Dienstag, 22. Juli 2014

Biomechanics and Piaffe

Auf besonderen Wunsch und zu Übungszwecken nochmal auf Englisch. Bin dankbar für Korrekturen.
At special request I tried it in English. Thanks for correcting!

… why any Piaffe with a back standing foreleg is not „nearly correct“ but a sign of missing knowledge and understanding of basic biomechanics – as well as a piaffe showing a jumping hind or defered hindlegs. What made me write this text was a remark in a forum which said that, because a good piaffe is so difficult to reach, one should be glad about one „like this“ (meant one with defered frontleg). Unfortunately, the way from a nearly correct piaffe like that to a correct piaffe is the longest you can imagine. It leads back to basic training for many years to understand biomechanics and to resolve old patterns of movement and reaction.

Lets have a look at some facts:

Symptoms of physical fatuige syndrome (Trageerschöpfung): breastbone in advanced position, lumbar flexion, postponed foreleg etc.

Incorrect piaffe: breastbone in advanced position, lumbar flexion, postponed foreleg etc.

Biomechanic funktion of the foreleg, including bladebone and thoracic fascial sling: Hold distance to the ground directing pressure against the weight of the rider – not against the hind!

Biomechanic function of the hind: Shove. Shove the trunk forward - so it can´t slip backwards, leaving it´s place in the thoracic fascia sling. Shove til the foreleg is in vertical position to make sure, the trunk does not come back ...

There is a nice exercise for all motorcyclists among you: Look for a kerb of medium height, ride up in an angle of 90 degrees and stop with contact to the kerb. Then open up and place the frontwheel right on the edge of the kerb, without using the brake, using gas and cluth only. Keep your balance. Don´t roll back, don´t pass it. Thats controled power. Mind, that - depending on the height of the kerb, the length of your legs and the size of your bike - your feet can´t reach the ground...

Of course you could use the brake, but thats not the lecture. If the cluth smells funny, something´s wrong as well.

What happens in the piaffe of the „Reitkünstler“? Active lumbar flexion (spurs, whip, curb) instead of „Hankenbeugung“. That eliminates the propulsive force of the hind. That´s why the foreleg has to pull the trunk forward instead of lifting it and that causes the postponed position of the foreleg. Thats why the breastbone comes in sight (what it does not in a balanced horse!). The horse does not use the cinetic energy storing abilities of the hinds fascia. It just lifts its feet.

Transfered to the motor cycle exercise: Deflate the back tire, lift the frontwheel and push the kerb underneath. Compared to this, using the brake would be an elegant solution...

The FN-riders piaffe shows (sometimes) a vertical foreleg, but the hind stays stiff and postponed. Thats just another way to destroy the power of the hind, reducing it to a jipping appendix pretending a piaffe. In this case the motor has been throtteled to a minimum, that allows to reach the edge of the kerb, but you can´t expect further performance.

All these piaffes have several characteristics in common: They break the power of the hind instead of storing it for further action, what breaks the power of the forehand. Without a propulsive force from the hind, the thoracic fascia cant´t swing and the forehand is no longer able to lift the trunk.

A true piaffe shows the perfect impulse control of the horse by the horse, the trunk swings upward and the horse asks with every step „What´s next?“ Each moment it could let its weight fall into the „Hanken“ in order to use the arising fascia energy for a galopp or a capriole. The horse is collecting itself for its next job. This impulse control, connected with „Hankenbiegung“, needs many years to develop. The term „Hankenbiegung“ or „-beugung“ refers to deflection (?) of the main joints of the hind under pressure, not to the lumbar flexion or nicely lifted feet. Above all, you cannot reach that big goal by drilling the horse into the right form.

To my opinion, a perfect piaffe might come within reach by training bodyintelligence, motoric competence and a general problem solving ability, always keeping the biomecanical principles in mind. But why should we spoil our time with our horses by drilling a form instead of having fun in playing with funktions? Should one of the horses I work with should ask me for a piaffe one day – all right, on that day we start practising.

Keine Kommentare: