Preparatory training can help the horse to build the supporting musculature which will enable the horse to better adjust his balance whilst carrying a rider. Considerate and regular exercise that uses a range of stretching and suppling techniques can be incorporated into the work schedule with the aim of developing the top line, increasing proprioceptive awareness and strengthening the musculoskeletal system.
Training to overcome the natural tendancies of the horse to weight the forehand and to fall in or out, or to hollow the back, will build strong foundations to preserve soundness in the riding horse for years to come.
4 pointers worthy of consideration are suggested below.
By enhancing the ability of each hind leg to step further under the horse's centre of gravity, the horse begins to transfer excess weight from the forelegs to the hind quarters.
2. With regard to the role that the core muscles play in supporting the spinal column, the bow and string theory gives us a simple to understand analogy explaining how positive tension of the string (core muscles) can help the back to 'come up'.
3. The largest of the horse's muscles are located in the hind quarters. In addition the unique arrangement and positioning of the joints allows for powerful flexion and extension movement patterns of the hind limbs. Helping the horse to increase his body sense awareness can help him to fully develop his athletic potential.
4. Recognition of how the horse uses his body during training is beneficial as positive steps can be consolidated and poor movement patterns or habits can be corrected.
The result is a happier horse, better able to adjust to the demands placed upon him. This often shows as:
Increased tolerance to exercise
Development of the top line muscles
Preservation of soundness.