Winter (in the UK anyway) is a difficult time with horses, but especially horses that have been diagnosed/treated for ‘Kissing Spine’. It’s crucial to continue your rehabilitation / strengthening work, but there are lots of factors in the way.
Tip 1: Work routine
One of the most crucial pieces of the jigsaw for a horse with ‘Kissing Spine’ is for them to be kept in regular exercise. And in particular during your initial rehabilitation.
You will undoubtedly have...
It’s that time of year again when horses seem to be ‘feeling their joints’, the weather (here in the UK anyway) is getting damp and cold, and this is when our horses can start to show more signs of joint pain.
I work with lots of ‘senior’ horses who have wear and tear based osteoarthritis, as well as younger horses with arthritic joints. The management of joint issues is the same - we need to look after and protect the degenerated/stiff joints, and in the winter...
Why should we be doing daily core strengthening work with our horses? Because we sit on the lowest, weakest part of their back, so this is the bit that needs to be strengthened for riding!
LET ME SHARE WITH YOU THE BENEFITS OF CORE ENGAGEMENT FOR YOUR HORSE!
Tip 1: Your horse will start working over his back
We have all heard this term, getting your horse to work over his back, and we probably know what that is or looks like, but WHY is it important and HOW do we do it? And what does...
I talking a lot about posture and core engagement for our horses as it's so important and beneficial, so going a step further, I wanted to talk about how core engagement affects different activities for our horses!
Each activity with our horses requires them to have different skills, whether we are doing dressage, jumping, cross country, endurance, groundwork.
But all of these activities or sports require good core strength for different reasons!
Through my time rehabilitating horses with injuries, one of the things I have noticed is that a lot of the horses have looked weak in their musculature, or uneven in the musculature, so I can start to see how the injuries may have happened.
Horses have not evolved for us to ride them, and they are actually a pretty poor design for riding!
They are big animals so I think it’s easy to think they are strong. However, size doesn’t alway mean strength. Are they actually strong enough...
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...
My experience in working with back pain in horses over the last 10 years has provided me with the opportunity to find out what actually works when it comes to training horses!
What I have learnt and developed is a system of core engagement exercises and ‘tools’ for you to use to transform your horses posture and get him working over his back properly.
The fundamentals that I teach in my training are:
Postural correction: if your horse is moving with a tight back and high head...
***Can you lead your horse around with his nose near the ground?
It's not as easy as you might think! Give it a try! If your horse can't or won't do this, he is resisting in his neck/core/back.
This is one of the fundamentals that I teach in my training - your horse needs to be able to 'let go' of his neck and back, it's really important.
They really are one of the BEST exercises that you can do with your horses! They are super effective at...
Written originally February 2020.
As the winter weather is upon us and the cold, damp conditions become the daily norm, we need to think quite carefully about how these adverse changes will affect our horses. Over the last few weeks I have seen a large number of horses with increased stiffness levels, in particular horses diagnosed with arthritis in their joints.
Although arthritis is a long term degenerative condition of the joint, fortunately there is a lot we can be do to help our...