“If horse has upright shoulder, it’ll be hard to lengthen his stride” Biomechanics

By , December 24, 2013 12:20 pm

The focus of this clinic was understanding physically what each horse was capable of, based on how they were put together, and then not pushing them too hard in order to keep them physically sound for use in a commerical environment long term (riding school, etc). The speaker was FBHS, very good presenter and organised REALLY well, lovely sambos etc.

Depends on a few things, including shoeing, ground type, conformation, rider position & balance, muscle development, soreness, etc. So based on these things, what is fair to as a horse to do, so not to decrease life expectancy.

See what a horse does when he stands still. Don’t ask him to stand in a certain position, have him on a loose rein. See how he naturally stands himself. Does he stand square? Does he not? Can you figure out why? One horse stood like he wanted to go to the loo. So potential sore back there maybe. He was putting weight on the heels of his feet. See then does horse change his halt position, or does he stay like that.

The mare we had stood square by herself and didn’t move.

In terms of conformation, if horse has upright shoulder, it’ll be hard to lengthen its stride.

Stand behind your horse. Does everything look equal? In both horses there was a slight difference in the rumps. In the gelding, hocks were not the same, one turned slightly out.

Put horses on our the lunge. Do they over or under track? What is their walk like? Short or long stride? Then trot. If they had a good walk, do they have a good trot? Short or long strides? Does rhythm change if horse puts his head down?

If muscles on the horses left side are weaker, going in canter on the right rein (leading with left hind) could be more difficult.

The mare had a nice trot, good rhythm, canter was bad, hind leg not coming forward, like a run, not a canter. 18 months previously had operation on it (we didn’t know). Lunging was the only solution suggested, so I stuck up my hand and also proposed lateral work and soft backups, tho in this case you’d want to bear in mind op and run things past a more vet type person for rehab. Presenter agreed, shoulder in, leg yields working that hind leg would be useful.

Lunging & sidereins was suggested for most things actually as a solution, but I just ignored those bits 😮 eg – bad / school type riders on nice horses, will muck them up a bit so do a few lunge lessons to put horse back together. Hmmm. I’d just say put up a good rider for a little while who’ll use both their hands and heads as needed based on how the horse is going. I should have asked about biomechanical impacts of lunging but didn’t think of it. physically its a lot harder than ridden work (scientific links else on this site).

Very interesting to see the ridden work then though. Walks not quite as free and good as when on lunge (no rider).

Also – in dressage judging its not fair to make a flashy warmblood who does the same flashy trot for 2 supposed different types of trot higher, than a stocky cob who doesn’t have any flashy mvt but who does have a difference between working & extended gaits.

She asked for slow trot at one point, all horse did what I’d call normal trot, no one did ‘jog’ type thing, or a proper slow trot (i.e. trot which looks slow!). I guess there’s slow and slow.

Then asked all riders to ride standing straight up, give horses more head room. Immediately horse gaits got longer and scopier and freeer, as riders thighs not constricting horses backs.

Also interesting – muscle memory. Its not good to drive around in your car with right arm resting on window still. You might end up riding like that as well. 😛

Comment: If you have to fix a horse problem, we’ve caused it. 😎

Another nice comment: Don’t have expectations beyond your horse’s ability.

Also very interesting to watch how a big scopey horse who covers ground with one rider, with another rider was really tight and didn’t cover half as much ground and looks uptight. 2nd had more of a contact and tended to lean forward when in saddle. Some horses look TOTALLY DIFFERENT with different riders on them, riders had HUGE impact on how they went.

Good interesting day, fab riders and horses really interesting just to watch and analyse how stuff changes and why. Would recommend to others as interesting to watch at if another day is coming up.

Nice to meet a few old friends there too!

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