Horseproblems Australia
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HIND END VETERINARY MANAGEMENT

 

by
Linda O'Leary

www.horseproblems.com.au

 

 

 

 

This article is written on behalf of all Horses that cry out for help but are often not heard.

 

One must of course realize that such horses have got unsoundness problems. Despite their physical discomforts or mental fragility, these horses can sometimes be rehabilitated to a level of normality and even competitive careers. This article is designed to give horse owners the ammunition, to give their horses a sporting chance to becoming much improved in their way of going and well being. Remember however that not every case is fixable!

 

All too often horses with rear end problems will exhibit “attitude” whilst being ridden. This is horses trying to communicate with their owners saying they are uncomfortable or even in pain. Remember horses do talk but we often do not listen, they can only act out defiance in a response to our demands. They will often have  muscle degeneration on their rumps, being an indicator of ‘ lack of use ‘of certain muscles. This can  point us, the owner, in the right direction of where the problem is. We must learn to observe our horses closely both physically and behaviorally to aid in our assessment .

 

Go here for the relevant Pod Cast.

 

Horses attempt to show us in many different ways that they are hurting or unhappy. Of course each horse is different and therefore will exhibit different evasions. Some are more subtle than others. For instance tail swishing and chomping on the bit are mild attributes, but bear in mind it would also depend on the individual horse's level of discomfort and their pain threshold. The horse may just flick his tail at the moment when he feels a slight catch of the stifle. More distinctive resistances might be the throwing of their heads  in defiance of the bit or being so above the bit that the head is in the rider's face, often placing the ears back on the head whilst doing so.

 

Another evasion to coming ‘through’ is when the horse doesn’t travel straight. With this I mean that the hind foot falls are not in line with the front. This means they are using one side of the body more than the other and if allowed to continue will eventuate in unevenness of the paces and  lack of rhythm. Often more evident when the horse is asked to extend  gate for example to medium trot. Although this shows as unsoundness if only moments are noticed then it can be referred to as bridle lameness and this is able to be corrected by riding with inside leg to outside rein (more about this later). All too often horses that are sore behind will have short choppy paces. They don’t want to step out and show movement  and as a result are often behind the leg and exhibit nappiness, even kicking at the rider’s leg in a response to an aid.

 

 

It is also important to seek professional advice of vets and others'  to help diagnose and treat our horses. Correct work together with t professional guidance can create  much improvement. It is amazing how much improvement I’ve seen in horses that I thought were beyond help. I believe there are plenty of horses out there competing with soundness issues  being flogged by owners who have no idea of their horses discomfort  this being misunderstood for ‘bad attitude’.

 

In order to check the horse out physically we can stand them square on a cement slab. Checking whether the hind quarters and shoulders are even in muscle development. The back muscles mustn’t fall away from his spine. Whilst riding one stirrup must not feel shorter than the other. The saddle shouldn’t fall to one side. If these things are occurring there is definitely a problem with your horse's muscular structure and the end result will be that of unsoundness unless addressed. Certainly unhappiness.

 

      

                                                                                                            Time brings all of our predictions to a Head. here she is with her second Foal already

 

 

What we have to realize is ‘back end’ problems affect the engine of the horse. More often than not the traits being displayed by such horses are kicking up in the back legs, bucking  ,nappiness, lack of forward and a common sign is disunited canter work. This is where a horse is on a certain lead leg in  front but his hind legs don’t match the stride and is on the other lead behind, as it were. In some cases horses will also swap back and forth with the hind legs in an effort to find comfort and coordination or to relieve pain. Now part of our job is to build up the muscle tone correctly to strengthen the horse to enable it to do the job and use the engine correctly. In many cases horses have developed physical problems due to incorrect riding where the riders have in actual fact developed the wrong muscle tone inhibiting the horse. Some of the ridden problems are listed below. It is not always due to an injury.

 

THE TWO CAUSES

 

There are two main causes for these problems in horses, the majority being Off the Track Thoroughbreds of course. VETERINARY & THE X RACE HORSE

 

  • Veterinary
  • Rider causes.

 

The percentages as we have seen it over twenty odd thousand Horses has been roughly 50% for each.

 

The Veterinary causes are many and are pretty self explanatory. The ridden causes include:

 

  • Ridden crooked
  • Ridden flexed off
  • Ridden above the Bit
  • A failure to ride ‘inside leg to outside rein’
  • The building of under muscles rather than ‘topline’ muscles.
  • The failure to follow the German Training Scale.
  • The Racing Industry systems

 

This article is about fixing 100% of the Horses with ‘Rider induced” Veterinary Problems and seriously improving and fixing on some occasions, the Horses with true Veterinary Problems.

 

 

Email me for the free 145 Page E-Book.

 

 

23/9/11

'LISTEN TO YOUR HORSES'

7 HOURS AND FEATURING 27 HORSES CRYING OUT FOR HELP. An in depth look at what not to buy and why, what Horses are pre-disposed to unsoundness and why.

If you ever consider Buying a Performance Horse, watch this Production and it may save you Thousands!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

ATHLETIC PREPARATION

 

I can relate to people reading this and rushing out to immediately start on fixing their Horse. Remember though, it is highly unfair to do any of the things recommended in this article, without a complete regime of gradual building of fitness and athletic capability. To do otherwise is grossly irresponsible, unfair on he Horse and counter productive to the aim.

 

BRIDLE LAMENESS

 

As mentioned above, bridle lameness is often rider created. One of the main observations when your horse is bridle lame is the feeling of irregular strides. Often he will hold his head crooked, having one tip of the ear higher than the other. This often starts with an inconsistency of pressure on both reins. By this I mean, the horse doesn’t accept each rein with the same amount of pressure. Now when ridden inside leg to outside rein which creates suppleness, the horse takes a firmer connection on the outside rein and softens the inside rein. In order for bridle lameness to be eliminated the outside contact and softening of the inside rein must be the same amount in both directions. This can only be achieved if the horse is made to be equally supple on both reins. So if stiffness is allowed to develop on one rein we have a problem.

 

Stiffness is evident when the horse doesn’t bend on turns and circles. Whilst riding such a horse it will feel like you are riding a ‘rail’, with no softness in the hand and a feeling that the horse lays against your leg.. Now often we see riders ride their horses flexed off to the direction they are traveling. When a horse is allowed to go around with his head in the opposite direction to the way he is going he is stiff and would therefore start to lose balance resulting in ‘dropping’ of his shoulder. He ,will then feel like a ‘leaning motorbike’ around a turn. In order for a rider to fix this the horse has to be taught to leg yield so he becomes respectful of the riders leg from a lateral point of view. You can’t bend a horse unless inside leg pressure is accepted. He needs to bend around the riders inside leg and not lay against it.

 

If ridden ‘flexed off’, the Horse will be developing muscles that are unnatural to the normal way of going. If you put a plastic wedge in your shoe today, tomorrow you will have stiffness of the muscles in the leg and most probably the ankle joint or fetlock with the Horse.

 

CROOKEDNESS

 

 Next if we allow horses to travel crooked they will develop one side more than the other. Unless you are reasonably experienced, straightness is not an easy thing to feel. You may need eyes on the ground to help you establish this. One obvious sign that a horse is traveling crooked is that the rider will be sitting to one side of the saddle. Usually to the outside on a circle. When this is occurring, you can just imagine what this is doing to the horses back. More pressure is applied to one side of the spine and this will also pull the saddle off line, putting pressure on the horses wither. The Horse will always compensate and to 'catch the Rider', even if it is to the detriment of their muscular structure. (Go watch the latest Melbourne Racing Carnival Camera angle from above the Horses and watch them lug when Jockeys hang off to one side)

 

COMPENSATION

 

Horses have the knack of actually ‘pushing’ a rider off to one side in an attempt to evade suppleness. Now of course if the horse is hurting he may do this to relieve certain muscles. He doesn’t understand that in the long run this will only make things worse. When riding such a horse I make a conscious effort to ride more into my inside stirrup and place my seat way over to the inside ,even to the extent of  ‘leaning’ too far off the horse in the opposite direction to which he is putting me. If you do this the horse will have to come under the rider and therefore has to start to bend and carry  the weight on the inside hind leg. So a straight horse allows us to sit central in the saddle, resulting in balance, thus removing the continual compensation effect which is at the root of the unsoundness in the first place.

 

ON THE BIT

 

Now lets discuss being ‘on the bit’. Many people think that if a horse is in a frame (he appears to have his head down) that this means the horse is 'on the bit.'  Not so ,in fact just having the horse in a frame doesn’t ensure that it is using the back and complete top line. Remember in order for us to fix any hind end veterinary problems the horse must come from behind , bringing the hind legs well up and under  with reach. Exercising and stretching the afflicted areas. The horse can only achieve this if the neck comes out of the wither correctly. They need to be round from the top of the poll through to the tail stretching into the riders’ hands. Reaching for a constant feel to the bit. The head will therefore be still. When properly on the bit, the horse should respond to a half halt ( rein aid) without resistance, staying round and soft in the jaw without tightening the back.

 

IN A FRAME

 

If a horse is in a frame it will appear hollow just behind the wither and then arches the neck usually high. Riding  like this will allow back to be hollow  and the hind legs to trail and not push. Remember a horse has to go forward into a contact. If they are pulled into an outline they will be in a frame, set the jaw, back and poll. This cramps their muscles and therefore doesn’t allow them to ‘swing’ in the paces. .

 

Instead they need to relax their back muscles to avoid damage and tension in their work. Similar to  when we are tense and as a result tighten in our neck muscles resulting in a headache. You can identify this by short choppy steps. They will often appear closed through the gullet (puffy appearance at point of jaw to where it connects to his neck ). They will feel like there is no suspension in the back muscles when we are attempting sitting trot making it difficult for us to follow his feel without bouncing. Such horses should be ridden in rising trot and taken back to basics achieving suppleness and correct stretch into our hand. We shouldn’t do a lot of sitting trot regardless if we are dealing with a soundness issue. We want to make it as comfortable for the horse as possible until the strength is such that the back can handle the concussion.

 

 

BEHIND THE BIT

 

Now some horses will evade and come what we call ‘behind the bit’. This is when the horse sucks back from the feel into the riders’ hands. The nose will be back from the vertical (if we draw a line down the horses’ forehead). In this position the feel in the rider's hand is too light and because there is no true connection the horse can not possibly be driving power from the hind legs. The Horse is then not ‘through” and often will appear to look like two separate horses, where the front of the horse does not match the hind end of the horse. I find these horses have to be ridden very forward to create ‘drive’ until a contact is created as a result. It is important for the rider to have very still hands as often horses that come behind don’t trust the hand. Any movement of a riders hand will move the bit in the horses mouth. This says to the horse ‘let go of the feel’. Imagine yourself with a piece of metal in your mouth what would be more comfortable, if the metal is moving, jabbing and pinching you or is ‘still’ with pressure? Horses often go behind the bit in self preservation from the hands of a Rider. but if he is sore behind  he could also be avoiding the connection to the bit, as it hurts for him to engage.

 

ROLLKUR

 

 

The other much talked about topic is that of 'Rollkur'. I suppose you can look at it in two ways.

 

At least the Horse is truly stretching the top line muscles which is good. This is proven by the fact that some of the top Horses in the World are trained that way. They aren't breaking down and can do the work well. I do believe that these Horses are forced into submission though and this is not good for their mental state, often exhibited with the Ice Cream flying off their necks and bolting at the Dressage and clearly, tension is shown in the pace of the walk where of course relaxation is most important.

 

ABOVE THE BIT

 

If a rider allows the horse to travel 'above the bit', the muscles developed are under the neck and no top line will develop. In fact, the top line muscles will degenerate and the opposite (bad muscles) will build. The upside-down neck. This too doesn’t aid to strengthen the horse in the areas necessary for it to work correctly. In fact this is highly damaging. If a horse has hind end issues it will often find it uncomfortable to stretch the top line and come 'round' as this stretches the muscles. The muscles are already tight due to injury and so then forcing them to stretch can aggravate the condition, especially if done with too much intensity and regularity. We have to introduce 'roundness' for short periods with lots of  giving of the reins to allow the horse freedom in order for it to release itself. This doesn’t mean we don’t insist on some good work, as this will be the only way we can start his rehabilitation. All horses that are’ above the bit ‘are stiff. So first we have to address relaxation, rhythm and suppleness.

 

All too often riders allow their horse to sit on their hand and slightly above the bit. They don’t achieve submission and softness. This creates tightness in the horses’ top line and doesn’t allow for  muscle development to build up correctly.

 

 

PROGRESSION

 

How do we progress? With correctness. I never compensate for correctness when commencing the fix on such Horses. I do however, show much empathy in the demand, the intensity of the session and period of work. I do not gradually increase correctness.

 

GERMAN TRAINING SCALE

 

This is where ‘the German training scale’ not only helps the horse’s mental stability but also it's physical condition . If followed correctly we should not ask for collection until we can get our horse traveling ‘on the bit ‘, athletically prepared and straight..

 

The first step in the scale is Rhythm and Relaxation. This is important because if we were to think about our own bodies for example, if there is tension in our body we too get muscle soreness. This is the same for horses. The horse has to learn to ‘let go’ in order for the muscles not to cramp during work. Imagine if you were asked to do your job in an awkward posture for any length of time, how would you feel? Your muscles would be under duress and eventually the cramping would travel to other parts originally not affected and so goes the cycle. You would start to experience pain in more areas and it would spread as time goes on.

 

Remember, the natural instinct of the Horse is to push towards pain, not away from it.

 

DVD Training via the German Training Scale

 

ABILITY TO CARRY

 

In order for a horse to carry a rider without doing damage to itself it is crucial that the back is strong with good muscle development along the spine. The back needs to be supple and be swinging when working. Any discomfort in the back can show by a change in  movement and often lameness. Back and foot problems are often related. If the horse changes the way of going in an attempt to save themselves top line discomfort, they will place their feet in an unnatural way. This change in movement will put strain on their muscles, tendons and ligaments. Then uneven pressures occur and lameness will be evident.

 

Each time a horse becomes unbalanced there are micro traumas occurring. Therefore the balance is of utmost importance. A riders’ balance has a big influence on the horses balance.  The experienced rider is far more comfortable for  the horse. They will follow the horses’ movement, have good core stability, and good feel, therefore there is clarity of intention, consistency of purpose and accurate identification of the aids. This prevents tension in the horse. At the same time fitness and weight of the rider influences feel and balance. So we too must be athletic and toned, if we Endeavour to improve our horses chances of recovery from unsoundness.

 

On the other hand a learner, fitness/ weight challenged or nervous rider, often affects the horses level of comfort in a negative way. For instance if their posture is stiff, they will sit tight and not follow the horses’ movement, hammering its back. If a rider does not follow the movement of the horse and blocks in their seat, the horse will respond by hollowing his back. This tightens his back muscles and it is this tightening that builds the bad muscles and tells the Sacroiliac regions to develop incorrectly.

 

If stiff, the riders’ feel is also affected as they can’t be sensitive in their hand and become forceful. They might have stiffness in their shoulders which in turn affects their contact causing the horse to set his jaw and stiffening his neck and then his back. Tightness in the horses’ top line is the main origin of unsoundness problems. Tight muscles lead to less sensory awareness.

 

RIDDEN PREPARATION

 

It simply astounds me how little attention is paid to this subject. How rarely I meet an Owner that even thinks about this subject. It is really taught or questioned.

 

Take the 'Breaker' or the Horse that comes for re-education. It is common place for people to simply expect that they should get worked an hour a day where I know that this would be grossly unfair both physically and mentally. If we are responsible and have the best interests of the Horse at Heart, progressive building of fitness and muscular capacity (just like we would expect for ourselves) should be a priority. Grabbing Horses out of the paddock that weren't ridden for the last 7 days and off to Pony Club for 3 hours or a Cross Country Event, is simply not fair. The Industry really needs to think about education to make people aware of such things.

 

For to 'flog' an unprepared Horse around an arena or a competition venue can only compound already existing medical conditions or mentally jade the Horse which leads to resistances and evasions that head down the path to unsoundness regardless.

 

THE TOP LINE

 

In order for a horse to let go, it has to learn to ‘swing’ in its back. This is achieved by riding it “long and Low’ over the back in a round outline. By riding in this way the top line muscles will start to build from poll to tail and yet the horse doesn’t have to collect in this way of going putting pressure on its hind and expecting carrying power. Over time of course carrying power has to be developed but this is the point, with these horses this can’t happen until there is no tension in the horses work and paces. Meaning nice long flowing steps instead of short choppy strides which are a sure sign of tension in horses. With these horses, this takes time and therefore they may have to be ridden long and low for weeks on end before bringing  the horse ‘up’, so to speak. Of course each case is different and so time frames are impossible to estimate. I won’t bring a horse up until it is swinging in all paces all of the time. This means on every occasion that I start a session with a horse it must relax for at least 20 minutes before more intense work can be contemplated. Bearing in mind the horse is in full work and is working for longer sessions. Probably when starting a horse first up I’m happy just to work long and low for a maximum period of 20 minutes all up. So Relaxation is the key!!!!!

 

The next associated response to long and low is suppleness and when achieved the horse goes into a correct contact. Only when round is the horse able to build correct muscles. So if you ride your horse above the bit you are not improving his  strength and top line. We don’t just ride horses with their heads down because it looks nice but because it  develops them correctly and also it gives us a softer contact and more control. So without suppleness and a stretching outline into the contact you will not help develop your horse’s muscular strength to aid him to over come his hind end soreness. You’ll also find that at first these periods have to be short because too much too soon will hurt him and loose him confidence. You have to see it as physio for the horse. When coming back after injury if you do too much it hurts. This is exactly the same.

 

Once you have achieved the swinging back then the next thing I start to concentrate on is the straightness of the horse. Often horses with these problems will favour one side and travel either slightly uneven on one rein or even go on 2 tracks. This means he carries his haunches to either side and not in line with his shoulders. Usually it is to the inside track but it depends on the case. I have met horses that will travel with their haunches in on the left rein and then out on the right. Again when we attempt to straighten these horses it can make them sore, so gradually and slowly is best.

 

Of course to enable us to straighten a horse it has to be really good off the leg. It needs to be able to leg yield and I will even teach them to traverse and renver (even if a little green) to counter act the swing of the haunches. So if the said horse was swinging quarters left continually I would ride renvers on the left rein and travere on the right rein. This has the effect of stretching the horse’s muscles on his weaker side. Again remembering the physio , a few steps and allow straight and repeat repeat repeat. Slowly building the duration of the lateral work until the horse can maintain it down one long side for instance.

 

 I also do the lateral work on circles as I find often the horse will also evade and go on two tracks. Another important lateral exercise is the shoulder in, when  a horse goes quarters in you can correct his straightness by bringing him into shoulder in therefore placing his shoulders to the inside track to line up with the hind legs, which were already to the inside.. This type of straightening can only happen however if the horse does shoulder in and understands its aids. Shoulder in also brings the horses inside hind leg more up underneath himself aiding in starting collection.

 

Only when all  this is working, will I start to ask the horse to be a bit more uphill. Again short periods ( say half circle) then allow longer frame again as relief, building duration until you can keep it for several minutes at a time. As the horse gets stronger he will be able to maintain it longer. You as the rider have to be especially tuned in to his ability to  stay uphill with more collection. If you make the error of asking too much the horse is likely to exhibit the evasions discussed above. It is important to back off at this stage and return to more long and low work again. This doesn’t mean you stop asking for the collection but reduce the amount of steps expected and give relief a lot sooner to build the confidence of the horse.

 

COLLECTION

 

Collection is an essential ingredient for the remedial work of  fixing rear end weaknesses.

 

THE RIDING OF SQUARES

 

Now you may ask what exercises I can do to ask for more collection. One I like to use is the riding of squares with fairly tight corners and straight lines. This can be executed at all paces. I teach the horse walk pirouette and then use these aids to ask him to make the turns. Then the horse will turn his shoulders around the inside hind leg. It will also ensure he is inside leg to outside rein. This creates collection. It is important when you start this exercise that the straightness is now truly established. If not the haunches will swing to one side and this prevents the benefit of the exercise. When completely straight the horse has to bring his haunches under himself more, resulting in the uphill feeling.

 

CHANGES WITHIN PACES

 

Another important thing we can introduce now is the changes within the paces. By that I mean, bringing the horse for instance from his normal canter to a little on the spot and then on again back to normal canter. We can also ask for some lengthened strides in the trot. If running occurs, we must immediately cease the lengthening and re establish the rhythm. Like everything only a few steps until you feel the horse accept this ‘slowing’ without resistance and straight away reward with forward and on. You must insist on true transitions, when changing the length of a stride , both longer and shorter. By building the ‘explosion’ effect of the transitions the horse is encouraged to engage more therefore using his engine. This can only be of benefit to a horse that is weak behind.

 

REIN BACK

 

Teaching the rein back can also improve the horse’s transfer of weight to his haunches. Be careful to only introduce this if the horse is in front of your leg. You will only keep the soft back if the rein back is done from the leg not the hand. The use of the hand causes the horse to set himself and this has the undesired effect of hollowing the top line, resulting in unclear steps that are not in rhythm.

If we have a horse that is suffering from stifle problems, rein back can help us to identify this. The horse will be reluctant to reverse. Resisting, throwing their head up, only offering a step at a time and not continuing the rein back. They tend to go crooked, swinging their hind quarters.  Sometimes you can even see them ‘lock’ up in the stifle whilst reversing whether on the ground or under saddle.

 

You should only be teaching the rein back if this is not hurting the horse. This entails being patient and not asking too early, if he is not fit. Asking for anything that creates too much discomfort, will result in the destruction of the horses confidence and then a mental problem can be created which becomes more difficult to fix. There is a fine line between putting some pressure on a horse to improve fitness and strength and causing mental anguish. As riders and trainers we have to be sensitive to our horses needs.

 

HORSE INVENTIVENESS

 

Here are some of the inventive ploys that Horses come with.
 

  • Shifting the Rider in the Saddle
  • Head in the air
  • Flexing off
  • Haunches in or out
  • Hollowing Back
  • Disuniting in canter work
  • Pacing
  • On the forehand and going with rump high.
  • Not coming through during downward transitions

     

Even though horses can work out all these different ways of evasion, we have to try to find the reasons for their behavior. As the superior intellectual being, we have to work out if the evasion is genuinely due to unsoundness or plain defiance. We always have to rule out health issues first but if there is no reason for bad behavior then we must look in the mirror and realize that maybe we haven’t been enough of a leader and thus we have an obnoxious horse. Bad attitude can also be the result of poor training and a lack of discipline when required. If this is the case we have to ride more assertively. Sometimes having an argument with the horse until submission is achieved. If unsure as to why the horse is acting up we have to make the decision of compassion or discipline. I find with more positive riding, if the behavior doesn’t improve in about ten minutes usually there is a reason and pain. This does depend on how long the bad behavior has been allowed to carry on. Horses learn by repetition and naughty habits can be taught more easily than good ones. If a horse sees a window of opportunity to ‘get out of’ the work he will take it more often than not.  

 

HILL WORK

 

Riding horses up hills and slopes helps build rear end muscles. Therefore this can be of benefit. I have found however going down hills, with a stiffly horse, he will be reluctant and tend to shuffle rather than step through. This can be a good way to assess whether or not your horse is suffering from stifle problems. Sometimes you can actually feel them ‘locking’ down hill. They tend to want to crab rather than traveling straight down slopes. I realize that not everyone has access to hills and for these horses pole work can achieve similar results.

 

TROT POLES

 

I use trot poles to build up horses hind ends. You can only achieve this if the horse is traveling round and over the back over the poles. If allowed to hollow out, there is no benefit to this exercise.

I start the horse on simple trot poles set for a working trot. It is important to use an even number of poles as your aim is to keep both sides of his body working equally. Once he is confident with these poles, meaning he stays in rhythm like a metronome, with no resistance, we are ready to increase the level of difficulty.

 

Now it is time to ask the horse to work a little harder and we achieve this with raised trot poles. Again when placing these, we need an even number of poles and personally I would only use four. They are set up about ten centimeters off the ground and still the distance between the poles has to be even. Then we must realize that because the horse has to now put effort into lifting his legs higher whilst going over these poles, he is in the air longer, this affects the length of his stride somewhat and therefore the distance between the poles is closer than when we were just using them on the ground.

 

The effort of suspending more in their paces means the horse is exercising much more than normal. This is similar to when you are walking in the sea, with the water half way to your knees. You would notice you will fatigue much more quickly than if you were simply walking down the beach near the waters edge. Similarly the horse will also fatigue, bearing this in mind again we must not over do the amount of work done over these poles, building duration on each occasion very gradually.

Raised pole work produces the same kind of action that a horse needs to perform piaffe and passage. These movements are some of the last taught to the dressage horse due to the degree of collection. Realizing it takes years to build a horses’ strength to be able to perform to grand prix level. One can appreciate the benefit of this pole work to build up the horses’ hind quarters.

 

THE LEG YIELD

 

If your Horse cannot 'leg yield' and do it well, if you cannot therefore influence the entire Body of your Horse, you cannot rehabilitate one and you cannot ride correctly enough to ensure you are not damaging them.

 

LUNGING WITH EQUIPMENT

 

Lunging horses with hind end unsoundness can be very beneficial in their rehabilitation. Especially if their complaint is in the stifles. The best surface is deep sand. So the horse has to pick up his feet. The size of the round yard should be at least twenty meters in diameter to give the horse sufficient room, as too tight would be detrimental.

 

Remember the whole idea of rehabilitation is building of correct muscle tone to strengthen the weak areas which affect the performance. Bearing this in mind, lunging alone won’t do a lot except improving the horses fitness. So if we take the time to lunge, we need to use gear to improve the posture of the horse. Only then will any strengthening occur.

 

My aim is to work the horse ‘round’ with relaxation. I find the best equipment to use in this instance is running reins. They ask for the correct outline of the horse without forcing the horse into a fixed frame. They offer the horse relief when he comes down with his head by releasing the pressure on his mouth. The bit is allowed to move in the horses mouth, keeping his jaw soft. The most important aim to lunging with gear, is the building of the horses top line. Therefore the running reins need to be set up encouraging an correct outline with the horses neck low enough coming out of the wither directly down. There are several different adjustments we can use to influence the neck set. Every horse is different and will require different adjustments. This depends a lot on the conformation of the horse.  

http://www.horseproblems.com.au/saddlery_sales.htm

 

Have you ever wondered why the European Horses appear to have much better movement than the Australian Horses, when the Breeding Lines are the same now? Have you notices how many of our top young Horses that burst onto the scene in the Young Horse Classes, with ‘wow factor’, end up a few short years later losing movement and going around like cripples? The idea of correct training is to develop the Horse’s movement so that balance and power improves, not to destroy it.

 

So like most of my Husband's articles on the subject, this has been an effort to bring awareness to the educational systems within this Country so that hopefully, Horses may get a better deal in the future. If Horses are to be requested to perform along the lines of "English" style, they have to be given the tools to cope with it. It is simply not fair to expect them to carry us Humans, if not athletically prepared to do it and ridden with correctness so that they may be supported in a positive way rather than a negative.

 

If I can help just one Horse, I will be satisfied.

 

ASSOCIATED ARTICLES

 

STIFLE PROBLEMS, THEIR RESULTS & TREATMENT

 

  CONFORMATION AND SOUNDNESS

 

 VETERINARY & THE X RACE HORSE

 

 SACROILIAC PROBLEMS AND BEHAVIOR.

 

 

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