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Racinet's tri-dimensional law
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Dorothy
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 Posted: Fri Jan 15th, 2010 02:27 pm
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Hi Dr Deb,

Are you or any other reader familiar with Jean-Claude Racinet's tri-dimensional law?

He has concocted it with an osteopath (?) M. Giniaux, and it relates to the co-ordination of movement in lateral flexion and rotation with flexion / extension.

It describes the movements in a way that does not correspond to my understanding of spinal motion from my training as both a human and animal Chiropractor.

Can you 'unpack' what he is trying to say, and explain it to me??

Thanks

Dorothy

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Jan 15th, 2010 08:00 pm
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You will first have to explain to me what you think he is saying, and then we can discuss it. I don't regularly read Racinet. -- Dr. Deb

Dorothy
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 Posted: Sat Jan 16th, 2010 08:15 am
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Yes,

When discussing the longitudinal flexion of a horse on a circle, or in lateral work, Racinet suggests that if there is lateral flexion associated with spinous process rotation to the outside, this will be associated with spinal hollowing (extension?) and if the lateral flexion is associated with spinous process rotation to the inside this will be associated with spinal lifting (flexion?).

I have 3 questions relating to this:

Firstly, I wonder if he is describing the sum of individual spinal segmental movements, or if he is describing the effects of tilting of the entire ribcage between the shoulder blades?

Secondly, my understanding of the biomechanics of individual spinal joints in the human is that flexion / extension occurs independently of rotation and lateral flexion, whereas rotation and lateral flexion are associated and cannot occur independently of each other. Can you tell me how the horse's spinal joints function and to what extent the individual motions are or are not dependent  on each other?

Thirdly, in certain European Federation Riding Manuals, one is instructed that on a circle, or in lateral movement, the horse should be bent uniformly from poll to tail, even on circles as small as a 6m volte. Is this possible? My understanding is that the degree of rotation and lateral flexion in the equine thoracolumbar spine is so limited that this would not be possible. Please can you clarify the reality for me?

Many thanks,

Dorothy

Obie
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 Posted: Sat Jan 16th, 2010 01:18 pm
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Hi Dorothy,

I am somewhat familiar with this tri-dimensional law from the late Dr. Giniaux. I am an enthusiast of equine osteopath and have not had any special training in it or any other manipulative modality. So I will just say what I think he may be meaning  by the tri-dimensentioal law. I thnik he is talking about one of the main laws that would be associated to any osteopathic manipulating of a horses spine and soft tissue.

Inward bending, outward rotation equals convexity . Inward bending, inward rotation equals concavity . The bending would mean the direction of the bend or arc of the horse, and the rotation would mean the direction of the vertabrae is rotating. I believe you had it the otherway around. If the vertabrae bend in the same direction of the bend of the horse then you would get concavity of the dorsal spine. Basically the "tri" is saying that if you have two of these components then you will have the third. You could have inward bending, concavity then that would mean that the horses vertabrae would be rotating in the same direction of the bend of the horse. If the vertabrae rotate the opposite direction of the bend of the horse then you will always get convexity of the dorsal spine. (which is good) The way I understand in his book is that the ribs themselves tend to bulge slightly inwards with relation to the bend of the horse,and the dorsal part of the spinous process will rotate outward. The vertabrae rotate around an imaginary longitudinal axis which is seperate from the ribs. We can apply this theory with our riding of the horse, and basically this is what Dr Deb has been teaching us.

This is what I understand it to be.

Linda

.

Dorothy
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 Posted: Sat Jan 16th, 2010 04:05 pm
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Hi Obie,

Thank-you for your thoughts, but I still have questions about what this actually means in terms of segmental spinal joint motion.

This implies that spinal bending can occur with rotation in either direction (compared with the human, where lateral flexion is always associated with rotation in one or other direction, depending on the region of the spine)

Is 'spinal bending' the same as lateral flexion?

Does 'inward rotation' or 'outward rotation' mean a tilting or rotation of the entire ribcage between the shoulder blades, or rotation of specific vertebral joints?

By 'concavity' and 'convexity' do you mean spinal extension and flexion?

Are spinal flexion and extension not totally independent of rotation and lateral flexion?

Maybe I am trying to make things too complicated, but it is important to me to understand exactly what Racinet's / Giniaux'  terminology actually means.

Dorothy

 

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Jan 16th, 2010 04:50 pm
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Obie, another thanks from me for your post; you have it fairly clear. But Dorothy, we are all suffering from the poor translation of Giniaux's work, and it is this and not what the good doctor actually said or meant that is the source of the problem.

That, and the complete unfamiliarity of most people with the actual bones of a horse's spine. Very few people have ever had the opportunity to examine, much less manipulate, these bones. Another reason why I never can understand why committed riders do not sign up in droves for the anatomy classes, and specifically the "skeleton class" that I offer. Nothing short of your actual, direct experience with the bones will really do.

A description here must suffice, then.

1. When the horse tracks a circle to the right, his body is concave on the right side and convex on the outside. This means his body as a whole, his ribcage, and the chain of vertebrae. And vice-versa if he tracks a circle to the left (an anti-clockwise circle).

2. When the horse tracks a circle to the right, the chain of vertebrae curve as above described. This has no DIRECT effect upon causing him to either raise or lower the spinal chain. By 'raise or lower' I mean either to arch his back or hollow it. By 'direct' I mean that raising or lowering the spinal chain does not automatically happen because the spine has flexed laterally.

3. There is, however, a very powerful INDIRECT effect of lateral flexion, which occurs because the long muscles of the body are affected asymmetrically by lateral flexion. When the horse tracks a circle to the right, the muscles of the right side of the body necessarily function differently, and give different feedback to the brain, than those of the left side of the body. This asymmetry is one of the two keys to the technique which Baucher called 'jaw flexions' and which I call 'head twirling', and also to 'untracking' of the inside hind leg. The asymmetry of muscle function is automatic, a direct and unavoidable consequence of lateral flexion, and the indirect effect that it tends to produce is RELEASE of excess muscle activity, i.e. the release of what a rider would commonly call 'tension' or 'stiffness'.

4. It is utterly impossible for the dorsal process of any vertebra to rotate independent of the rotation of the vertebra as a whole. This is because the dorsal processes do not hinge on to the vertebral centra, but rather both are one single solid bone. Neither do the dorsal processes, considered as a chain, rotate as an automatic consequence of lateral flexion. By 'the dorsal processes considered as a chain rotating', I mean that one may observe, if the chain of lumbar and thoracic vertebrae from a horse are held in the hands, that if the chain as a whole is laid on a tabletop and then flexed to left or right, the tops of the dorsal processes do NOT tilt to either side.

However, in the living horse the lumbar-thoracic chain is not resting, or functioning, on a tabletop, nor is it working in isolation from other body parts. Most importantly, the lumbar chain is attached directly to the sacrum, which in turn is attached to the pelvis, and this again to the hind limbs. And, as Francois Robichon de la Gueriniere taught long ago, there are certain important and beneficial effects when the horse 'untracks', or steps under the body-shadow with the inside hind leg. This action, which Gueriniere himself called 'engagement of the hindquarter' -- (note the vast difference between this connotation and that of Podhajsky or the Germans) -- is the basis and heart of the shoulder-in.

When the horse steps under the body-shadow with the inside hind leg, two things automatically occur: 1. The pelvis, sacrum, and lumbar vertebrae rotate inward, i.e. to the concave side of the bend. By 'rotate' I mean that these parts, as wholes (not just the dorsal processes) rotate around an axis which passes through the centrum of each vertebra from front to back. 2. The lumbo-thoracic chain flexes laterally so that the concave side is on the same side as the hind leg that did the under-stepping, i.e. if the horse understepped with the right hind leg then the spine will curve to the right. Thus, the REAL way to initiate a turn is not by the hands on the reins, but rather by inducing the horse to untrack, i.e. by influencing the horse's inside hind leg. This is the most important maneuver that any horseman can ever understand, because it is not only the ultimate physical key not only to release and to flexions, but to the physical control of the horse's motions and actions.

For more on this, with what I am happy to call 'refrigerator pictures', please hop over to http://www.eclectichorseman.com and get yourself a subscription to "The Eclectic Horseman", which is just at the point of distributing the issue containing the first installment of my series for them on the anatomy underlying a whole series of the actions which we consider important in horsemanship. The first installment is on head-twirling and the second is on untracking.

By 'refrigerator pictures' I mean illustrations that are so good that you really have to copy them and then hang the copy on the door to your refrigerator, so you see them and think about them every day. -- Dr. Deb

Dorothy
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 Posted: Sat Jan 16th, 2010 06:32 pm
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Thank-you, Dr Deb, that clarifies things for me.

I have a question, though, about the actual degree to which the spine can laterally flex - is it as much as is suggested is necessary for a horse to bend uniformly from poll to tail by the FN guidelines on a 6m volte?

I have read that this amount of 'costal flexion' is an illusion created by the swing of the ribcage together with the results you describe when the horse untracks.

Dorothy

Obie
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 Posted: Sat Jan 16th, 2010 06:46 pm
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Dr Deb,

So are the lateral flexions on a longitudinal axis? What flexions are then on a vertical axis? I'm a little fuzzy on this? I think I have the same question as Dorothy. What axis causes the flexion and extention of space between each single vertabrae? I'm not quite sure how to ask this question.

Thanks,

Linda

Dorothy
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 Posted: Sat Jan 16th, 2010 07:14 pm
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Hello Obie,

I understand lateral flexions to be on the longitudinal axis as you suggest, also commonly known as 'bending' or 'costal flexion', such as the bending round a circle or in lateral work.

Flexion and extension in the thoracolumbar spine, by definition, relate to the raising and lowering of the horse's back, so flexion would be loin coiling and rounding up, and extension would be hollowing. In the cervical spine, flexion would be raising the root of the neck and rounding the Mitbah, extension would be stargazing!

Dorothy

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Jan 16th, 2010 07:43 pm
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Dorothy, it's perfectly OK to refer to the bending of the horse's spine from side to side as 'lateral flexion'. 'Flexion' just means 'bending'. If you have upward flexion, then two examples of that would be raising the base of the neck and loin coiling. Hollowing the back and stargazing would be two examples of extension -- which is downward bending -- of the spine.

You might note that the reason I use this particular set of terms -- i.e., "lateral flexion", "coiling the loins", "arching the neck", "raising the base of the neck", "hollowing the back", "extending the neck", "extending the nose" -- is because they are clear. The standard medical terminology is, on the other hand, quite confusing and unclear -- "extension" or "flexion" used without qualification, and especially bad are "dorsiflexion" and "ventroflexion", so I avoid using these terms.

The attached illustration is a gift -- it's from the Eclectic Horseman series and you're getting to see it here in a small size ahead of its publication. I can add no more to your query by words, but my belief is that this illustration is paradigmatic and contains the answers you seek. -- Dr. Deb

Attachment: Untracking top view bones labels.jpg (Downloaded 560 times)

Dorothy
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 Posted: Sat Jan 16th, 2010 07:54 pm
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Thank-you, Dr Deb,

That picture explains alot!

I tried to go to the Eclectic Horseman website from your link, and only got a blank page, but I will try again.....

Dorothy

 

Dorothy
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 Posted: Sat Jan 16th, 2010 08:08 pm
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Now this has got me thinking!

Would I be right to think that as the inside hind leg becomes weight bearing and disengages, and the outside hind steps under, it rolls the pelvis together with the lumbar spine to the outside, and will reduce the amount of concavity / convexity in the ribcage?

So, during a stride of this movement with left bend, there is a fluctuating amount of ribcage concavity / convexity as the hind legs cause the pelvis and lumbars to roll from one side to the other.

saffire_100
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 Posted: Sun Jan 17th, 2010 02:28 am
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The correct address: http://www.eclectic-horseman.com/

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Jan 17th, 2010 07:11 am
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Thanks, Saffire -- seems I am always getting links wrong.

Dorothy -- Please do not use the term 'disengagement' when what you mean is 'untracking'. The term 'disengagement' in this context has been promoted by the Parellioids, and it is both highly (almost laughably) incorrect, as well as confusing. The correct term for the motion being made by the left hind leg in the above illustration is either 'untracking', or else (if you want to use Gueriniere's original term) -- 'engagement of the inside hind leg'. Note, once again, that the old master's connotation is absolutely at odds with the schools of Podhajsky and Otto Lorke (i.e. the term as used by those interested in competitive dressage).

But yes, clearly: a horse cannot go anywhere unless he steps from one leg to the other. How much his arse sashays -- and as a consequence of this, how much the degree of flexion in his spine fluctuates -- will be a product of his build to begin with, and then of how wide he is stepping-in/stepping-out with the hind legs as they alternate.

I attach another gift, from the same upcoming article, which again (having been prepared some months ago), anticipates your question. -- Dr. Deb

 

Attachment: Untracking rear view in and out labels.jpg (Downloaded 530 times)

Dorothy
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 Posted: Sun Jan 17th, 2010 12:07 pm
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Thanks for the link, Saffire, I've got there!

And thank you, Dr Deb, for the excellent diagrammes.

I am not using 'disengagement' in the Parelliod sense, and I do understand the difference and the scope for misinterpretation.

I, too, use the term 'engagement' in the Gueriniere sense, being the equivalent of 'untracking'

If one hind limb is 'untracking' or 'engaging', what word do you use to describe the action of the other? is it 'tracking'? This is the action that I use the term 'disengaging' to mean.

Dorothy

 


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