This is an eighteen year old mare who was receiving injections in the hock and stifle. She has had many different training methods in her past including jumping, barrel racing, natural horsemanship, dressage, and trail riding. She had developed a huge muscle under her neck from resistance to bit and had become absolutely lame in the right hind. Her behavior was becoming dangerous as she was unwilling to go forward, and would bolt sideways even if there was an embankment to slide down. The theory of getting her nose down to build her topline was not working. In fact, it seemed to be making not only the muscle worse but her behavior as well. If I had not had the opportunity to become educated with biomechanics of the horse, I would have continued this mare’s training with ” nose down. ” I was beginning to believe she was a hopeless case and perhaps should be retired. The mare had previously been rushed forward with nose forced down, in hopes of creating bigger movement for Dressage. This created abnormal limb kinematics, to the point of not knowing how her own leg movement functioned. It also created an inverted rotation of her spine. It was impossible for her to bend right, this caused her to contract and stiffen her back to protect her vertebral column. Her mind and body had to become ” shut down ” as a defense mechanism protecting her from the pain any movement under a rider might cause. This constant abnormal movement is going to have an effect on the hocks and stifles. Re education of the vertebral column using therapy with motion has corrected her both physically and mentally. This means slowing to horses natural cadence, collecting the mare during very sophisticated movements. This helps to develop correct muscles and physique by preparing horses mind and body for the demand of the work. Remember that horses need the help of a correct rider. This is not an easy fix for horse or trainer, These are muscles that need to be re programmed to help the horse achieve correct balance as well as lightness under the weight of a rider. When horse and rider are in perfect balance spine to spine..this is where the dance of unity begins
” Why has elegance found so little following “-Edsger Dijkstra
Here are some before and after pictures of recreating her physique. She no longer receives injections or any pain medicine. She has a great time on trail rides, but still needs the reminders of balanced movement with schooling sessions.