APRIL 2006 • VOLUME 8 • ©HORSES For LIFE™ Magazine
Many horses learn certain patterns of body movement throughout their lives. Some of which comes from our training. Some from the way we ride. Some from existing physical conformation and some from injuries endured during that horse's lifetime.
Body patterning can be both our "curse" and our salvation when we are working with our horses.
The pattern that they learn whether from their environment, health factors or from our training, extending to all facets of their lives. If they learn to move one way in one place or time, they will have a tendency to keep that body pattern and move that way everywhere they are. They will not necessarily differentiate between when they are out in the field or if you are on their backs.
A typical example that we frequently see is to see horses moving freely exhibiting body patterns of bridle lameness even when not being ridden.
Bridle lameness is probably the most well known case of how body patterning can effect the horse.
Bridle lameness is a term that refers to a horse short striding on one diagonal. One diagonal can seem shorter then the other, which makes the horse then look like he is lame. But he really isn't. well he is, but rather then an actual physical injury causing the problem, it has to do with how they are ridden. Posting on one diagonal consistently, heavy hands, or even equipment such a tie downs are some of the factors that can contribute to bridle lameness.
These horses will be seen to be lame only when being ridden. Hence the term bridle lameness. At least at first. As this pattern of movement becomes established, you will then see this pattern also appearing when the horse is not being ridden, perhaps at first only when being led in hand, but eventually it can show up when the horse is running around free in his own pasture or corral. The pattern that becomes established, becomes a way of going that becomes engrained to the horse.
Another example of how we will see body patterning at work, is how we will see horses short striding consistently on one diagonal after an injury is long healed. The horse continuing the same movement pattern that it learned to protect itself with when it actually was hurting, but continuing it on, long after the original injury was healed. This way of going becoming entrenched to the movement pattern of the horse.
So what does this mean for us as riders and trainers?
April 2006 • Volume 8 HORSES FOR LIFE™ Please note all resources presented are © copyright protected by the original owners and reprinted with permission OR © Copyright Horses For Life™ 2005 to 2006 Please write to us!
April 2006 • Volume 8
HORSES FOR LIFE™
Please note all resources presented are © copyright protected by the original owners and reprinted with permission OR © Copyright Horses For Life™ 2005 to 2006
Please write to us!