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T Tyree
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Posted: Mon Jan 25th, 2021 06:21 pm
Thank you for your observations.

I had my concerns that is might be a check ligament - so this is not totally a shock.

however if I want to recoup some of the money I paid for him. I truely believe the owner did not know there would be an ongoing issue with him, but she did NOT disclose the fact he had a suspensory injury until after I took him to the vets for x-rays - I keep in contact with her.

He is not capable of performing as a schoolmaster as was advertised. So I feel I need some proof to show her - but I'll discuss it and see how we go.

I haven't ridden him for a month now - as although my vet said ok to ride - I could see he was in discomfort.
Kuhaylan Heify
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Posted: Wed Jan 27th, 2021 02:28 pm
Deb: How does incorrect form in the extended trot cause the front end reciprocating system to break down?
best
Bruce Peek
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Posted: Wed Jan 27th, 2021 08:59 pm
Welcome to the Forum, Tracey and thank you for sharing all this information. I am sorry the horse is to be retired but such is Life. He is very handsome. Good Luck for the future.

Looks like there is a tonne more stuff for me to read in the AFJ. I am relooking at hooves and conformation, about to get all the books out and start photographing. It would appear I have been making a lot of mistakes in my trimming and assessment of my horses so here goes another learning curve!!

Keep safe everyone. Cheers Judy
DrDeb
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Posted: Wed Jan 27th, 2021 10:00 pm
Bruce, an excellent question and one which I was hoping someone would ask. Look at the illustration that appears below, and then also at the two posts which follow. The illustration below shows the essential anatomy of the forelimb.

Note the flexed posture of the "knee" (carpus) joint. At the same time, note that the horse still has the heels of its hoof in contact with the ground.

This is the one and only position which the forelimb can adopt which simultaneously puts strain on the suspensory while slacking the flexor tendons (which is why the knee can be flexed: the check ligaments attach from the flexor tendons to the back of the carpus and the back of the distal forearm. If the flexors are tensioned, as they normally would be when the horse is standing or moving normally, the downward pull that the horse's weight coming into the ankles would depress the ankle joints and thus, via the check ligaments, also hold the knee firmly back. If you don't understand this, then you need to study the AFJ article with the biomechanical model of forelimb reciprocation in it. If anyone does not have access to this article and wants it, you may EMail our office at office@equinestudies.org and we will send you the .pdf).

The most common reason that the horse's knee would be flexed like this in movement, giving the characteristic "kinked" appearance to the forelimb, is that the hoof trim is out of balance in the manner of "long toe, low heel". This delays the breakover enough to "pin" the heels to the ground, and the horse compensates by bending its knees (exactly what will happen if you try to go walking about in swim fins; not only will you find it difficult to pick your heels up, you'll also find out that the only way to accomplish that at all is to flex your knees. This is also why Birkenstock-type shoes and sandals can be therapeutic. Their key design is that the shoe sits your heel lower than the ball of your foot, and thus forces you not to stand and walk with locked knees. But don't get confused! It's great for humans to NOT walk with locked knees; but the proper way for the horse's forelimb to function is for the carpus to be locked in a straight-open position until the heels come off the ground and there is the moment of breakover, at which instant ALL of the joints of the forelimb flex -- every joint from the shoulder down to the coffin joint.

My point here is that if the hoof is out of AP balance -- "long toe, low heel" -- then it would not matter how good or godawful the rider's philosophy of what is proper to demand of the horse is, he's going to have trouble picking his heels up and the breakover is going to be delayed.

But that is not, unfortunately, the only reason why breakover is delayed in many cases. Many times we can observe that the horse has had meticulous and very appropriate trimming and/or farriery, and yet we can regularly catch him in this dangerous posture, which again please note is the one and only position in which the forelimb can be placed which puts strain on the suspensory apparatus while simultaneously slacking the flexors/checks. This "other" reason is that the rider's philosophy sucks, and the whole training protocol that she has spent money to purchase sucks, because it says "the horse must GO MORE FORWARD". The attempt to achieve this impossibility -- the totally wrong picture that the rider has in her mind as she goes out to start a practice ride -- causes her to constantly push the horse off its balance from back to front. In short it causes the rider to push the horse "onto the forehand", and the tilted-forward balance that this creates will also easily hold the heels down and delay the breakover.

The worst and most dangerous moment that we see in all of riding, including racing and Tennessee Walking Horses with weights, stacks, chains and caustics, is where the competitive dressage people ask their horses for "extended" trot. It has been many years since I observed an actual extension of stride exhibited at any dressage show; so that nowadays what is regularly rewarded with first place is the horse with a huge fore STEP and no extension of STRIDE at all (you understand, the two are completely incompatible). To the next post I attach two examples -- one, Alois Podhajsky on his Maestoso Alea performing an "extended" trot (Podhajsky was not a very good trainer or rider, although he was an important Nazi officer); vs. an image of Lendon Gray on "Seldom Seen" actually performing an extension of stride. Now, again, if you do not understand this -- and I expect most people reading this will not understand it because they don't understand that there is a difference between extension of STEP and extension of STRIDE, then you need to EMail our office and make arrangements to purchase the Conformation Workbook which explains this clearly and in detail. The book costs $35 to any address in the U.S. or APO; outside the U.S. postage will be added. Our EMail address for this information once again is office@equinestudies.org.

Lest, however, I be accused of just hating competitive dressage -- I don't just hate competitive dressage, I hate LOTS of things that can be seen at an all-breed, all-styles horse show or expo -- then in the last post following I present a drawing of a Western Pleasure competitor with the same "kinked" dangerous forelimb position (the image taken, as almost all of my drawings are, directly from photos which I have taken; but I make them into drawings so that neither the rider nor the horse can be identified). The WP horse is just as much "on the forehand" as the dressage horse; however, he's in somewhat less danger of actually tearing a suspensory than the dressage horse is, because he is moving rather slowly. As force increases, the danger to tensioned bodyparts increases dramatically.

So, to repeat again: the "kinked" posture of the forelimb is the one and only position in which the forelimb can be placed that simultaneously tensions the suspensory apparatus while slacking the flexor tendons. Why is this so dangerous? Because it is the flexor bundle, not the suspensory, which supports the horse's ankle. If you were to cut through the flexors (or seriously tear/bow even one of the flexor tendons), the only structure remaining that can keep the ankle from descending all the way to the ground is the suspensory apparatus; but the suspensory apparatus is in fact too weak to do this. Therefore, if on Step One the horse tears one or both flexors, on the very next step he will also tear the suspensory apparatus in that limb.

Tracey, our original questioner in this thread, informs us that her gelding is an "advanced level" dressage horse, in other words, has been in competitions and has undoubtedly been trained to win: and what wins in the show-ring today is extension of STEP not extension of STRIDE, and thus my surmise that it is the incorrect training of the horse, the wrong philosophy, the wrong mental picture which prevails in that corner of the equestrian world, which originally ruined her horse (as it has also ruined many other horses). And hence I challenged her, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as to whether she has her own professional groom and private on-call veterinarian, so that after every training session she can get off and let them then set the horse up with all kinds of bandages and liniments and scan him for tissue damage and whatnot. Because that is what you are going to have to do if you compete at high levels in that venue; and even then, your horse will likely be retired (as Tracey's has been) after only a few years.

What I would say to Tracey, and to everybody, is this: you don't need to buy a "schoolmaster." That's a suggestion mighty handy to professional competitors who have three or four damaged horses to get rid of at any given time. What you DO need is to learn how to ride properly, so that you have a philosophy that is rooted in the actual biology of the horse, and so that you have the proper mental picture as you go out for each day's training or riding session.

And that begins with utterly and totally erasing the concept of "the horse needs to go more FORWARD." I have yet to meet any horse that needed to go more forward. If he is walking around in his paddock, is he not going forward? What! Are you going to tell me you have a horse that only goes backwards or sideways when he's let loose? Geez, I'd like to see a video of THAT!

So you don't concern yourself with whether he goes forward; assuming he's a normal, healthy horse he LOVES to move and most of it will be in a forward direction. But the moment you ask a horse to go faster than it wants to, or if you ask it to take a longer hind step than comes natural to it at the stage of training it is in, you will knock the horse off balance from back to front; you will cause him to PUSH himself off balance. And yet didn't you tell me that you thought the horse ought to work off the hindquarter?

"To work off the hindquarter" means to WEIGHT the hindquarter, just as to be "on the forehand" means to cause the forehand to carry more WEIGHT. So if you want the horse to work off the hindquarter, you must not permit him to advance by throwing his weight to the front, transferring it to the front, dumping it into the forehand -- however you want to express that. To learn how to ride a horse this way is well explained by Mike Schaffer in all of his printed books and E-books: and you need to go study those and FORGET EVERYTHING that the Germans (and worse, the Americans who like to pretend that they are German) tell you.

This should be enough explanation to answer Bruce's question and I also hope, to set the more dedicated students who read here in quest of the three resources I have named:

1. Mike Schaffer's books
2. The Conformation Workbook
3. The American Farriers' Journal article explaining the reciprocating apparatus (often called the "stay apparatus") of the equine forelimb.

Happy riding, y'all. Achieving so-called "upper levels" is extremely easy once you know how, and you'll find that most ordinary horses -- so long as they are cheerful and willing and you keep them that way -- are capable of it. -- Dr. Deb


Attachment: How to Tear or Pull a Suspensory Anatomy1.jpg


DrDeb
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Posted: Wed Jan 27th, 2021 10:14 pm
Alois Podhajsky performing a quote-unquote "extended" trot. In fact, the only thing his horse is extending is its free foreleg. Note the kinked posture of the contacting forelimb.
Note also that the "V" formed between the two forelimbs is larger than the "V" formed between the two hindlimbs. This is a handy visual way to tell that there is more weight being borne by the forehand than by the hindquarter.

Attachment: How to Tear or Pull Suspensory Podhajsky1.jpg


DrDeb
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Posted: Wed Jan 27th, 2021 10:18 pm
A drawing of Lendon Gray performing a real extension of stride (also called an "extended trot" which is just short for "extension of stride at the trot") upon her multi-champion gelding Seldom Seen. Extension of stride happens during FLIGHT -- the period of time when the horse has no feet on the ground, also called the "period of suspension". Compare this image to illustrations in Podhajsky's "The Complete Training of Horse and Rider" or in Wynmalen's books (Wynmalen was Podhajsky's student). These guys both were terrible riders, but they were literate so they certainly "talk the talk"; however they don't "walk the walk", as proven by the previous photo.

Attachment: How to Tear or Pull a Suspensory Lendon Gray1.jpg


DrDeb
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Posted: Wed Jan 27th, 2021 10:23 pm
A drawing of a contemporary dressage competitor executing, in an even more extreme form than demonstrated by Podhajsky, an incorrect philosophy and damaging process of training.

Attachment: How to Tear or Pull Suspensory Dressage1.jpg


DrDeb
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Posted: Wed Jan 27th, 2021 10:25 pm
The wrong philosophy in Western Pleasure is to confuse collection with slow forward movement. The horse below is collected in no sense whatsoever. For more on this topic....somebody needs to write in and ask.

Attachment: How to Tear or Pull Suspensory WPleasure1.jpg


Kuhaylan Heify
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Posted: Thu Jan 28th, 2021 02:10 am
Dr. Deb: The line drawing of Lendon Gray looks like one of my old instructors who rode Lippizans.. So the dead giveaways are flicking and smaller hind leg vees than front leg vees..
best
Bruce Peek
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Posted: Fri Jan 29th, 2021 05:46 pm
Just been mulling over the trot that has one leg on the ground beside the ugly one with horse being pushed 'more forward'. Perhaps the Tolt or the Faux/Fox Trot?

Yes please to more info on the WP horse, to me he looks flat, no coiling of the loins or raising the base of the neck.

The images of the front legs in the AFJ are very timely. I have been over trimming the heels in my horses/ponies and one mare in particular is now very reluctant to stand on her heels. The drawings make it all so obvious as to how important it is for her to get comfortable loading her heels for her future soundness.

Kind Regards
Judy
T Tyree
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Posted: Fri Jan 29th, 2021 11:17 pm
Also note the WP horse has every limited muscle tone in the hind end and a hunters bump (that's what we call it) - obviously very on forehand,

Both incorrect horses have uneven hoof positions while in the air - I hope that makes sense - so I mean one leg maybe touching the ground prior to the diagonal leg touching down
DrDeb
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Posted: Sat Jan 30th, 2021 01:20 am
Tracey, the QH does not have a "hunter's bump"; they're just often built that way, with more downward slope to the croup. More important to notice is the relatively stiff and slightly hollow back, and the neck -- the base of the neck is not lifted, as Judy pointed out, and also it's showing "broken necked" posture, which implies rigidity at the poll. And Judy also pointed out that the horse is "flat", meaning that although the leg-coordination is nominally that of a trot with diagonal pairs working simultaneously, it is not really a trot but rather a stepping-trot or nonsuspended trot. By definition a true trot has two periods of suspension per stride, and FOUR (not two) beats (two sounded beats, and two unsounded beats which are the periods of suspension, equivalent to rests in musical notation. Rests still count when calculating the time signature, and the period of suspension is by far the most important moment in any gait for the rider to be accurately aware of; it is to develop this skill that we count cadence in every practice ride).

But yes, when horses move incorrectly one key sign is the unevenness of the foot positions, in almost any position where you happen to stop the film for analysis.

Which brings up another point: the near-uselessness of video -- until the student's "eye" is far more developed, you will not be aware of what, specifically, to look AT or check for. And more, you will find that even as I continue to point out to you what to look "at" or check "for", you won't be able to actually SEE it in either regular-speed or even slo-mo video because your eye is not fast enough.

The one and only way for the student to learn gait is to begin with study of single, still frames; and from there proceed to sets of three or five or seven still frames, like an old-fashioned "film strip".

I began this way, back in the 1970's. I had very little money, but one day at a yard sale I came across an old 8 mm Bell & Howell camera-projector combo for $5. It was good because it did not run on batteries, nor either by electricity, but instead you wound it up with a crank!

Then I also, at another yard sale, found one of those old-fashioned office desks, a monstrous old thing made of oak, from the era of the manual typewriter. They used to make those desks with a hole in the top and then there was this kind of swinging truck or trap-door to which the typewriter was bolted. When you weren't using the typewriter the idea was that it would swing down beneath, and then there was a cover that fitted the hole exactly -- sewing machines used to be made this way, too.

So I used these parts to build myself a film analyzer. I went up to the museum and my buddy who ran the fossil prep lab took a piece of heavy glass, to the exact size of the hole in the desk, and used the air dent machine to smoke the glass for me. He also gave me a set of heavyweight lab slides, five or six of them because they do break, but they were needed to put into the camera between the film and the projection light so as to keep the film from burning.

And then I built myself a click-type foot switch, like a little mechanical finger mounted against the camera so that when I stepped on the switch, the camera would advance one frame at a time. I mounted the camera on the typewriter truck with the lens pointing upward at the underside of the smoked glass.

Then I got an animator's peg off a friend in the art department -- an animator's peg is a strip of plastic with three pegs sticking up, which will hold a sheet of smoked acetate or else tracing paper so that successive sheets register exactly.

Then I went to work, taking the camera out to every different stable and asking people if they would let me take a short film of their horse doing whatever -- there were lame ones, horses with wierd gaits, and horses with sort of normal ways of moving at walk, trot, canter, slow-gait and rack (no tolt -- there were not yet any Icelandic horses in Kansas at the time, and no paso gaits either, for the same reason).

I then had the films developed -- this was expensive so it took months to get done, because I could only afford to do about three reels per month. So as I got a developed reel, I would put it into the camera, clip it into its brackets pointing upward at the smoked glass, fix up the mechanical finger/foot switch, put a piece of tracing paper on the animator's peg, sharpen a pencil, and then I would trace the image of the first frame.

This required fast work because the projection light is quite hot -- so even with the extra glass slide in there, I only had maybe two minutes with each frame before the hot light would start to burn a hole in the film. Then I would advance to the next frame, and the next, and so on.

The result was a stack of perfectly accurate tracings which were projections, and thus much larger, than the tiny 8 mm frames. I then inked the tracings and each stack then represented the gait of that horse.

I did about 40 of these stacks, which took about two years to do. But in that time I developed a deadly accurate "eye".

Nowadays you would not need to go to such trouble; all you need is a digital camera that will take a short burst of video. Then you need Photoshop software installed on your mainframe, and a touch pad connected to the mainframe that has a pencil-type mouse that allows you to draw on-screen. You upload the series of still images one by one, being very careful to keep them in correct order, and you trace over each one using the "overlay" function in Photoshop. All nice and neat and on-screen, and no odor of burning acetate or danger that you're going to set your apartment on fire!

This is how you begin, and how you can best learn. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

Jeannie
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Posted: Sun Jan 31st, 2021 12:04 am
Dr Deb, I was interested in your analysis of this photo of James Fillis, he is not interfering with the horse, in some of those old photos, the riders seemed to be experimenting with what horses could do.
Best, Jeannie

Attachment: FullSizeRender.jpeg


DrDeb
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Posted: Sun Jan 31st, 2021 07:16 am
Jeanne, you may remember from replies in earlier threads that I am no great fan of Fillis. This is not because he lacked skill, but because he was so ungracious and egotistical; a womanizer and a manipulator who was 100% out for himself. We see such in the current regime as well; there are the truly great horsemen and women, and then there are the second-rate imitators. Such IMHO was Fillis, for there is not one word, not one technique in his book that did not come from the real master, Baucher. And yet throughout the book, Fillis mocks and deprecates Baucher, whom he had actually met, and who had done nothing but help him. Further, I have a hard time respecting anybody who says, as Fillis did, that he would "only bother working with top-class Thoroughbreds"; whereas every truly great master I have ever known or heard of, took pleasure in bringing out the best in second-class, mishandled, or mis-trained horses, often bringing them to championship level.

Now, that's an old and rather beat-up print that you have posted, so I've dubbed it out and fixed it so that an analysis can rightly be made of it. First off, we must be able to see the positions of all four feet, so where that is obscure in the original I have supplied it after examining the print at high power magnification in Photoshop to be sure I'm not making anything up.

The second thing that is absolutely crucial to any analysis, whether of conformation with the horse standing still, or whether of movement, is an accurate ground-line. One must know where "level" is -- otherwise there is no way to assess whether or how much the horse is tilted forward onto its forehand.

So having supplied a visible ground-line, we see that although Fillis' horse does not show "kinked" posture of the contacting forelimb, it is nonetheless somewhat on the forehand, as shown by the fact that the trot is not in two beats -- cannot be, because the forehand is spending more time on the ground than its diagonal partner behind. In film analysis, the time that any given limb spends against the ground is equivalent to the amount of weight upon that limb.

Otherwise, the horse looks pretty OK. Fillis is not interfering with him in front; however, he is also not doing anything with the reins to assist in raising the base of the neck. The "Baucher method two" approach taken by Fillis in the ground training has already taught the horse that it can raise the base of the neck, and you are absolutely right, Fillis and such contemporary Baucheristes as American Tom Bass and Frenchman Henri deBussigny were, like Baucher (and we need also to add, like Gueriniere and many others of the 18th century) inveterate experimenters who had no inhibitions whatsoever about trying out novel techniques and equipment.

Now, I don't want to give the ranch away so I will not post any photos of Tom Bass, but will happily say that this thread now becomes a great lead-in to the next issue of EQUUS Magazine (Spring, 2021) which should be out shortly and which carries Part 1 of a major research article by me on Tom Bass, who was the greatest American horseman of the latter part of the 19th century and first three decades of the 20th. Born a slave, Bass' father was his mother's white owner, and so Bass had to work in a world of overt white supremacy and throughout the worst of the Jim Crow era. Nonetheless at one time he was the best-known trainer in America, whose performances on the fabulous mare Belle Beach were estimated to have been seen by over one million people.

Hope you all subscribe -- cheers -- Dr. Deb

Attachment: Fillis groundline and hoofs for Forum1.jpg


Jeannie
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Posted: Sun Jan 31st, 2021 08:42 pm
Thank you, Dr Deb, for correcting and analyzing the old photo. While not great riding, being too much on the forehand, it is not as injurious as what we currently see in competitive riding circles. It seems there has always been controversy in riding, past and present, egos overriding the health and welfare of the horse.

I was interested to hear Yo-Yo Ma explain that music is space, time and energy, and how applicable that is to riding, with the flow of weight determining how much space and time the horse has to arrange it's body correctly, and how energy affects the flow of weight.

I have read the book "Whisper on the Wind" about Tom Bass, and look forward to reading your articles about him in Equus magazine.

Best, Jeannie



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