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The Long and Low Position
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iwanttolearn
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 Posted: Wed Aug 22nd, 2018 05:55 pm
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Hi there,

There seems to be rather a lot of debate about the'long and low' head neck position (poll below the withers, nose in front of the vertical). Some say it elongates the neck and spine, stretches the topline, helps the horse step under itself (perhaps better 'coil the loins' and close the angle of the hip), and lifts the base of the neck (it is this last thing which I have doubts about). It is this line of reasoning that would suggest that the 'long and low' position is paramount to a young horse's education under saddle, and that the horse must be worked 'long and low' before it can come up with the poll above the withers.
There are others that say it does not belong in ridden work at all. In particular, Jean Luc Cornille argues that the 'long and low' position can a) increase the concussive forces that travel through the forelimbs and b) is detrimental to a horse's ability to absorb these (increased) concussive forces in the forelimbs.

I have also heard that the increased amplitude of oscillation in the spine that is associated with the 'long and low' position is negative because it indicates that the muscles in the horse's back are inactive and thus not doing their job to a) stabilize the spine and b) absorb/translate the force of the hind end.

I do have a good understanding of ring theory, and I know that you state that 'stretching' and 'relaxation' of the muscles above the spinal vertebrae are paramount to a rounding of the back, so as to support the rider's weight, but I'm curious as to whether or not you think that this relaxation should be mechanically induced with the 'long and low' position.



Thank you so much, I hope that this post is comprehensible to you.

Sincerely,

Anne-Marie Robinson
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Age 16

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DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Aug 23rd, 2018 03:43 pm
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Well, Anne-Marie, the single most encouraging thing about your post is your online moniker: "I wanna learn." That's good. Much better than if you'd said "I want you to spoon-feed me the answers." In short it implies that you might be willing to take some initiative in solving your quandaries.

The most humorous thing about your post is your closing. I got a real laugh out of that. My dear, what did you think? That I might have difficulty understanding current standard English? I'm only too happy to have a sixteen year old come in here who isn't doing newspeak or newspell, i.e. like people do when texting. Nice to have a person your age who is actually literate.

That having been said, however, I now need to ask you what your favorite subject(s) in school are. Particularly, how much does biology figure among your interests? Because as a teacher, at this point in order to help you, I need to find out what sort of language I need to use in order to teach you.

Not to make too great a mystery out of it, but finding out how interested in biology you have been, and how much reading in basic physiology and anatomy you might have done, is important because much of the answer to your query will involve your gaining an understanding of the true nature of tendon tissue. This is a lecture segment which I regularly give in the context of my anatomy classes; but another one of those will probably not be scheduled for a goodly while, and so we'll have to handle it here rather than insist that you come attend a class. This will be the class. And those reading here besides yourself, anyone who has wondered about this so-called controversy about 'long and low,' well, you can follow along and kibbutz as you feel like.

But first let's let Anne-Marie tell us a little about her interests outside of the stable. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

iwanttolearn
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 Posted: Thu Aug 23rd, 2018 04:35 pm
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Hi Dr Deb,

Not the answer I was expecting, but if I am surprised it is pleasantly so.

I am glad on principle that you would not have me attend your lecture in order to get the answer to my question... But actually I would like to attend a class of yours at some point! In fact I think you are coming to Kamloops BC on another but equally interesting topic. I will try to make it!

Anyways, about me (I get to talk about myself, how gratifying!). I do very much like biology although I am actually more fascinated by evolution/adaption than by anatomy. I guess I would rather know why than how. A lot of equine biomechanics is about the 'how', but it answers 'why' I should use one training method over another.

I'm also surprised that you mentioned tendons and not ligaments. Seeing as it is the dorso-ligament system that acts as a bungee cord across the horse's back. And then you talked about it a little bit in the paper on the Ring Model. Words that come to mind are the ligamentous livestiture and the 'freespan of the back'

But I guess it makes sense that we would be looking at tendons because tendons are the middle man between muscle and bone, and I suppose it is this relationship that we concern ourselves in examining the long and low conundrum.

My understanding: I do understand some about tendons and a little bit about collagen fibers. I know that they store elastic energy, and from what I understand, tendons play a pretty significant role in the abduction of the leg, ei pulling the leg forwards after the hoof has left the ground.

And I have Sara Wyche's book entitled The Horse's Muscles In Motion although I confess a lot of it goes over my head.

Hopefully I'm on the right track. Please excuse any typos, I am rushing off to work now!

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Aug 24th, 2018 12:03 am
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OK, Anne-Marie, you've given me enough information so that I know where it would be useful to begin with you.

So, your first homework:

1. Define the word "tendon".

2. Define the word "ligament".

3. State three differences -- structural or functional -- between tendon and ligament.

There are a number of anatomical dictionaries online which you can use to answer this. DO NOT use the Pony Club manual.

Cheers -- Dr. Deb

iwanttolearn
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 Posted: Fri Aug 24th, 2018 12:49 am
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1. Tendon: a flexible but inelastic cord of strong fibrous collagen tissue attaching a muscle to a bone
2. Ligament: a short band of tough, flexible, fibrous connective tissue that connects two bones or cartilages or holds together a joint.
3.
a) Tendons attach muscle to bone, whereas ligaments articulate bone to bone
b) Ligaments have much less give than tendons. Ligaments need to hold bones or cartilages relatively close together while still allowing for a certain degree of movement. Tendons afford more elasticity (presumably) because muscles are quite a bit more dynamic than bone.
c) Functionally they serve different purposes. Tendons transmit force from muscle to bone. Ligaments support and stabilize joints between bones.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Aug 24th, 2018 03:18 am
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OK, very good, copied from the textbook. This is, as the old saying goes, what the 'B' student does. Now let us proceed to doing what the 'A' student does:

Please define 'attach', as in 'tendon attaches muscle to bone.' What sort of attachment is it, exactly? This will be much harder for you to research, so Anne-Marie, do not get discouraged and do not feel that you've failed if it should be necessary for you to simply say, 'I don't know, and I can't find that answer in any textbook.' Cheers -- Dr. Deb

iwanttolearn
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 Posted: Fri Aug 24th, 2018 03:28 am
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I feel you are being a bit condescending.

I respect your work but having read through the forums, I don't like the way you go about answering people's questions.

You obviously feel quite superior to us mere mortals. I don't know if you're aware but you can be incredibly condescending.

I applaud you for spending the time.

I will continue my research on my own.


Best of luck,

Anne-Marie

Last edited on Fri Aug 24th, 2018 03:29 am by iwanttolearn

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Aug 24th, 2018 04:21 am
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Ahh yes! How quickly they do give up when they can't be "right" 100% of the time!

Condescending I am not -- that's YOUR projection, Anne-Marie -- but I AM a teacher and, as you wrote in here asking to be taught and declaring that you would be willing to take initiative in learning basics yourself, then I have begun by asking you to catch up on those very basics, without which you will continue merely to repeat without really understanding what they mean, some words and phrases which you have read in books, which are current on the 'net or at the stable, or which you think "important" people have said. With a little more experience, you will -- or might have if you had been willing to hang in here instead of wimping out -- learned that many people in the horse industry, who are considered 'authorities', know no more about those same words and phrases than you do. In other words, one says it and the other repeats it, but the meaning is not clear to any of them.

So Anne-Marie, when you get over your little snit, you will be welcome to come back here but at that point, I will definitely require that you stop reading any sort of negativity into my efforts to help you. Many people, yes even adults, are prone to doing this, but it's totally unnecessary, quite unjust toward me, and leaves you with the same questions (unanswered) that you came in with. As Dr. Phil would say: how's that working out for you?

When you stop trying to tell the teacher how you would like to be taught, and when you stop demanding that the teacher be some way you had imagined, but simply and quietly resolve to BE taught by the teacher, whoever she is, just as she is -- and when you resolve to make the necessary effort to look up and/or think up the correct answers, one after another, over a long period of schooling -- then your days of teenaged hubris will be over, and you will have shown me and everyone else that you've achieved a higher degree of maturity.

In just a very few years, Anne-Marie, you're going to have a boss. How do you think it's going to go down when you tell the boss how you'd like HER to be, or what she can ask of you???? A little poverty, a little worry over whether the mortgage payment is going to get paid, or where the next meal is coming from, might not hurt you and many other teenaged children! I'd prefer to see all teenagers grow up to be successess in life, and my resolution has always been to help them when I can, just as I am helping you at this moment. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

iwanttolearn
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 Posted: Sat Aug 25th, 2018 04:24 am
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I actually work 25 hours a week on top of school to pay for a horse that I bought without ant financial support from my parents. I do have a boss and I do respect my boss, and I do pay bills and I am constantly worrying about money. I want the best for my horse. I want to bring him up in a way that will teach him to use his body correctly so that he may be free of pain.
At any rate, this isn't about me being right. If you'd like to discuss it further, and I'm not sure you do, this is about how you responded to my comment about Hilary Clayton's study, which was a valid study with valid results. I have a scientific mind. I like to look at all evidence and formulate a conclusion. The way you responded was not productive. You basically said it's my way or the highway. Anyways, I don't know how else you expect me to gain preliminary information on the topic if not by looking at textbooks. After all, I've not done dissections nor gone to university. I don't have a PHD. How else am I supposed to get this information?

And finally, yes there are many so called authorities in this field and, as far as I'm concerned, you are only one of them.

This is my horse. I love him to death and I will do right by him. If that means reading every functional equine biomechanics textbook there is, so be it. I'll read Hilary Clinton's and Jean Luc Conrnille's and Sara Wyche's and Thomas Ritter's. I'll take lessons and clinics and I can be wrong and humble as long as my teachers can do the same, because you do not seem to even want to entertain the idea that there has been scientific research done that contradicts your own conclusions regarding bitting.

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DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Aug 25th, 2018 05:11 am
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Anne-Marie, all fine and I'm glad to hear you're a working girl. My first boss, when I was your age, was very tolerant of me as well.

However, you're wrong about 'what this correspondence with Dr. Deb is about'. Whether you like, or dislike, my teaching style is not going to make a single iota of difference, just as whether you like, or dislike your boss isn't going to make an iota of difference to her either. So I am tolerating you, and forgiving you for being young, inexperienced, and full of shit -- just as your boss also is.

The bottom line is that if you want an answer from me, then you will have to work with me, whether you like me, or think that you like me, or not. If that doesn't suit you, there are as you say, others you can go to (who will undoubtedly teach you in other ways, and give you other kinds of answers).

So as I said to you in the other thread -- you can quit whining, and you can quit psychoanalyzing, and when you do that, and you come back here ready for business -- then we can do some business, which will primarily be "about" teaching you how to reason your own way through the question you've asked, rather than relying for answers upon any "authority", including my own. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

iwanttolearn
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 Posted: Sat Aug 25th, 2018 05:36 am
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You are wrong on so many levels.

Liking your boss makes a world of difference.

And I am not whining or psychoanalyzing.

Fortunately you are neither my boss, nor my mother.

Again, thank you for your time, but I will go elsewhere. It is not your 'teaching methods' I take issue with, but you seem incapable of understanding this.

I wish you the best of luck, really I do. For we are two strangers on separate sides of the world. You do not know me, and I do not know you. Perhaps you are a lovely person at heart.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Aug 25th, 2018 08:14 am
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....but it doesn't, of course, as you now know from the other thread, Anne-Marie. You don't have to read everything written on horsemanship, and you couldn't even if you tried, because the subject is more than 3,000 years old, has writings in languages such as Japanese or Persian that you can't read. After the Bible, since the adoption of the movable-type press in Europe (ca. A.D. 1500), more books have been written about horses than about any other single topic. If you want to be an hippologist (I am one, it's a rare breed) then yes indeed, you will collect a large library of books on all aspects relating to horses, but it'll never be fully comprehensive.

But this is the labor of years, and it is also a labor that relates to having been called by God to do that, i.e., it evolves as your "calling in life." I imagine in reality you will have a different calling. So don't take anything to extremes; what you came in here for was to ask a question about 'long and low', and our focus ought to be on that.

I still need you to answer the last questions I asked before we can proceed further. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

iwanttolearn
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 Posted: Sun Aug 26th, 2018 02:18 am
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Very well, onwards and upwards. I have been advised by a friendly stranger to continue with my inquiry, so I will.


So last you said: Please define 'attach', as in 'tendon attaches muscle to bone.' What sort of attachment is it, exactly?
(I will ignore the thing you said after it, although it did hurt my feelings)

I googled the answer. Anyway, I think you're talking about entheses, defined by good ol' Wikipedia as "the connective tissue between tendon or ligament and bone". There are apparently two types, fibrous entheses and fibrocartilaginous entheses. Evidently fibrous enthesis is a direct connection, connective tissue against bone, black and white.
Fibrocartilaginous entheses is more like a gradual transformation, with layers that are not quite tendon and not quite bone.

Anyways, I'm thinking that we are now getting to the relevant information. Which is: you can look for damage at in entheses to "to infer repetitive loading" patterns. At least that is my understanding.

So I'm guessing that, other variables and technicalities aside: if long and low caused damage, we would see anomalies at enthesis sites of the front legs and in the backs of horses worked this way, and osteoarthritis of the bones themselves.

But just thinking about it right now, I think it would be hard to know if it was specifically 'long and low' that caused any of these changes, versus conformation or even just the presence of the rider's weight above the forehand in ridden work. Unless there is a specific pattern that you could look for.

There does appear to be some criticism towards this area of research, I think mostly in the context of trying to guess the occupations of ancient societies by looking for entheseal changes. It seems like a very complicated thing to study with a lot of different factors that should be weighed.

That's all I found. I think I fell of the trail of the easter egg hunt. I don't know where to go from here to find the answer to my question.

iwanttolearn
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 Posted: Sun Aug 26th, 2018 02:18 am
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Very well, onwards and upwards. I have been advised by a friendly stranger to continue with my inquiry, so I will.


So last you said: Please define 'attach', as in 'tendon attaches muscle to bone.' What sort of attachment is it, exactly?
(I will ignore the thing you said after it, although it did hurt my feelings)

I googled the answer. Anyway, I think you're talking about entheses, defined by good ol' Wikipedia as "the connective tissue between tendon or ligament and bone". There are apparently two types, fibrous entheses and fibrocartilaginous entheses. Evidently fibrous enthesis is a direct connection, connective tissue against bone, black and white.
Fibrocartilaginous entheses is more like a gradual transformation, with layers that are not quite tendon and not quite bone.

Anyways, I'm thinking that we are now getting to the relevant information. Which is: you can look for damage at in entheses to "to infer repetitive loading" patterns. At least that is my understanding.

So I'm guessing that, other variables and technicalities aside: if long and low caused damage, we would see anomalies at enthesis sites of the front legs and in the backs of horses worked this way, and osteoarthritis of the bones themselves.

But just thinking about it right now, I think it would be hard to know if it was specifically 'long and low' that caused any of these changes, versus conformation or even just the presence of the rider's weight above the forehand in ridden work. Unless there is a specific pattern that you could look for.

There does appear to be some criticism towards this area of research, I think mostly in the context of trying to guess the occupations of ancient societies by looking for entheseal changes. It seems like a very complicated thing to study with a lot of different factors that should be weighed.

That's all I found. I think I fell of the trail of the easter egg hunt. I don't know where to go from here to find the answer to my question.

iwanttolearn
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 Posted: Sun Aug 26th, 2018 02:18 am
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Very well, onwards and upwards. I have been advised by a friendly stranger to continue with my inquiry, so I will.


So last you said: Please define 'attach', as in 'tendon attaches muscle to bone.' What sort of attachment is it, exactly?
(I will ignore the thing you said after it, although it did hurt my feelings)

I googled the answer. Anyway, I think you're talking about entheses, defined by good ol' Wikipedia as "the connective tissue between tendon or ligament and bone". There are apparently two types, fibrous entheses and fibrocartilaginous entheses. Evidently fibrous enthesis is a direct connection, connective tissue against bone, black and white.
Fibrocartilaginous entheses is more like a gradual transformation, with layers that are not quite tendon and not quite bone.

Anyways, I'm thinking that we are now getting to the relevant information. Which is: you can look for damage at in entheses to "to infer repetitive loading" patterns. At least that is my understanding.

So I'm guessing that, other variables and technicalities aside: if long and low caused damage, we would see anomalies at enthesis sites of the front legs and in the backs of horses worked this way, and osteoarthritis of the bones themselves.

But just thinking about it right now, I think it would be hard to know if it was specifically 'long and low' that caused any of these changes, versus conformation or even just the presence of the rider's weight above the forehand in ridden work. Unless there is a specific pattern that you could look for.

There does appear to be some criticism towards this area of research, I think mostly in the context of trying to guess the occupations of ancient societies by looking for entheseal changes. It seems like a very complicated thing to study with a lot of different factors that should be weighed.

That's all I found. I think I fell of the trail of the easter egg hunt. I don't know where to go from here to find the answer to my question.


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