As I make my daily journey with horses learning and helping them more every day, I try to share my experience with you all. Over the years there are several facts that clearly need to have more light shed on them. The following areas are where I see many well meaning mistakes made in which ultimately horses pay a tough penalty. The Long term effects of incorrect management in any of these areas can literally be crippling to our horses. I am out there trying to save people and their horses from the grief of finding out after the fact that the program their horses are on may be causing long term and in some cases irreversible damage. I help people learn about Feeding horses optimally(to the individual), Holistic horse keeping, Proper hoof care and Trimming/Shoeing (if you shoe), Correct Training to the individual Posture/Breed/Movement/Age of the horse and most importantly Horse Listening. Horses are constantly communicating their needs physically, mentally and emotionally. I have learned in my job to listen to my horses physiological, Emotional, and Physical communication.

What is his body telling me? Horses bodies and minds tell me a story when you know what to look for. Just like people, horses have ways of holding themselves for emotional, physical and mental reasons. Horses feet tell me how they are moving bio-mechanically, their diet, terrain, and health issues internally they may be struggling with. I have to “look under the hood” (sorry for the car analogy) with the help of my Chinese Medical vet because I have seen so many so called shiny, healthy looking horses that were really not well internally. Including horses with massive internal tumors. Young and old. age makes no difference. I will be tackling these topics the future.

This week’s blog is about looking at posture and movement in horses. When we evaluate Posture and movement in horses, there are so many variables involved. Conformation which breaks into two categories in my experience. One is what a horse was born with and the other is what builds up over time with correct or incorrect training or movement. (variables are injuries that caused compensation asymmetry and riders or training that was (asymmetrical). Other variables include temperament and compensation muscle built by incorrect training and or riding over time. Some may ask how does temperament affect posture and movement? Well as the owner of a Fire horse and people who have Water types or more high strung breeds and temperaments, these types tend to hold much tension in their bodies due to physical or mental anxiety that is intrinsic to their nature. Just like a high strung person will hold much tension in their body during normal everyday action. Wood horse types often have a lot of mental and physical resistance to activities which over time could create posture and muscular changes.

One of the things I always say is I am not here to criticize a horses way of going, conformation or pick on them. I am merely here to look at where I can help a horse that is struggling with a weakness, or conformation that may need strengthening or Suppleness to stay comfortable, sound, and well no matter what their person is doing with them. Horses don’t intentionally move incorrectly or without energy in fact quite a lot of “Low energy” Horses are suffering from “Deficient Chi” in Chinese Medicine but that is a topic for another time.

So I have a video and a challenge for you all to watch these horses in this video and analyze what you see. don’t be shy! Write your comments down.  There are 4 horses shown going left and right at various gaits. I will be sharing my thoughts on the horses in an upcoming blog. Happy Horsing!

Movement and Posture

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8 Comments

  • Avatar
    Lyndsey Lewis
    Reply

    Thanks for taking the time and energy to share this! I have watched through and will watch through again before commenting at length. But just quickly, the first two horses looked very solid – sound, freely moving, confidently placing front feet out front and nice overreach with supple movement. The third horse a tad stiffer and weaker, little more asymmetrical and weaker in the sacrum…?? The third horse shorter strided (I see boots so I wonder about foot soreness) and no over reach. Stiffer through the body in general. So looking forward to your comments on what you see! I wish more people would do this – it’s an education sadly lacking in the horse world. Thanks again. Oh and YOUR posture is great!! 🙂

    • FarahD
      FarahD
      Reply

      Hi Lyndsey! Thanks for your comment and I am glad you liked this blog. It is sorely needed in the horse world I agree! I plan to teach people how to “see” more using these comparisons because you need to see a few horses side by side to develop an eye. 🙂

  • Bettina Loeber
    Bettina Loeber
    Reply

    Thanks for this video, Farah, I have watched it twice until now, and I am looking forward to your comments. I am happy to learn to see more this way. My first impressions are: with horse no. 1 movements seem most “united” to me, the other horses more on the forehand with their weight. Less strength in the back hand. Horses 3 and 4 more stiff in the back … but I’ll have to watch it again.

  • Bettina Loeber
    Bettina Loeber
    Reply

    Farah, watching the video I get a lot of impressions and guesses and details but feel unable to really value them and find the most important information … so I am looking forward to your comments …

  • Avatar
    Nadine
    Reply

    All are lovely horses.
    #1 Rear end movement does not seem quite integrated with front end movement in the walk. He doesn’t use his back well in the trot or canter, which means he can’t get his feet under him to lift up his shoulders. Because he can’t lift his shoulders, he’s heavy on the forehand in the canter. Probably has some stiff muscles on top, and weak stomach muscles (same as me!)
    #2) Seems to have stiff hindquarters (loin), so not stepping under himself; may also have sore/weak back. Doesn’t seem to fully extend front legs; may have some issues in shoulders.
    #3) Pulls head up when front legs land; may be in pain (especially on R). L read leg not coming under him well. His front pasterns look possibly a little long anatomically (could be the breed), which can make a smooth ride. However, it could contribute to pressure in his joints and pain.
    #4) His back does not swing when he moves. I don’t know if he dislikes the boots, so he is not moving very fluidly, or if he has leg/hoof problems and he is trying to avoid pain by tensing up in other areas.

    • FarahD
      FarahD
      Reply

      Hi Nadine thanks for your comment and for taking the time to look so closely at each horse! 🙂 Will you be joining us for the posture and movement webinar on July 31st at 11-1pm ET?

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