The equation to equine posture consists of three components and three concepts. Understanding these components and concepts is easily explained because I apply theories and not opinion to validate this statement, in other words, once applied you realize it just makes sense. I teach all my students “if you make a statement, make it with validation”.
- Tempromandibular Joint (TMJ)
*the joint that allows the mouth to open and close
- Musculoskeletal system
*muscles and bones
*Hooves of the horse
*a matter of weight distribution
*how something works or moves
*simply put, what goes up must come down
How does this all fit together?
Apply the concepts to the components and you have posture. If a horse does not have balance of the TMJ and proper occlusion of the teeth, it lacks function of forward (anterior) and backward (posterior) movement. A horse will then have difficulty completely raising or lowering its head and neck. For instance if there is a lack of mobility of the TMJ to move forward, allowing a horse to lower head and neck comfortably, it will keep its neck and head in a more upright position. Add gravity into the mix and now we have more compression of the cervical (neck) muscles and joints. If a head stays more in an upright position, it then changes weight distribution more toward the rear of the horse causing compression to the foundation (hooves) or crushed heels. Also it will lend to a sway backed horse. This then changes the balance of the musculoskeletal system, where one set of muscles become more dominant than their opposing muscles. This creates an onset of a multitude of compensations or imbalances affecting health as well as performance. As you now can envision how the components all come into play one can understand why posture is easily evaluated.
Every muscle has a job. If one muscle, or group of muscles, is always contracted the opposing muscles are also always affected, changing balance, function and gravity.
Equine bodywork seminars, clinics and personal instruction available.
Clinics and classes include learning massage techniques, but this is not a massage clinic or class. Focus is on understanding assessment of balance and function of the equine musculoskeletal system and recognizing imbalance of the hooves and TMJ. You will be instructed in proper Bodywork Techniques using proper body mechanics, body position and hand placement.