[QUOTE=alto;7198088]She’s lovely & she’s got nice butt muscles :lol:
definitely atrophied (maybe too strong a word but maybe not) through the topline or she may just have a “natural” swayback regardless of history.
Do you have a dressage coach/trainer to work with? though really any trainer that understands horse physiology/locomotion will be able to help you with targeted exercises that will really help more than internet/videos/books.
If you find a good equine body worker, there are lots of stretches that will help her - again they will be targeted to her specifically so it’s worth the investment in someone hands-on.
You can definitely do the carrot stretches & tummy touches (she will lift her back when you get the right spot - though some horses will lift at any touch) BUT remember to only start with a few rep’s on each side as she will be using new muscles (you can increase the number daily though, just also palpate to track any soreness).
As she was in a hunter program for a year before having the summer off, don’t worry too much about starting s.l.o.w
She should be fine for WTC, transitions, poles etc - just all in moderation; e.g., just ride 20 - 30 min/day the first week.
You can also hand walk her to warm up/cool down, take her on an outing down the road etc in addition to riding.
If you’re able to go to the barn morning & evening, you could also lunge her
10 min /day - at the walk - to build topline ie she needs to be forward & lifting her back … again this depends on both her & you being knowledgeable on the lunge.
Be very careful with your saddle fit - definitely shim, then reduce the degree of shim as she develops (the Mattes pad recommended by Kitt works well for this at they offer 2 depths of shims - Thinline does as well (I believe, at least they did in the past)).
Some horses build topline very easily, others much less so - even when on a supportive program, so be patient (if she’s never had good topline, it will be much slower to develop those muscles).[/QUOTE]
Thanks for all the great advice everyone! I do have a dressage trainer I’m working with. We are number one on her board waiting list. I’m hoping once I get her moved to get her a solid 30 days with my trainer, who is obviously much more experienced than I am. I’m being very careful with her back and have ordered a Mattes correction pad (should be here Tuesday, super excited!). I will try the stretches and add some lunging to our work out. Because of class I can unfortunately only see her once a day, 5 days a week.