Postural improvement work with horses is one of my specific areas of focus, especially as I have a lot of experience with horses going through 'kissing spine', which is often a postural issue.
I like to share my knowledge around posture, and how to assess your own horse, so that you can keep an eye on your horses posture and notice when things maybe need improving. Making changes before your horse starts struggling is always the best option...or even better, is to have your horse in such a good, solid, corrective exercise plan, that your horse maintains good posture all year round!
Back to this weeks blog, WHY should we be looking at our horses posture, assessing it and improving it? It's down to anatomy really.
There are some fundamental 'issues' in the horses body, that actually are natural for the horse, but that become an issue for the horse within the type of exercise that the modern day horse is involved in.
The horse has naturally close DSP's (the upwards projecting bones that form the topline of the horse), and in the middle section of the back, the bones are closest to each other, actually pointing inwards towards each other, AND the middle section of the back is where kissing spine is most commonly found.
So in my view, our horses can suffer with kissing spine (the DSP's coming closer together and actually touching, rubbing, or overlapping) relatively easily, I don't believe it takes much for it to occur, based on their anatomy alone.
When we add in ill fitting saddles, lack of conditioning for the horse, incorrect work, too much work on artificial surfaces, too much too soon in the horses development (starting them too early into ridden work), lack of movement for the horse, the horse being overweight, all of these are factors that affect the horses potential back strength, and it will be visible in the horses posture.
So back to the initial question...WHY improve your horses posture?
If we add core strengthening work into our horses routine, we ensure that the abdominal and waist muscles are strong, and that they can push the back up, which opens and lengthens the spine, and creates space in between the DSP's. The multifidus muscles are strengthened and increased in size, and these are the small postural muscles that sit alongside the DSP's, once they are conditioned, we create a strong spinal column and good posture!
TOP TIP: by adding specific core activation (carrot stretch) exercises into your routine with your horse, you can be sure that you are developing the important multifidus muscles, which creates space in between the DSP's, which lengthens the horses spine, and enables good posture...so it's like a chain of events!
Consistent and varied work on your horses core strength is a massive step to creating long term good posture and decreasing the risk of back pain and kissing spine.
I hope all of this makes sense, it's an important part of the horses anatomy that we need to get our heads around, especially for the ridden horse.
***If you are interested in learning more, do come and join my Free Training 25-29th Sept, where I will be sharing my TOP EXERCISES to improve your horses posture and movement, in a video each day plus a short live session each evening! This is a BRAND NEW Training, I have never run it this way before, so I hope you will come and join in! CLICK FOR MORE DETAILS: Free Training Sept
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