame of Your Horse

The USDF Glossary of Judging Terms describes the frame as “the longer or shorter outline of the horse dictated by the relative degree of extension or collection. Incorrectly used to discuss the horses level of training as in ‘second-level frame’ or ‘fourth level frame’.”

It is very important to understand that the entire outline of the horse becomes longer in extentions. Students often misunderstand the difference between the working and lengthened strides. Always remind yourself to have a soft neck on your horse, testing yourself by allowing your arm muscles to relax and move your hands forward an inch to verify that you are not hanging on to your horses mouth.

The rider should also move her head from side to side to loosen up the spine and test your ability to remain stable in your seat while relaxing the spine. You should be able to do this in walk, trot and canter. It is amazing how much it will improve the stride of your horse when you relax your body.

Remember to always check in with your body to remove any tense areas because your horse responds to every movement your body makes.

One way to test the length of stride is to count the working stride between 2 letters, next count the exact same distance with an extention and you will find out if you are truly lengthening the stride or just riding faster. Remember, the tempo should remain the same and not quicken as you allow your horse to cover more ground.