This weeks Blog is on the different parts of your horses movement that you can improve!
Whether they are heavy on the forehand, not working over the back, crooked in their limb patterns, these are all parts of the horses movement that we can positively influence, and actually the effects are far reaching in terms of both the movement AND the horses wellness.
Last week in my Blog and posts I talked about the thoracic sling, the sling of muscles that suspends the front section of the ribcage in between the scapula (shoulder blades), and how they can be inflexible due to the horse having 60% of their weight over the forehand.
This week I’m talking about it from the movement improvement perspective!
Based on the horses anatomy, if we want to exercise and develop our horses body and strength, lightening the forehand is a big important piece of the jigsaw. There is no ‘magic switch’ to get the horse off the forehand and carrying themselves…it’s long term correct core strengthening and corrective exercise.
First mobilising the thoracic sling from its potential stuck / inflexible positioning, and then slowly conditioning and strengthening the structures so that the horse can LIFT their forehand off the ground and carry the rider easily. We want both strength and flexibility.
If you have followed me for a while or you’re in my members group you will know that I love the stable based exercises for effectiveness…these small mobilising exercises, like the backwards weight shift and pelvic tilts, work under the radar with the horse so to speak, so it’s all about getting your technique right, and by doing so, you can make a huge difference to the thoracic slings functioning ability and therefore the horses forehand!
The 'carrot stretch' exercises which are core activation exercises are also super effective, PROVEN exercises that increase the size of the multifidus muscles that sit alongside the DSP's in the spinal column, stabilising the spine, and creating space in between the bones to prevent 'kissing spine'.
These exercises, although targetting the horses core, do actually improve the movement patterns too, by creating a more symmetrical and stronger body, improved posture and lifted core and back. Increased strength and comfort levels in the body allow better movement. These exercises are the ones I recommend for improving the horses ability to work over the back.
Crooked movement patterns are completely natural for the horse, but we do need to address them at source if we want the horse to be in exercise, to help prevent uneven wear and tear, compensation and ultimately injury in the body and/or limbs.
The most effective ways that I have found are to teach your horse in-hand work, so working on their symmetrical use of body and limbs in a non ridden capacity, teaching them how to use their body effectively and symmetrically, without the weight of the rider. Working your way up to lateral exercises from the ground over time, and using this type of work regularly within your horses regime is another of my top recommendations...I see huge improvements in horses strength, posture and movement when they are doing regular, correct in hand work!
***If you would like to learn more about all of this, and see / hear about some of my TOP EXERCISES that I use and teach, come and join in with my Free Training next week! I will be adding an exercise per day to the group and running a short live session each evening to discuss. Click here for more details and the sign up area: Posture & Movement Free Training Sept 2023
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