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Help for kissing spine
 Moderated by: DrDeb  
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IrishPony
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 Posted: Sun Sep 30th, 2007 06:51 pm
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Dr. Deb: "Now here's your new question: based on what you have learned to this point, how can this be? How can it STILL be our goal to create thick musculature along the topline, if what we know we have to have is relaxation/release in the muscles of the topline, while we encourage effort of the muscles of the underline?"

Darn, another reason to wish for the umpteenth time I'd not sold my An/Phys book back to the bookstore. 

At any rate, muscle can become developed (bulked)  through reps without becoming tense.  (I'm looking at my husband's biceps.)  Are you asking what pathology causes a well-used muscle to become so tense it can't let go and relax?  Muscle spasm hurts and causes the inability to relax. What therapy is needed to relax that muscle?

Just throwing out ideas here and hoping to be able not only discuss didactics in the classroom, but also get out and help rectify the problem.  Yes... can you tell I'm anxious to do so!?   :-D   ~ Kathy

P.S. I just found a good website on hypertonic muscle spasm...am I in the correct direction?   ~K

Last edited on Sun Sep 30th, 2007 06:55 pm by IrishPony

Leah
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 Posted: Sun Sep 30th, 2007 10:36 pm
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DrDeb wrote:

Now here's your new question: based on what you have learned to this point, how can this be? How can it STILL be our goal to create thick musculature along the topline, if what we know we have to have is relaxation/release in the muscles of the topline, while we encourage effort of the muscles of the underline?


 -- Dr. Deb
Well I go away for a weekend and missed quite a little party on the thread! :-)So glad others have joined in. Since we  have an answer to what feeds muscles, I will try to address the muscling question. The ideas that come to my mind is structural balance...it won't be healthy to have extreme muscle on the underside and 'flabby' muscle on the topside. Again, using my human example, with a weak back we are encouraged to develop our abs; however, we don't just ignore the back-it is still has to be strong and functional as well.A gymnast comes to mind, or even a ballerina (even better a contortionist for those that have ever seen Cirque du Soleil)...these sportsman are super top athletes with balanced muscling in the entire body. They are EXTREMELY strong but EXTREMELY flexible. I envision this kind of muscle development as opposed to say a body builder type of muscle. So is that how/why we can/should have both as a goal? I am guessing the topline muscling would come second to the underside muscling...kind of like the icing on the cake?OK...so that wasn't very medical in language but I want to make sure I am on the right track!

IrishPony
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 Posted: Sun Sep 30th, 2007 11:54 pm
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We learned in physiology class that muscles move the skeleton by acting as levers on joints in opposing pairs: agonists and antagonists.  One set of muscles contracts, while the other relaxes (though Dr. Deb has said both abdominal and back muscles both work at the same time in the horse's torso).

My research thus far: A muscle which is chronically semi-contracted can actaully squeeze blood vessels and nerves running through the muscle, which interferes with blood supply and even proper nerve signals.  If left untreated, this can cause metabolic malfunction within the muscle tissue.    Kathy


Leah
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 Posted: Tue Oct 2nd, 2007 01:20 am
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Straightening The Crooked Horse.

Ok I got my book today and finished it...today. (157 pages so not too long).

I simply could NOT put it down...it compliments (complements?) what we are discussing so nicely.

Thank you again Liz, for sharing this book.

Dr Deb...if you have a chance to read this book or learn about the rehab center (as I am certain you have so much free time! LOL)...I would be so interested to hear your comments on it.

I was very impressed.

Annie F
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 Posted: Tue Oct 2nd, 2007 03:44 am
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Leah or Liz,

Could you describe just  briefly the approach or methods addressed in the book?  It's been published so recently that I don't yet see any customer reviews on the internet book site.  I'm not looking for a long or detailed description, just a general idea of the main concepts or perspective.

Thanks!

Annie  

Leah
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 Posted: Wed Oct 3rd, 2007 10:09 pm
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Hello Annie-

I will do my best but don't feel I will do the book justice. Of course the ENTIRE focus is STRAIGHTNESS...straightness to my understanding like Dr Deb explains...straightness on the circle...the shoulders and ribcage and hind end follow the arc of the circle.

A horse must be level through shoulders and hips-lots of pictures showing a horse that would appear "straight" to most eyes, but in fact leans or bulges.

He separates horses into right or left handed and most of the book is from a right hand horse perspective (so just reverse it for a left handed horse)-he shows you how to identify which horse you have.

A right hand horse will bulge to the left (make the circle bigger) and lean in the the right...he will have a harder stabbier RF landinging to the right because of the shoulder leaning in.

He also discusses what the rear end does-it can wing out going one direction.

The 'program' in general is a 30 day program of in hand work to get the horse straight without  rider. He emphasizes loosening of the longissimus dorsi.

The in hand work is mostly at the trot-in a lunge cavesson, no sidereins, rope attached to the ring on the center of this nose. The idea is to lift the right shoudler, shifting weight to the LR. This allows the RF to come through. He shows were body position on the person should be and explains why everything is important.

He then has some exercises for under saddle work that also work to lift the right shoulder (again reverse for a left handed horse).

The level hips allow the legs to come through properly rather than winging around.

Again this is a very simple explanation that I almost hesitate to post...hopefully others that have read the book can chime in!

The book is only 157 pages with LOTS of good photos and drawings. Again to my mind it fits in very nicely with Dr Deb's writings but I hate to jump to conclusions without finishing our 'discussion' from her perspective.

I have tried some of the in hand work on two of mine and can see very beginnings of changes.

He says over 4000 horses have come through his program with a 90-95% success rate.

The funny thing is, after having this thread and reading his book, it is so OBVIOUS but very important information that has helped me a great deal.

Please feel free to ask anything else and I can try to clarify my answer!

Annie F
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 Posted: Fri Oct 5th, 2007 11:25 pm
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Leah,

Thanks so much for your informative review of the book--it was kind of you to take the time to provide so much detail.  I will be traveling on business this week, and plan to take several of the knowledge base articles with me to read and reflect on; I wondered where this book fit in with the information and perspectives in those articles, and with the very informative discussions on this forum about the muscles used to lift the back.  For me, it is so helpful to have this concrete information, including identifying specific muscles and their action. I realize that when I ride, this technical information cannot substitute for "feel," but for me, it is easier to develop that feel if I at least know what I am searching for! 

Thanks for the time you and others have taken to advance this discussion!

Annie

 

danee
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 Posted: Sat Oct 13th, 2007 10:51 pm
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Last edited on Thu Nov 22nd, 2007 02:55 am by danee

Leah
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 Posted: Sun Oct 14th, 2007 12:02 am
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danee-it doesn't address rider crookedness in the same way as say...Centered Riding does...but there is a section on transferring straightening from the ground work to ridden work and placement-like our sternum facing where the horse's chest should faced is addressed.

I have found this book invaluable. I have been doing the groundwork on 2 and using the riding principles on the two that I ride and the results come very quickly-in terms of seeing progress.

I have tried the exercises on Julian and he IS 'tracking' better-that plus the information that Dr Deb has provided on the muscles is making our sessions productice.

Sadly though he has a terrible stiffness still in his body and especially in his hind end that I still can't get a grasp on.

Hopefully Dr Deb will return soon and can keep our education progressing! :-)

Leah
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 Posted: Sun Oct 28th, 2007 12:47 am
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Last edited on Wed Nov 21st, 2007 10:00 pm by Leah

IrishPony
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 Posted: Tue Oct 30th, 2007 05:14 pm
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Yes, a few of us feel rather abandoned on this topic. It includes Low Back in Young Horses as well as Whip-Like Hoof Movement.  Tight backs need attending to.

Dr. Deb?    Kathy et al

Sam
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 Posted: Thu Nov 1st, 2007 08:34 am
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Hi Folks,

Have been watching this thread with much interest!  Thanks to Dr Deb I have discovered this year what my horses 'problems' were, ME and BAD POSTURE.  Had to start by sorting myself out first...am now working on horses bad posture,  he has previously been high headed, braced, tight in the back with some mucsle wastage of the back.  All this shows hugely in his feet, and again thanks to Dr Deb I find I can trim those hooves till I am blue in the face, doesn't change a thing till I address the posture.

I don't know it this will help but I can share what my horse has taught me, and the answers I have found through this good work. 

My horse had no idea how to let those tight muscles on the top line go, so to start I have taught him to first lower the head below the withers and then  twirl the head, standing still then progressing to walk. Then next we twirled the loins, get the inside hind to step under the body shadow.  I have also done a bit of 'body work' I have learnt to help him become aware of his body.  Deb's mannering has gone a huge way too.  This is pretty much all I have done and this horses posture has previously been so bad he has lost the trot, we only ever walked and cantered, I thought he was some flash gaited horse....nope, I believe bad posture!!!  Anyway my horse is starting to show trot steps when free in his paddock, up to three strides in a row!  And I saw him do two strides of canter with the base of his neck raised and his loins coiled, this is a first!  All so exciting.

I do however have a weeny question.  I have sent my horse out onto the circle, put a little knot in my rope up near the horse so I am always sending the knot to the horse and pushing on his girth area with my 'bubble',  if the horse is not quite stepping under the tummy far enough, does this show in a 'not quite' a head twirl.  There seems to be a little sideways tilt to the head and no crinkles in the neck, I haven't quite got the release with me further out on the rope.  Hope that makes sense. 

TTFN

Sam

Adrienne from another computer
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 Posted: Thu Nov 1st, 2007 07:40 pm
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Hi Sam,

 I'm not quite sure I understand your question (foggy head day...) but I think your asking if your not getting a full twirling of the loins if that means your head twirl isn't there?  Can you make sense of that? :-)

 The head twirl is about release as you've learned and worked out. The horse must release over the topline to twirl the hindquarters. Best way to release the top line is the head twirl.

 So what I'm trying to say is if your not getting the response you want you need to get the release you need.

 Your doing very well and you should trust what your seeing!  Your not describing a head twirl.

 Remember helping horses move straight is hard work for them and they need all your support and help. If your not succeeding move back a step of two in your training and get that better or change what your doing. Maybe you need to make your circle smaller or larger or maybe you need to walk right up with the horse around the circle to be able to actually touch him and help him out, etc., etc. Experiment with your position on the ground and your energy, sometimes we aren't in quite the right position relative to the horse.

 Also do you see in your minds eye what you want him to do? Not just for a moment but holding it there, changing as he does moment to moment?

Are you sending him that "straight, soft, released feeling"? Feel the straightness, the softness and the release in your self and send him that support.

 Enjoy your day!
          Adrienne

Pam
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 Posted: Thu Nov 1st, 2007 08:21 pm
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Adrienne,

Is "Doubling" the horse the same as head twirling? 

Thanks,

Pam

Adrienne from another computer
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 Posted: Thu Nov 1st, 2007 09:02 pm
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Hi Pam,

 I'm not familiar with the term "doubling"?  Is it bringing the nose around to the horse's side or the rider's knee??

 If it's an exercise that is for control, "flexibility" or "suppling" than I'd say no. From what I've seen of these exercises.

Head twirling isn't about getting bend in the neck, it's about asking the horse to relax is tight topline muscles and "let go" so he can rotate his skull on the end of his neck. The neck isn't where the bend starts and may not even bend at all depending on the degree of twirl your asking, the height of the neck and how much he releases. Head twirling is small, and is a release and not an exercise.

 All good movement starts with this release. Your horse can't collect without releasing first. He can't coil his loins if he doesn't let go of his topline muscles first.

 When we want our horse to carry us, move straight and in collection with free forward movement and sail through different movements like jumping, shoulder-in, canter depart, halting, transitions, roll backs, haunches-in, passage, etc. etc.all the while getting straighter, sounder and better for it,  we first need release of the topline that makes way for collection by coiling the loins, then we get it all working together and get collection. Collection is maintained by keeping the release, softness and balance. When we lose one we lose it all and get brace.

 So head twirling isn't just something we teach our horse or something we use as part of our exercise program it's how we help our horses release so they can collect and carry us and do exercises or movements. Does that make sense?

  Have a great day!
             Adrienne


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