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April 2006
April 2006 Articles
Olympic GOLD 1932 - Video
Collected Reinback?
*Dressage Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Part 2
Two Fillies
The Elephant Walk
Movement Based on Body States
Wynmalen: Successful Aids through Positioning
Decarpentry: Straightening Diagonals
Healing Horses: A Pint a Day
Leading: A Matter of Trust
Training Leading and Bonding
Today's Lesson: A Stranger in a Strange Land
Albrecht: Flying Changes - How To Teach it Wrong
Horse Training Exercises: Rebalance at the Wall
Horse Training Exercise: Lengthening Laterally
Editorial: Horses Never Lie
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The Power of the Herd
Volume Training An Andalusian Stallion
Volume Art of the Lusitano
Volume Understanding How our Horses Bodies Work
Demi-Diagonals at the Shoulder-In
Volume on Forward
Volume The French Tradition
Volume The Chosen One
Volume Anakalypsi/Discovery
Volume Friends of the Horse
Volume First Video Issue
Volume Gallop to Freedom
Volume RCMP
Volume Odin at Saumur
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Volume The Carousel
Volume Dr. Robert Miller
Volume The Circus
Volume Article 401
Volume Just Say YES!!
Vol Path of Transformation
Volume Enough is Enough
Volume The First Step of Canter
Volume White Lipizzaner Stallions
Volume Understanding Canter
Volume Counter Shoulder In
Volume Success through Rider Exercises
Volume The Two-Finger Rule
Volume Equine Stretching
Volume Science of Motion
Volume Sorraia Mustang
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Volume Karl vs. Hess
Volume Collection at Liberty
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Volume Training the Friesian
Volume Nuno Video
Volume Alexander Nevzorov
Volume Filipe Graciosa
Volume Freedom of Movement
Volume Walk Aids
Volume Habituation
Volume True Collection
Volume Perfect Spanish Walk
Volume Philippe Karl in America?
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Volume Dancing With Horses
Volume Langsamer Treiben
Volume Draw Reins
Volume Kissing Spines
Volume Picking an Instructor
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Volume Diagonalization
Volume Those Crazy Frenchmen
Volume Rollkur
Volume Decontraction
Volume Taine and Lesage
Volume Changing Conformation
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Volume 66
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• Understanding Body Patterns • ©HORSES For LIFE™ Magazine

Understanding Body Patterns

Once upon a time, a young and ardent stallion, anxious to impress a filly, puffed up his chest and bounced his trot, improvising the first "passage." …

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.

Body Patterning Our curse and our salvation

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?


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Horses For LIFE Online Magazine April 2006

• Volume 8


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