Equine Posture & Movement Improvement is one of the specific areas that I work in with horses, which I do through exercise rehabilitation, particularly core and body strengthening and symmetry training in hand - I love the transformations that I see in horses and horse/rider partnerships, when the horses postural and crookedness patterns are addressed at source!
So here are some of my Tips, ahead of next weeks Free Training Week (details below!).
First step back and assess your horse if you are struggling with something. Tie your horse up, square them up and take some photos. Have a good look at their body, you might actually see a lack of topline, or weak hindquarters, or a weak neck with over developed muscles under the neck instead of along the topline. Compare the photos to other horses maybe? You might be able to identify some issues just by doing this step.
Think about the issues that you experience with your horse...don't just carry on in exercise if your horse is continually stiff on one rein, hollow in their back/posture, showing signs of finding it all difficult...you will need to change your approach to address the issues, they don't go away on their own or with standard exercise, and don't just carry on doing the same thing. Listen to your horse and try and work out what is working and what isn't, then you have a place to start and something to measure as you progress.
Some of the common movement issues you might be encountering: horse heavy on forehand, heavy in the contact, horse moving crooked, hollow posture, stiff in body, bracing in back. If your horse is showing up any of these patterns, it's common, but needs addressing for the longevity of your horse.
Training: the parts of training that I look at mostly commonly are around developing a new 'default' posture through core strengthening, developing long and low posture for parts of your exercise programme, developing symmetrical use of body and limbs through core work and ongoing flexibility training, and training the horse ultimately to be able to lift their core and carry themselves and the rider with ease!
The whole postural and movement improvement section of my work is so rewarding to work in. Once a horse has received some alterations to their training plan, their body can become biomechanically functional, the strain can be relieved from their limbs, the crookedness pattern can be improved, and all of this helps to achieve longevity for the horse by decreasing the risk of injury by uneven forces on the joints and soft tissue structures.
If you would like to hear my talks on these topics next week and get into more detail on how we can all improve our horses, my 'Equine Posture & Movement Improvement' Talks are each evening at 7pm for 30 minutes (if you're not in the same time zone you can watch the talks back).
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