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Julia Zdrojewska
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Posted: Sun Oct 9th, 2011 05:39 pm
I think I unscrumbled it. Dr X says that the abdominals and iliopsoas muscles work only when horse's legs are in the suspension phase (do they?) and the true carrying work is done by the horse when the leg is on the ground (that's obvious), therefore those muscles don't play any big role in carrying, not lifting the back. It looks like it really has been mistranslated.

Thank you for guiding me.

Maybe dr Deb should make a "dissection class" video? :) That would be a worldwide hit.

DrDeb
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Posted: Mon Oct 10th, 2011 05:56 am
Julia, the "dissection class video" you request is already available. It's called "Conformation Biomechanics" and you can buy it for $89.95 through our Bookstore section. Click on the "home" button above to begin.

And P.S., don't pay any attention to the term "carrying". Again, this is a distinction made by the modern German school. Dr. X may indeed be trying to do some good, and I believe you folks when you tell me you think he is, but you do need to realize that he is influenced by and fuddled by terms and concepts current in his own culture, and he will pollute you with those just as much as any other German.

The horse puts his foot down against the ground. He pushes down against the ground through that foot. In that moment, he also activates the iliopsoas complex and the rectus abdominis and longus colli, and he thereby rounds his back. How else do you think a horse could perform a levade -- while flying through the air??

Yes, during the trot or canter for example, when the horse is in the moment of suspension, then too he activates the iliopsoas complex and the other muscles, as part of the effort of hindlimb protraction. But the horse most certainly also uses these muscles, in coordination with the retractor muscles of the hind limb and the longissimus dorsi extensor of the back, when the contacting hind hoof is pressed against the ground.

A horse can only move forward when there is a contacting hind hoof. If neither hoof contacts, the horse is either standing in place kicking out backwards like a mule, or else he is walking forward entirely upon his forelimbs, i.e. 100% "on the forehand".

Normal forward locomotion in the horse (as well as in the human) involves a coordination between the hindlimb extensors (which push the contacting foot downward against the ground), the hindlimb retractors (which push the contacting foot backwards against the earth, and which thereby create forward movement of the body, as per Newton's Third Law), and the three abovenamed muscles which create and maintain roundness. If this were not so, not only would the horse not be able to make a levade, he would also not be able to walk forward in collection: for neither levade nor walk involve any period of suspension.

Now, I say 'normal' forward locomotion. ABNORMAL forward locomotion is very common. A healthy horse locomotes normally when at liberty and locomotes 'well' or 'beautifully' under saddle when effectively asked to do so by a skillful and sympathetic rider. Both when he locomotes normally, and when he locomotes beautifully, he is perceptibly 'round'. However, when he locomotes abnormally, he under-uses or totally does not use those muscles which cause him to round up -- and you better be aware that any horse can do this at any time, either when at liberty or when ridden by an unskillful, unknowledgeable, or unsympathetic rider. Any horse, at any gait, at any time can move without the effort that should be made at ALL moments to round up.

Don't get the idea from this, however, that 'the effort' is some kind of extreme. When the horse is soft, the effort required, even with the rider on the horse's back, is no big thing. The whole problem for the horse is that, the moment the rider gets on, their mere weight hyperstimulates the long dorsal muscles, tending to cause the animal to contract those muscles MORE than normal and thus overwhelm the minimal effort normally required by the ventral muscles which act to 'round the horse up'.

I am, of course, always very frustrated by the fact that it often takes riders so very long to hit onto how to get the right balance -- to "get the knack of it" -- even when they are trying their sincere best and have been for a number of years. I have a very good student in New Zealand who has a nice Arab mare that she's been bringing to my clinics for four or five years -- the mare being a classic example of a horse that will swing the legs pretty big and pretty freely, but not 'round up'. The rider has definitely made improvements but somehow the final breakthrough was not happening. I rarely offer to ride a student's horse but this spring when I was there, I just could not conscience letting it go on any longer, so I hopped on. Now I probably weigh twice what the lady that owns the horse does so you can bet your bottom buck that I am highly stimulating to that Arab mare's back muscles! Nonetheless, I am much MORE stimulating with the calves of my legs! It took quite a few firm thumps before the mare started to breathe right and turn loose to me. When she did, it was lovely to ride her....soft and round and easy to make straight....her nose below her knees....her ribcage flexing softly....her head easy to twirl....the rhythm just right 'under tempo' as we like it to be, elastic, soft.

Then I got off -- this took 20 minutes -- and the student got on. Not to be too gross, but you know I liken riding somebody else's horse to wearing their underwear. After ten seconds on that Arab mare I knew just where the rider's deficiencies and misunderstandings lay -- much better than I had known them by merely watching her ride the horse. And likewise, after she got on after I had ridden the mare, she was wearing my underwear and knew it. This is where the breakthrough must often lie; they can't get it by an explanation; they must get it by getting on the 'motorcycle' AFTER it has been properly warmed up and loosened. I had two teachers before I met Ray Hunt who would regularly do this for me, and it made all the difference in my being prepared to truly appreciate all that Ray was, once I did meet him.

This, by the way, is MUCH more important than figuring out what Dr. X did or did not say or mean. -- Dr. Deb

Julia Zdrojewska
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Posted: Mon Oct 10th, 2011 06:01 pm
Thank you! Lot's to think about, as always :) And I already have Conformation Biomechanics - I was just thinking about something more like The Anatomy Lesson of dr. X.

MtnHorse
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Posted: Mon Oct 10th, 2011 11:12 pm
DrDeb wrote: I am, of course, always very frustrated by the fact that it often takes riders so very long to hit onto how to get the right balance -- to "get the knack of it" -- . . . . . Not to be too gross, but you know I liken riding somebody else's horse to wearing their underwear. After ten seconds on that Arab mare I knew just where the rider's deficiencies and misunderstandings lay -- much better than I had known them by merely watching her ride the horse.
 

So Dr Deb, if I understand this correctly, you feel you can best tell a person’s deficiencies and misunderstandings by wearing their underwear?  Thank goodness you didn’t go into psychology.  To tell you the truth, I don’t think you should offer this advice to your friends that are in the field either, although it might replace the couch.

Sorry for the crass humor but I simply couldn’t resist.  Now to write something that can add to this thread, I was directed to an article in the Knowledge Base about April of this year.  With a little study and application of ideas, my horses are starting to get the hang of lateral flexion and I am struggling my way through directing their mind and being more mindful of their self preservation instinct.  The last few weeks I tried showing the horse to the ground and transitioning up to the canter.  Recently, my young Saddlebred rounded up and stayed that way through the rest of a fairly short ride.

I am sure that much of this was pretty rough and dirty and you would probably have rolled your eyes at how inept I am.  Not one bit of it has been done in an arena.  Like a horse, I try about every wrong way, then I finally go back and read the directions again.  The Saddlebred still feels stiff in the pole. . . . but he got it.  I have felt that other times over the years but had no real idea how to keep it consistently.

I guess what I am saying is don’t get too frustrated, because some of us are getting it.

Now what did you mean when you said the Mare started to breathe right?

 

DrDeb
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Posted: Tue Oct 11th, 2011 05:13 am
I mean she started to breathe in time with her steps.
Julia Zdrojewska
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Posted: Tue Oct 11th, 2011 12:08 pm
I'm not sure if I can post a link (maybe if dr Deb approves), but there is a dissection of a horse movie by Channel 4 called "Inside The Nature's Giants - The Racehorse". I think that some of the students that didn't attend dr Deb's anatomy class could find it interesting.

DrDeb
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Posted: Tue Oct 11th, 2011 06:42 pm
Yes, you can post a link to such a program, Julia.
Julia Zdrojewska
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Posted: Wed Oct 12th, 2011 12:21 am
http://www.videozer.com/video/q4rqhW

Enjoy!


bespotted
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Posted: Wed Oct 12th, 2011 04:00 pm
Julia,

Thank you for the link. It was very interesting!

 

Latina

Blaze
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Posted: Wed Oct 12th, 2011 04:14 pm
Thanks for sharing.

I was amazed at how enormous the lungs & heart are.
Julia Zdrojewska
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Posted: Wed Oct 12th, 2011 04:57 pm
Yes, it was amazing how huge they were. Still I would like to see the muscles of the neck, back and hindquarters. Disscusing racehorse's superpowers ignoring hindquarters is a bit like reviewing a ferrari without looking under it's mask, isn't it?

Maybe I'm a sissy, but I've cried seeing the horses brake their legs and collapse. It's the sadest thing on earth to see someting like that. I've read somewhere that it is often the result of the selective breeding with ignoring the circumference of the cannon bones factor (or even breeding horses for 'light legs'). Or maybe it's of no significance and bone cracking like that is just the risk that applies to all the racehorses?



DrDeb
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Posted: Wed Oct 12th, 2011 07:04 pm
Julia, please go to "Knowledge Base" and read the "Ranger" paper. -- Dr. Deb
Debbie Turk
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Posted: Thu Oct 13th, 2011 01:20 pm
That was really great to watch, thanks for the link. What caught my eye was the close up of the galloping horse in the short running martingale and how that showed him bracing up against the reins instead of dropping his head for the last part of the stride. I couldn't replay the video to see at exactly what time in the show it was and review it, but remember wanting to see the horse put his head down further to get the last stretch out of his stride.

You would have to wonder why they would use them, as the rider had his hands up following the level of the head, but the martingale prevented the rider from actually being able to help the horse and follow the movement of the head and neck.

I have never liked martingales but this clip just totally brought home to me why they should have no place in your tack room :-)

Debbie
Annie F
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Posted: Sun Oct 16th, 2011 04:28 am
Thank you, Julia. I can understand why Dr. Deb so strongly encourages students to take her dissection class. This elevates one's understanding of "how a horse works" to a whole new level.

Annie F

Dorinda
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Posted: Wed Oct 19th, 2011 08:32 am
Thanks Julia

 

I thought that this was well done and I hadn't realised what a tough little muscle the Biceps brachii was and what a difference it can make in the stride length.  Learning all the time. The other thing that I always struggled with was picturing that Larynx and how it all worked. Now I have a much better understanding of its function. I can see now why when a horse's head is 'pulled back by the rider that it would struggle to breathe

 

Cheers

Dorinda




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