Freitag, 1. August 2014

Common Equine Arthritis - Motion Analysis

„In truth, we are still in the dark. Seeing it is one thing, analyzing it and providing a preventative program is something totally different.“
Sharon May-Davis

This is where my job begins, coming from another side of the problem. To my opinion as a horse trainer, nearly every horse I know shows more or less symptoms of the load bearing syndrome (Trageerschöpfung). Unfortunately, people see a symptom, that is shown by every ridden horse, as normal. So I´m very glad about Sharons documented informations concerning common equine arthritis, which show an obvious pathologic change.

My analysis is, that horses change the working phases within the stance phases of fore- and hind leg, caused by work overload from the very beginning. Usually, a horse is longed until it accepts a rider on it´s back. That is not enough time for a horse to learn how to move reasonably under it´s own weight, not to talk about the additional weight of a more or less balanced rider.
To make it short, I´ll explain, how the horse should answer the weight: The foreleg has to act like a coil spring, rebounding the thorax during the first half of the stance phase. It helps to look on the thoracal muscle- and fascia-sling as a very strong, weight-answering structure which gets stronger by work. But only by the work it is made for: to throw back the weight in the very first moment of ground contact, which means backward-upwards, because the leg has not yet reached the vertical position. In this excentric movement, the joints of the forehand do all work in angles that „make them strong“. The forehoof of a horse that acts in this way shows the form, the old books about hoof care demand: it´s angle is narrower (or flatter?) than the one of the hindhoof, because it works in another part of the stance phase. If the horse does not work like this, it tries to pull the weight forward with the foreleg in the second half of the stance phase, in which all the joints are in the most awkward angle, not alone the elbow. To a horse like this, a steeper hoof might be a relief, but this way of hoofcare fixes the problem instead of solving it.

Back to the proper (excentric) working foreleg. It waits for the power of the proper working hindleg, which loads the fascia tissue during the first half of the stance phase ( while the forehand makes the distance to the ground). The fascia is able to store kinetic energy, what it does until it releases the energy in the second half of the stance phase in order to showe the weight forward. This does not harm the forehand! Because a strong forehand is able to make the hind working uphill, even if the way leads downhill. (Youtube, Cavalry 1920, upper video...)

Additionally, this strengthens the hindquarters, letting them do the work they are constructed for, instead of folding themselves beneath a weak forehand in order to relieve it.
There are three things you need to work a horse to it´s strength: Far more time than especially the professionals can afford, knowledge of biomechanics in motion and good nerves, because we all brake - and call it control or collection...

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