lunes, 5 de julio de 2010

Biomechanics of the horse

Amigos y seguidores de este nuestro blog, mis amigos de Estados Unidos me han pedido que traduzca al ingles este articulo, me parece muy positivo que lo puedan leer en otros paises que no sean de habla hispana.
Friends of the horse, students and supporters of this our blog, in this article I will talk about the biomechanics of the horse and the consequences of a good or a bad training with our horse.

This article is dedicated to my student Elke Shaub provide me with the translation of texts on this subject which were in German. Thanks Elke.

I would like to know on my blog this issue for the health of the horses, which I personally owe much.

The rider and Olympic medalist, Baron von Langen principles expressed in the following way: "I love my horses and I show my horses love me and show me."

With this quote I would note that today the mistreatment of horses in the high competition is unfortunately very common, where were the feelings of affection toward his horse rider and those who spoke Von Langen?

For centuries, history has given us a great number of teachers whose teaching riding today as we should all ride.

It is mounted according to its teachings? Or are we in a wrong way? In a completely wrong way, in a totally wrong?

Here you can see a series of headlines about abuse of the horse in the competition.

2008 Olympic Games Doping abuse.

Here you can read the opinion of Lars Nieberg, Olympic champion in 1996 and 2000: "This generation destroys the riding"

Denmark 2008: October 6 - hundreds of lashes for dressage horse, FN shocked at the beating pointless.

Horse trainer tried for mistreatment of horses.

Germany 2008: October 24 - The FN has announced an appeal to the international sports court. Reason: the punishment imposed on the German champion jockey is too lenient.
I am increasingly aware that mechanical training methods, inconsiderate and widely disseminated, are directly related to many of the injuries suffered by a horse. The essence of horse training is physically and mentally healthy. Where are the vets, judges and officials with a sense of responsibility? We are at the last moment to stop doing reverence to trade and pick up the principles and rules established, the classical teaching of horsemanship in its principles contradict what we see today in equestrian sports.
"This objective is achieved only when - maintaining and fostering the natural abilities of the horse - this is taken to a form and position where it can fully deploy their forces."

HDV 12 - Editorial Wuwei
To understand these principles established, we consider some anatomical and biomechanical bases. Only this way will assess the impact - partly catastrophic - that horses suffer due to reckless training methods.
Now study a little how the horse's musculoskeletal system starting with the skeleton.

The pectoral and lumbar spine of a regular sized horse is loaded with a weight of approximately 250 kgs.

How to maintains this weight, which further increases considerably with the rider's weight?
The ligament of the neck and upper neck muscle biomechanical function are most important support.
So the rider is responsible for properly positioning the system of the neck and upper back was carrying a positive voltage so that the horse is able to carry the rider without injury.
From the cross backwards is the ligament that goes back over all spinal processes to the sacrum.
Bracing TOP: NECK LIGAMENT - CRUZ - back ligaments
Like a suspension bridge, neck forces are transmitted to the back through these ligaments. This system is called ligaments SUPERIOR Bracing.
The ligament of the neck and upper neck muscles - the system of the upper neck - are crucial to the state of tension in the back, especially the ligament of the back and this is the basis for a horse can carry a rider without suffering damage.
If you ride your horse with a very shortened neck - regardless of the position of the head (too high or too low), regardless of how you collect your horse (with the leg or rein force with virtually neck wound) - so extreme you shorten the neck with the respective effects on the ligaments of the neck of which, however, with a longer neck stretches the spiny processes of the cross forward and this system - as a lever system - makes a slight forward rotation, which stresses the ligament and back up. The more horse power and use of the hand can be seen, the shorter the neck becomes, the more tension is removed from the system and thus upper neck ligaments and this system does not help carry the weight of the rider.
Upper neck muscles


Around the neck ligament pair are in the form of the upper neck muscles. They are arranged in different layers and bind the head and neck with the shoulder and the cross. The muscles of the neck has the function of lifting the head and neck and helps support the back.
A head down position has the effect - through the lever of the cross - the lifting of the back. Due to stretching of the ligament of the neck the spiny processes of the cross are stretched forward and straightened and thereby stretching the ligament in the back.

The further up the neck the less the neck ligament contributes to the lifting of the back.

The lack of effect of the ligament of the neck is only compensated only for the upper neck muscles. This makes clear the great importance of the position of the head and neck for the static balance of the whole body of the horse.

The extreme positions of the head-neck axis - for example a rising edge of the head or neck curl (also called hyperflexion) have resulted in a distortion of the biomechanics of the back so that the back or hangs and can not be sustained over or is extremely tight.



A horse that eats from the floor can support the weight of its trunk muscle effortlessly thanks to the upper rigging.
This natural physical principle is of central importance in classical training and their implementation in the relative rise. The lack of effect ligament of the neck caused by the relative rise of the neck is offset mainly by strengthening the muscles right upper neck for several years. In conclusion, through the tension of the ligament in the back is done much of the support work.
The concept of relative rise, then, is the progress in strengthening the system of the muscles of the neck through which the horse is able to support the trunk in a "position 0" - ie, without further efforts despite of a higher position of the head-neck axis.

LONG latissimus


Dorsi muscle through the back from the lumbar spine to the cervical vertebrae. Its fibers run almost horizontally backwards from the top down.
It's a muscle movement and lift the trunk acts. In step and trotting shrinks correspondingly on each side and gallop at the same time with a slight shift laterial.
In the horse well mounted dorsi muscle must not exercise any support work. Without tension is maintained and free to their original task as muscle movement.
The biggest misunderstanding between the riders is the idea of dorsi muscle performance. This muscle is actually moving a muscle. However, many believe that - because the saddle is placed over and the rider is sitting on top - has a support function. Dorsi muscle runs horizontally and of course you can bear weight only in a state of tension. Tension, however, always mean harm - in any body.



The width of the back facie is a league structure that joins muscle muscle long dorsal muscles of the haunch, the ischia longus and latissimus dorsi. All positive and negative states of tension in the back have influence on the movement of both pairs of legs through wide facie back.

Thanks to the binding effect exerted by the width of the back facie can be recognized in riding the horse if a horse goes through the back or because of the strength of the leg. A horse that walks through the back moves with a soft back without tension. A horse-mounted leg strength is characterized in a negative way with a strained back. A strained back always locks the mechanics of the hind legs and the horse has made the front hand.
Just as the back muscles, abdominal muscles also has functions of movement. They move their hind legs and hips should not have to assume a support function of the trunk in the horse well mounted. However, riding the horse to leg force must assume this role because the back line is not supported by a positive voltage head-neck axis, hangs back and the horse damaged his body.
An interesting point is that the muscle along the back is biomechanically linked to the other muscles through facies tissue plates, and for example with the gluteal muscle, the muscle along the ischium. Similarly the dorsi muscle is related through lateral muscle (Latisimus budorsi) wide with the upper arm (humerus).
Summarizing one can say that a horse that you see mounted sideways trot, shows very well if he moves with a strained back muscle, or if the back is relaxed and loose. The state is transmitted back through unions facies to the muscles of movement, ie the "engine" and change the image of a horse's movement.


The abdominal and back muscles are muscles of movement. They bind his chest with the hip and can act only on one side or both sides simultaneously.
The abdominal muscles are muscles of movement and actively stretch their legs back under the horse's trunk. In the horse in motion can not be awarded any support function of the trunk. The task of supporting the trunk is assumed by the muscles of the neck. Only through these two groups of muscles working in synergistic way can be fitted naturally and not tense.
Horse riding badly damaged or destroyed due to the removal of upper neck muscles or stress it.
In the midline of the trunk are both abdominal muscles, the "white line". This tape has the effect of stabilizing muscles of the trunk and enable the most important abdominal muscles to move freely. These muscles contract in the flight phase of the hind legs in the three air core of the horse: walk, trot and canter. In the gallop the abdominal muscles contract on both sides about the same time as seen here in flight phase, the major lift back. In the landing phase and the next leg support phase abdominal muscles should ease tensions due to the stretching of the body follows. Only maintains a slight isometric tension with supporting exhalation. In step and trotting unilateral contraction of the abdominal muscles move the leg back on the same side. This trunk is taken to a lateral rocking motion, always moving toward the side stress relief.
It should be noted that the horse was not originally designed to carry weight, but born as animal movement and flight.
Our task is to develop, educate and positively influence the horse's body so as not to destroy it.

Riding classical education shows a right track. Imagine a cow or a dog with a weight on your back! All we'd be quite surprised. In the horse we used to - seems to be something that is understood. We should also remember that this body should develop and become gradually athlete - with time.

This first phase of young horses is called back time. It lasted two years and during this period much attention was given to maintain a body position without tension. The horse's body is strengthened so that the rider helps the horse and merge with their natural movements are not interfered.

A sign of a well trained horse is a soft and wide.

Expert opinions,

PROF. HEINZ MEYER - Author of "Curl" - Editorial Wuwei

Of course the horse's anatomy is the basis on which the rider must navigate. Every influence that does not consider the anatomy of the horse has its consequences. In my opinion today should only be riding a teaching practice based on profound knowledge of anatomy.

When I was young I made many mistakes during my participation in competitions. Not that I have lived my life as a rider without sin and without stain vest. I have also caused damage to my horse and I understand that in reality only the classical school of riding shows the right way to train horses with no known negative effects ...


Combined Test Rider

I also have already destroyed a horse. I'm not proud of that. But with today's technology at our disposal and with all the knowledge we have today, I had not committed these mistakes. I do not know how many riders are still riding today as I did before.



If control is exerted on the neck through a mechanical hand back effects that necessarily leads to a tightening of the back muscles. In addition, a small angle between the head and front of the cervical vertebra and mechanically locks the neck prevents the horse into position.

To the left and right occiput horse's skull bone has two extensions of the length of a finger, when the angle between head and neck is too small, connecting the skull with the first cervical vertebra and block it. So the horse can not move his neck laterally: it is impossible to position the head.

A long-term mechanical control of the head is - through the negative voltage which is transmitted to the back - to a cancellation of the eight phases of the step and produces the phase mismatch. The result is a lateralization of the movement of the legs leading up to an almost parallel (step). Many times in training contests are heard excuses like "not so important - this is a horse that dominates the lessons of the Grand Prix - it is clear that I have a step so good" ... it is ridiculous to have to listen to such explanations when it is understood that the classical school of training aims to improve the basic movements of a horse.

PETER Kreinberg


Basically this is where the ethical principles governing the German Equestrian Federation (FN), which in reality each rider is obliged to respect and well documented: there the principle of harmony is a prefix at the beginning of performance. The enslavement of the horse alone to achieve performance in sport should be inadmissible.

Our horse does not react appropriately to a mismatch of the phases of transition to mechanically control his head, sadly parallel step can not be shown clearly. A mechanical application of the rider's hands leads to a tightening of the back and as tough as there is a growing lateralization and final step is the inability of a horse walking by step clean.

Johann Riegler - Senior Rider Spanish Riding School in Vienna

Many times I have the feeling that many riders from Grand Prix neither consider the anatomy of the horse, equine psychology and either do not know the limits of demand for a horse. For example the long dorsal muscles is NOT the muscle that carries the weight (also I was thinking until recently). I hope so many coaches make fewer mistakes and not blame the horse when something is not going well.


The lifting all produced by a strong mechanical influence of the hand has the greatest impact on the step. A horse with a short back with a very muscular or extremely long and soft back react more sensitively than a horse properly configured.
The air passage is more sensitive and more easily disordered. It messes up easily by the influence of the hand.
Touch of four phases with eight reports on the quality of basic training of a horse. If this system is disrupted or destroyed, basically all the training test has no value. Therefore, at the time of testing training rate, should be given much more value to step to filter out the poorly trained horses.

PETER Kreinberg

If I have a musical ear LISTEN when there has been a false tone in the melody being played. I hear the sound detected as false and just write it down .... One point less. But, as I can discuss it later - you say you heard it, another says no ... and in training the judge said: "I did not see that the passage was altered by touch - this is the problem, all I saw - only judge did not see it. The current decisions of the judges do suspect that the step is only gently altered slightly wrong.


... Then, if the influence of the hand is extreme - as is the case at the close end of the angle head - neck - it is very logical that breaks the feel of the step. Touch is the most difficult to assess. I think a large number of judges away from the evaluation of touch and focuses more on assessing the extent of the step.



I do not understand how the judges can give high marks to a horse that shows a step lateralized and a four-stroke gallop. This really goes against the basic principles of classical riding.
In my next article will continue to speak of this subject and begins speaking from the air the trot.

1 comentario:

  1. Que bueno que has traducido este articulo en ingles para que mas gente puede aprender algo nuevo sobre los caballos! :)