How beautiful is the Horse’s neck?

One of the things I am forever saying at lectures, demos or the beginning of a riding lesson is - how beautiful is the horse's neck! In a well muscled, fit body, it's that part of their anatomy which immediately strikes you as being something quite special, unique, and magnificent, crowned as it is by the horse's mane.

As the daughter of an artist, I love looking at the old Master paintings of the horses of kings... Charles I on his charger in the National Gallery (London) comes to mind, and then the statues too... outside the Houses of Parliament, in the great squares of Brussels, Paris, Vienna, Lisbon and Madrid... and so on.  Here, we will see horses of the Baroque age - and always it's the head and neck which make such an impact.  For that reason, I cannot understand how and why some riders seem so keen to shorten the horse's neck in many riding schools, schooling rings or competition arenas. This is not always caused by over-bending because often we see the poll is still the highest point... but there is a constriction and it is quite clear that instead of flowing forward in a glorious, long, proud arch - everything appears fore-shortened.

I truly believe fashion generally comes full circle, and if enough people were to write to magazines and editors of horse publication suggesting that we really do rather like to see a beautiful neck... in our dressage and showjumping horses... it might help turn people's thinking around. Why should any horse be denied his beauty? Fortunately, we still see some pretty decent necks in the hunting pictures of Horse & Hound... but let's hear it for the other disciplines too. SL


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