The way that I look at horses is holistically, meaning I look at the whole horse, not just the areas that are injured, painful or dysfunctional.
And something that I have learnt and see regularly is that horses learn to compensate for issues in their body by avoiding/locking one area, so that the weight of the rider and forces of movement have to be absorbed elsewhere in the body.
I’ll give an example to explain what I mean.
A horse that has been ‘jarred up’ because he competed on hard ground. He isn’t lame, but he’s not quite right either. He’s sore all over, in particularly in his limbs. He starts to brace a bit in his back because he’s just not quite comfortable to do his ridden work. His back is now not working fully, but he’s still going out jumping etc and doing ‘ok’.
The progression from here is that the ‘force’ (weight of rider and forces of movement), now cannot be absorbed by the whole body, so as the back and core isn’t working, the LIMBS start taking over, and taking more force than they normally would.
And this can be the start of an injury. Too much force through the limbs.
Another example: your saddle doesn’t fit your horse very well, but you keep riding in it. Your horses learns to avoid using his back to a degree. Same as the above example, too much force ends up going through the limbs.
I have seen lots of horses in these sort of situations, where all of a sudden they develop really stiff and ‘clicky’ legs, but what’s actually going on is that the horse has been avoiding back pain.
So my point is this…I think we can avoid some injuries in the limbs by ensuring that our horses are working all the way through their bodies.
Horses that have good posture, and a strong core and flexible back can work in a much more ‘joined up’ way than a horse avoiding back pain for example.
You all know I’m an advocate of having your horses backs checked, obviously, it’s super important, but in between back checks you can be helping your horse by doing core engagement work with them on a daily basis!
’Engage your horses core’ is my new online course that will give you the knowledge and confidence to put this into practice with your horses!
I have broken the course down into 4 easy to follow modules, and have a private membership group where I can answer your questions etc.
For more information click through here: Training
As always, any questions please message me.