Tuesday 17 January 2012

Movement - essentials

I wanted to put together some occasional blog posts with bullet points  - really basic but which I hope will be useful as quick summaries or reminders of the essentials in some key areas.
It seems sensible to start with movement - its what I obsess about with the rehab horses - how are they moving, how can I help them improve, what are the causes of unsound movement and so on.

So here are the essentials, as far as I am concerned:
  • Landing: hooves should land heel first on a flat, level surface.  This is clearly visible in a healthy hoof and becomes more pronounced when the horse walks down a slope.  Conversely a toe first landing is normal when a horse walks uphill but is a sign of potential caudal hoof pain on a flat surface. 
  • Loading:
    • front limb hooves should load evenly (medio-laterally) when walking on a flat, level surface
    • hind limb hooves will normally land laterally (this can usually only be seen in slowed down footage)
  • Surfaces: a healthy hoof has good proprioception so stride length will normally adjust slightly as a horse crosses different surfaces (there is a reason dressage is not done on concrete).  However, a horse should not look pottery or restricted on a hard surface. 
  • Gait: horses will, of course, alter their movement in response to pain, or its removal - a heel first landing can change to toe first, and vice versa.  Equally, stride length can increase as hooves load in a more balanced way or develop a better ability to shock absorb.  It can be useful (and interesting) to film your horse's movement regularly to monitor changes and give you reference points. 


Dressager said...

Filming regularly... that's a really good idea!

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