The Power of Walk


Sit down with a nice cup of tea and have a read of Diana's latest horsey posts.

How can I be sure that I am helping my horse?

Dec 13, 2023

While an in depth knowledge of anatomy can be invaluable in working out how to help your horse, and I have great respect for those who study and teach anatomy in the context of biomechanics, and many horses have been helped by this knowledge, I would like to emphasise that having this depth of anatomical knowledge is not the only way to help your horse.This post is for the people who might be feeling inferior or lacking confidence in their ability because of their struggle to come to terms with the complicated anatomical theory. Because you may be dyslexic for example, or have more of a visual or energetic learning style (which horses love by the way).You do not need to know the names of all the muscles and how they work in order to help your horse. What is more important is that you are able to recognise healthy and unhealthy postures and what to do about them, and what is even more important than that is that you are able to notice and respond to how your horse is reacting.Short term: in the session, the horse has a soft and engaged facial expression (soft eyes, relaxed ears, relaxed nostrils and muzzle). The horse responds willingly to the lightest of aids, stretches when released, and moves smoothly in balance.Long term: The horse is happy to work. The horse’s straightness and posture improve when standing and moving freely in the herd.First photo shows signs of work that is detrimental in this moment. (I stopped lungeing him and returned to walk work.) Note the facial expression and posture.Second photo shows posture and facial expression in line with work that is having a positive impact, and in fact we see this in the long term changes to his body (third and fourth photo).Although I have a knowledge of the underlying body system which I use to inform my work, the bulk of my decisions are made based on my observations of the horse’s short term and long term responses to what I ask. I believe anyone can learn this and it is my passion to teach it in a way that makes sense and doesn’t overcomplicate or make you feel stupid.

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