ESI Q and A Forums Home
 Search       Members   Calendar   Help   Home 
Search by username
Not logged in - Login | Register 

Whip-like hoof movement
 Moderated by: DrDeb  
 New Topic   Reply   Print 
AuthorPost
IrishPony
Member


Joined: Sat Jul 7th, 2007
Location: Southern California
Posts: 20
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Sep 1st, 2007 10:23 pm
 Quote  Reply 
 What causes a whip-like, flicking up and down movement of the hoof?  I've seen it in dressage horses during the extened trot.

My six-year-old pleasure gelding has started to exhibit this movement (more pronounced on the right). The best way I can describe it is a 'flick' back and forth in a whip-like movement several times while in the air before landing. It's most noticeable when going downhill. Maybe because there's more air time going downhill before landing? 

He's doesn't seem lame, but what the heck is this, why does he do it and is it cause for concern?  If so, what action, if any, can be taken? 

My horse is used for trail riding and pleasure...nothing more strenuous, though I do enjoy some work in the arena occasionally.  Walk, jog, lope.

Kathy

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3232
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Sep 3rd, 2007 02:09 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Very briefly, Kathy, the whiplike movement you describe is caused when the horse tightens and lowers (hollows) his back, particularly the stretch of back immediately behind the withers.

The action is actually called "flicking" and is entirely undesirable. It is common among competitive dressage horses because theirs is, more and more, a degenerate form of riding in which incorrect and pathogenic styles of movement are rewarded.

If you want it to go away (and you should most definitely want it to go away), then you need to slow the horse down and do anything necessary to get him to release and raise his back. This would include twirling the head, turning the horse in a curve, and asking him to step under the body shadow with the inside hind leg. Slow the speed of the horse down.

NOtice that the cause of flicking is not within the leg that shows the flicking. Likewise, the cure or elimination of flicking is not to address any limb. The cause and the cure both lie within the horse's axial body, his spine and the investiture of soft tissues that covers it. This is another good illustration of the maxim, "back dynamics govern limb dynamics."

If flicking occurs when your horse is going downhill, then your horse does not know how to carry himself downhill without tensing his neck and back. Also, you may be actually setting him up to do this by going too fast and actually tensing him up and knocking him off balance. You need then to go back to some of the other threads in this Forum and read how to show a horse to go downhill properly, in balance and relaxation.

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

IrishPony
Member


Joined: Sat Jul 7th, 2007
Location: Southern California
Posts: 20
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Sep 4th, 2007 01:10 am
 Quote  Reply 
Thank you for explaining this.  The first time I noticed the flicking was when I was walking beside him, even before riding him in ernest, and I was appalled by it.  If he does it without my weight on his back, no doubt he's also doing it when being ridden as well.

His lack of back muscles along either side of the spine have always bothered me. I chalked it up as immaturity....I acquired him as a long two-year-old and thought exercise would strengthen that part of his anatomy.   He does fill out when worked regularly, but given time off, his musculature disappears again.

Years ago I bought your 3-part Principles of Conformation and will start working in ernest with him....Volume II, Page 26!   I'll also search the site for your current recommendations.  

Kathy

P.S. Do I remember you offering a conformation anaylysis on this website some time back? Did you decide not to continue it? 

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3232
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Sep 5th, 2007 05:31 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dear Irish -- I understand what you're observing but your interpretation of your horse's apparently "under muscled" back is just the opposite of the truth.

In other words -- you should NEVER try to add muscle to a horse's back or topline. The horse that has a thin, hard, tentlike, or stringy-looking back is the very animal that already has TOO MUCH strength in its back. The object is, or should be, just the opposite -- you need to get the muscles of the topline to turn off or release.

To get caught up on this, please go to the "Knowledge Base" section of this Website and read "Lessons from Woody" and its sequel "True Collection". Or, you can review much of the "True Collection" material in my "Principles of Conformation" books.

There you will be taught the truth -- that the muscles that raise a horse's back are located BENEATH the spinal column; whereas the muscles that cause a horse to hollow and tense its back are the muscles OF the back, i.e. the ones you can see and feel along the crest of the neck, under the saddle, and over the top of the croup and hamstrings.

You are not to be blamed, Irish, for getting this mixed up, because almost the whole of European dressage also has it totally mixed up. The Pony Club has it mixed up, and the U.S.D.F., and nearly every magazine article and supposedly authoritative book. When these folks begin learning correct biomechanics, maybe then we will start seeing them succeed at producing happy, comfortable, balanced rides. You, however, are not under the same disadvantages -- you will be far ahead of any Olympic team member anywhere -- as you read, comprehend, and put into practice the information contained in the papers above suggested. -- Dr. Deb

Pam
Member


Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Location: Lafayette, California USA
Posts: 146
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Sep 6th, 2007 02:17 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dr. Deb,

I have such a hard time comprehending how so many people could be so misinformed about the biomechanics of riding.  How does this happen?  I have never seen such a confused group of people as of have witnessed in the "dressage world".  It gives me a headache just thinking about it.

Pam

minimitts
Member


Joined: Fri Apr 27th, 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 33
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Sep 8th, 2007 08:05 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I read Dr Deb's post suggesting the OP read the threads on this forum that discuss how to properly show a horse to carry himself downhill.  I'd really like the read those threads myself, but I searched the site and can't locate any.  If someone can point me in the right direction, I'd really appreciate it!  Sorry if I've missed the obvious somewhere along the line... Cheers, christina

IrishPony
Member


Joined: Sat Jul 7th, 2007
Location: Southern California
Posts: 20
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Sep 8th, 2007 11:52 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Christina, I looked for it too and was about to write a note to Jeff. If I'm not mistaken, the website was re-vamped some time back, and maybe not all the archives made it across?      Kathy

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Sep 9th, 2007 01:19 am
 Quote  Reply 
Pam:

You have put your finger on one of the most perplexing questions in the horse world.  people like me who have spent a lifetime around horses, but are very far from being masters, marvel  at what passes for horsemanship and horse knowledge.  I really mean that.  Many of us marvel at it, and yet we are mere students.  The marvel of the thing is that we, with our patently deficient horse knowledge can see the problems, and yet others do not appear to notice.

For example, anyone can have the experience of watching a sound horse in a field and seeing the lightness and balance, seeing many of what we consider high school motions, and seeing lots of motions that humans usually don't ask for, because they are "not in the book."  Then we can watch the same animal under saddle exhibiting no lightness, no balance, and looking awkward or even in pain.  Obviously, the variable in the equation is the human.

It would be easy to lay blame on the specific rider.  After all, that person is the one in the saddle and theoretically in control.  However, you can go to really big-time shows -- world competions, dressage events and the like, and see whole arenas full of blameworthy riders doing things that are absurd, if not downright harmful.  That being the case, the problem must must not lie with the individual, but rather, it must be in fashion and indeed more deeply, the accepted way of looking at the animal and the relationship of human to animal.

We could talk at length about reasons, psychological, social, and educational, but we would be no further than this: it is a mess.

Cheers!

Joe


Last edited on Sun Sep 9th, 2007 01:23 am by Joe

Julie
Member
 

Joined: Mon Jul 2nd, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 56
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Sep 9th, 2007 04:41 am
 Quote  Reply 
Hi Joe, I also feel badly about the state of affairs that horses have to live with.  Showing, racing etc anything where people have a time frame they must adhere to.  Therefore make their horses perform a certain way. I think Dr Deb hits the nail on the head when she says if your reason for performance is anything other than helping the horse have a better life then.....  I have felt bad, tried to explain all this to others to no avail and now I just get on and try to work on myself and help my horses with the help of Dr Deb and similar.

Kind regards Cathie Julie

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Sep 9th, 2007 05:27 am
 Quote  Reply 
Hmmm -- could that particular comment be a little out of context?  In the final analysis, if our sole purpose with equines was to give them a better life, we'd operate grassland refuges with good shelter, nutrition and medical care, and mostly leave them alone.  No part of training or riding is either natural or primarily for the animal's welfare.  Notwithstanding, however, it need not and should not be harmful to the animal 

Perhaps it would be more reasonable to say that our goal should be to pursue our human objectives in a way that allows the animal to have a good life and actually benefit from our presence.

Joe

Karen
Guest
 

Joined: 
Location:  
Posts: 
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Sep 9th, 2007 10:29 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Thank you Dr. Deb...   I didn't know what to call it.   I am working with a 3yo gelding off the track... trainers said he was ataxic and possibly had EPM... he was a serious handfull, reactive  and had that flicking thing.. with the hind legs (dangerous if you are standing near the back when they do this)...  I felt it was some how in his back  but thought it was in the pelvic region and have been researching conformation books I purchased a couple of years ago. Adam's Lameness in Horses your set on conformation as well as  Other conformation books... Vets in the area that specialize in lameness issues have no clue why he does this.  This boy was in serious pain and I have been using your Manners lesson from another thread to get him to focus so that I can work with his other issues.  The backing up seems to help but it has taken us 3 sessions with a chiropractor and 3 accupuncture treatments and an xray of his jaw revealing a malaligned molar to deal with all  the pain... he still does the flicking thing occasionally...  what exercises would you recommend to strengthen the core ... i am not riding this young gentleman until his manners improve and he moves better from the ground.

Just confirmed why I still need to be a member.. Check will be in the mail.

Karen

 

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3232
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Sep 9th, 2007 11:33 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Karen, if you are talking about a movement of the HIND legs, then it is not flicking. The term pertains solely to action of the front legs.

It is not clear to me from your brief description exactly what the horse is doing with his hind legs. Cow-kicking? Kicking to the rear? Strange, jerky protraction ("a hitch in his gitalong")? I need a description that describes exactly what the horse is doing.

Karen, I also want to warn you about "pain". Yes, if the animal had an abscess or an open wound in his mouth, he was in pain. Mere mal-alignment of a tooth is less likely to cause pain, unless the tooth was severely ramped so as to be gouging the opposite gum, for example.

Likewise, I grimly smile when I hear some chiropractors and some massage technicians going on about how the horse is in "pain". He is not likely to be in pain from most of the sorts of things that chiropractors treat. A horse can have a stiff back or stiff muscles, asymmetrical musculature, and even some types of arthritis and be in no pain or no significant pain. Why these sorts of practitioners talk loudly about your animal being in "pain" is because they want your money. Beware.

This is not to say that adjustments and massages do not have a place; they are sometimes really needed. But you will find, Karen, that 90% of the difficulty with whatever horse you may own will lie within solving the mannering. For most people, this primarily means getting your own act together with it, so that you become effective. When you are effective, then you'll have little or no need for adjustments and massages. The reason for this is that when the horse is not focused and calm, he cannot find physical comfort or mainain comfort for long, even when offered adjustments and massages. When he IS focused and calm -- that is to say, when you are effective -- then even when there is great distraction from the surroundings (i.e. gunfire, flapping flags, a combine coming down the road), or even a certain amount of actual physical pain, the horse will respond as if nothing whatsoever was wrong (because in fact there is nothing wrong then, so far as he perceives the world).

So, please let us know what your horse is actually doing with his hind legs, and we will proceed from there. Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

 

Karen
Guest
 

Joined: 
Location:  
Posts: 
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Sep 11th, 2007 10:47 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I guess I misread  the thread... however this gelding I am working with will kick up toward his belly and swing his leg outward as if cow kicking then continue the motion down behind to the ground.. usually hitting the ground with his toe.. does it mostly with the right  hind leg  even when I am not on that side or around him for that matter... I have seen him do this while he is just walking across the pasture.   He has been alot more managable since he can back in to his room now. That is why I thought the backing was helping him...

I will go back and read the thread again... Hope this explanation of the movement helps...

Thanks,

Karen (from a different computer)

Pam
Member


Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Location: Lafayette, California USA
Posts: 146
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Sep 12th, 2007 12:52 am
 Quote  Reply 
Joe & Julie,

I recall a statement from Tom Dorrance's book "True Unity" where he says something like "It is an honor to the horse to get all you can out of him"  and I really wonder what this means as far as riding him/her goes.  Because I am a beginner and my horse has had so much training, I have had people say some pretty mean things to me on that subject.  Things like "He'll never be all he could be" as they watch me struggle to learn as fast as I can.  They overlook the relationship completely and only look at things from the outside or from a performance standpoint.  Most of these people are really into showing and I am not, but it doesn't mean I am opposed to it either.  Riding a horse is the icing on the cake but it is not the most important thing in my opinion.  I think the bond between horse and rider is of up most importance.  If you watch someone like Philippe Karl ride (whom is the finest rider I have ever witnessed ride) you can see the bond that he shares with his horses.  All barriers are overcome in his presence and these horses are far better off for the relationship they have with him.   I think if you could ask these horses "Would you rather be in a pasture the rest of your life or be ridden by Philippe"  they would all say "Be ridden by Phillipe of course".  This is something to strive for.   

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Sep 13th, 2007 03:30 am
 Quote  Reply 
AH well, most of us are not much like Philippe.

But, regardless, the point is that we ride for our own reasons, not the horse's.

To your other point, the sad fact is that in addition to people who are insensitive to horses, the horse world has many people who enjoy being unpleasant to other people.  Somehow, insulting others makes them feel bigger.  Still, it can be intensely frustrating to watch beginners, or even non-beginners like me who blunder anyway, plough along making unnecessary mistakes.  Much of horsemanship cannot be just intuited out of a relationship with the animal.  On the other hand, lots of technical riders neve have relationships with or understand horses at all.

J



 Current time is 10:00 pm
Page:    1  2  Next Page Last Page  




Powered by WowBB 1.7 - Copyright © 2003-2006 Aycan Gulez