Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Movement - essentials

I wanted to put together some occasional blog posts with bullet points  - really basic but which I hope will be useful as quick summaries or reminders of the essentials in some key areas.
It seems sensible to start with movement - its what I obsess about with the rehab horses - how are they moving, how can I help them improve, what are the causes of unsound movement and so on.

So here are the essentials, as far as I am concerned:
  • Landing: hooves should land heel first on a flat, level surface.  This is clearly visible in a healthy hoof and becomes more pronounced when the horse walks down a slope.  Conversely a toe first landing is normal when a horse walks uphill but is a sign of potential caudal hoof pain on a flat surface. 
  • Loading:
    • front limb hooves should load evenly (medio-laterally) when walking on a flat, level surface
    • hind limb hooves will normally land laterally (this can usually only be seen in slowed down footage)
  • Surfaces: a healthy hoof has good proprioception so stride length will normally adjust slightly as a horse crosses different surfaces (there is a reason dressage is not done on concrete).  However, a horse should not look pottery or restricted on a hard surface. 
  • Gait: horses will, of course, alter their movement in response to pain, or its removal - a heel first landing can change to toe first, and vice versa.  Equally, stride length can increase as hooves load in a more balanced way or develop a better ability to shock absorb.  It can be useful (and interesting) to film your horse's movement regularly to monitor changes and give you reference points. 

2 comments:

Dressager said...

Filming regularly... that's a really good idea!

Lisa W.Tieman said...

I think this is among the most important info for me. And i'm glad reading your article. But should remark on some general things, The website style is great, the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheers
Notre Dame Fighting Irish 3X5 Banner Flag