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Looking deeper into the bones
I notice how the rider’s pelvis is sitting on the saddle and horse, I ask myself is it level front to back and left to right. A saddle that does not fit or is not in balance can easily unbalance the rider’s pelvis. At times it is not the saddle, but the rider’s unbalanced pelvis, or it may be the horse’s back. The rider needs to learn how be aware of how their pelvis is sitting and how to correct it, because of the affect it has on the horse. If the rider’s pelvis is disturbed and not level, it creates unwanted pressure in areas of the horse’s back.
What I have noticed is that often this is mirrored by the horse. If the rider’s pelvis is down in the front, and in turn this is making for a hollow-back rider, the front of the rider’s pelvis inserts a downward pressure onto the thoracic spine of the horse (wither area). Due to this pressure the withers drop away along with the spine. This leads to the horse’s own pelvis being rotated out backwards, and due to this the head of the horse lifts. The same can happen if the rider leans back and puts too much pressure into the back of the seat bones, as this creates pressure on the lumbar spine with a similar effect of the pelvis of the horse rotating backwards. With the pelvis of the horse being in this position, it is impossible for it to use its body and engage its hind legs. This results in the hind legs of the horse pushing out backwards more and more, the spinal processes begin to move closer which can create ‘kissing spine’, and the joints of the hind legs become opened to the maximum. All of this creates strain on the whole system.
If the rider’s seat bones are unlevel left to right it creates a pressure on one side of the horse’s spine and can make the rider slip to one side. The seat bone that is lower or ‘down’ more on one side creates a rotation of the ribcage, which then causes the ribs on that side to drop and the whole ribcage is swung to the opposite side, lifting the other seat bone higher. Now we have a crooked horse and rider.
As for the rider, they are left feeling helpless, as they feel like they are sitting in a hammock which is sinking down, possibly more to one side than the other. The horse is, at this stage, doing the best he can. The horse may often resort to trying various options to give the rider what they are looking for – racing forward to try and maintain balance, slowing down, head tossing, losing straightness or a multitude of other stress reactions.
The building of Jane.
I met ‘Jane’ back in July 2014 in Mackay Qld, on one of my journeys of learning and discovery.
I had been told about this amazing woman called Sharon May Davies who did horse dissections, slowly peeling back the layers and explaining how the horse is constructed, how it moves and re-occurring issues as a result of this that she has found over her years of research.
Attending a dissection and working with Sharon over the 3 days, more and more information came to me and I was extremely thoughtful on the way back to WA about our responsibility as riders to the horse. I had even taken ‘Bones’ (model pelvis and spine) with me in my suit case to sit on the horse ‘layers’ so I fully understood what we as riders were sitting on.
Two days of this trip was studying the biomechanics of the horse, going into the mobility and movement of the horse, and this is where I met ‘Jane’ a full-sized horse skeleton. This was owned by Anita Evers and she had built it herself and had even managed to make it so that each leg could move.
This trip gave me a lot of knowledge and I have since worked with Sharon again in WA. This trip also opened up an opportunity to twice yearly travel to Mackay to work. On my last trip to Mackay, Anita offered me ‘Jane’ to have here in Keysbrook and she will be flying over to make sure ‘Jane’ is in a good new home.
When Anita flies over, she and I will be doing a once-of 2 day clinic on “THE BUILDING OF JANE”. Dates are 14-15th September 2019 at Keysbrook.
We will be inviting a limited number of riders to be involved in seeing the skeleton being constructed, to handle and see the bones of the horse at close quarters, to ask questions and to discuss the biomechanics of the horse as we put Jane back together from her travelling boxes.
Booking for all these clinics are on the website www.annmontgomery.com.au