Getting behind the vertical – what it means and how to correct it

Joanna Fisher
Joanna Fisher

International Grand Prix dressage rider and trainer Joanna Fisher shares her thoughts on……how to correct your horse getting behind the vertical.

I recently gave a clinic and one of my pupils who rides a forward light and responsive cob had an issue with her coming a little curled up, or one could say over bent or behind the vertical.
However you wish to term it, it’s where the nose and mouth get behind the vertical.
Is this an issue I’m asked and how do I correct it?
Well, personally to me- this isn’t an issue, not to the point where I would have sleepless nights, but it is something I would actually expect to self correct.
One can always manually correct it and I will explain both corrections.
Manually – the rider needs to give a half halt up. This is a forward upward motion with the hand whilst trotting or cantering. This is done concurrently with a supportive leg aid.
It can be repeated as many times as necessary as it’s a soft quiet aid – encouraging the nose to move forward up and out.
If you wish to be patient and allow the horses natural balance to correct this issue- then you can wait years, for the head carriage to raise , nose to move out and consistency to occur- at the same time the hind leg will move further underneath and the more weight is taken behind the more forward the nose will become. Perhaps a little of each is the answer. Encouragement and patience- which is of course the secret to success!
Don’t forget the transitions – they are the hind leg motivator !!!


Joanna has written a collection of children’s books based on her horses over the years.

It has been published by award winning Candy Jar books and currently available in Waterstones and being read in schools. Click here to link to her website: She also has a dressage website which can be found at

For more advice from Joanna, why not visit her other blog posts here:


Do I need a dressage saddle to do dressage


How Can I make my Pony Stop Leaning on me?


Help My Dressage Circles are oval


What Age should I teach my horse flying changes?


How to turn a leg yield into a half pass


How can I teach my horse shoulder in?


How should I prepare for a dressage test?

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