This months article is in two parts with the first part focusing on a subject which a lot of people expressed to read about in a recent social media poll I conducted. Namely riding your horse in a specific way to improve him/her physically.
The second part consists of some practical advice in respect of the Covid 19 virus, more commonly known as Corona virus, from vet Nadine Page.
Ridden physio is basically the name I give to any work which is aimed specifically at a certain body part of a horse. The initial thing to do of course is to identify where the horse is not performing well physically in order to set about improving things. This work very often maintains a horse’s fitness and performance levels and heads off more serious problems down the line which might be expensive or upsetting.
Adduction and abduction.
Basically the horse can step inwards towards its own body mass or step away from the body mass towards the side of its body. I call this stepping under or stepping away. A more technical definition is abduction and adduction. Adduction is the one when the horse steps in and under the body mass. Abduction is the opposite, this is when the horse steps away from its body mass.
In the pictures of Mojo the coloured horse with his rider Jodi Podmore you can see an exercise I often set up and ride or use to support teaching points in training sessions. The poles can be set at a trot distance and your horse walks in between. Once the horse is clear of the poles a turn can be ridden in a few different ways. Turn on the forehand, the centre, or the haunches. Then the horse is ridden back through the poles and does a turn at the other end of the poles and repeats the exercise however many times is needed to establish any issues. What this exercise allows riders to realise is that you will get a great feel for which leg move well in which direction well and which leg does not move across well, either in or out.
Jodi found this a very interesting exercise as it also made it very clear which was Mojo’s stronger side.
I find a lot of so called problem horses I see that have a bio mechanical issue have often developed that problem as the rider is not really dialled in to the horses strengths and weaknesses from the saddle. It is also easy to have someone video this exercise and that will help you a lot.
The information we discovered in this session was that Mojo had an issue with right hind adduction, it was not stepping under sufficiently well. He was erratic in the right canter. Left canter was grand. Now Jodi is going forward with that information she discovered from this session in the knowledge that she is addressing the specific needs of Mojo based on the information he gave us in the exercise.
Now as I said it is time to get some basic advice from A good friend of mine Nadine Page, who is a marvellous vet working from the practice Page and Gunstone in the Chester area and beyond.
Coronavirus and it’s influence on the equine world
Nadine Page, Page & Gunstone Equine Vets, Cheshire.
We can all see the effect that coronavirus is having on competitions and the season ahead, no matter which discipline you participate in. All we can hope is that it doesn’t continue for too long. Fortunately our four legged friends aren’t affected by the virus and a lot of us will be able to enjoy riding whilst in social isolation. There are also new ways of competing ‘online’, for example uploading a video of a BD test to ‘Dressage Anywhere’ judges.
A few helpful tips for keeping you and your horse professionals a little safer during this time, whether that be a visit from your vet, farrier, physio, dental technician, saddle fitter etc.
Try to have the minimum number of people present to handle your horse. If you or anyone you have knowingly been in contact with is experiencing coronavirus symptoms, let your equine professional know. Either arrange for someone who hasn’t been in contact with you to handle your horse or rearrange your appointment. Where a horse needs urgent treatment, your vet practice may be able to bring an assistant to handle your horse, so that you can stay at a safe distance. If you consider yourself to be high risk, the same arrangements should be made.