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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 9:56 pm 
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Edit: Finally I have agreed with Donald on a name for the German Nacken-Rücken-Band. We will use the word by word translation neck-back band. I hope this is okay for the other native English speakers as well?

.....................................

In my vivid discussions with some people in a German dressage forum, it was always said that it was a precondition for collection to exercise the neck back band. And that in collection there must be a tension in this band. It was even the main reason for one of them to be against riding bitless/bridleless. She said that it was impossible to ride the horse in an active stretching posture (here I need the correct name too, please!!) without the bit and to reach the tension of this band in collection because a "frame" of reins and legs would be needed. Otherwise collection would be stuck and unable to go through the whole body. Unfortunately the explanations about why this shouldn´t be possile without a bit ended up with "The horse will NEVER choose the way which affords more effort." Of course I don´t think so and I would love to exercise this band now.

I always thought that it was a stretching posture when the horse is walking with the head on the ground and swinging in the back. But according to those people, this doesn´t seem to be correct.

So my question: Do you know how to exercise this band? What exactly is a correct stretching posture (if not walking long and low) and how do we get there?


Last edited by Romy on Wed Jan 02, 2008 12:23 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 11:41 pm 
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Romy wrote:
First - can someone of the native English speakers please tell me the correct anatomical name of this thing? Then I´ll edit this topic and change the headline...


In my vivid discussions with some people in a German dressage forum, it was always said that it was a precondition for collection to exercise the neck back band. And that in collection there must be a tension in this band. It was even the main reason for one of them to be against riding bitless/bridleless. She said that it was impossible to ride the horse in an active stretching posture (here I need the correct name again, please!!) without the bit and to reach the tension of this band in collection because a "frame" from reins and legs would be needed. Otherwise collection would be stuck and unable to go through the whole body. Unfortunately the explanations about why this shouldn´t be possile without a bit ended up with "The horse will NEVER choose the way which affords more effort." Of course I don´t think so and I would love to exercise this band now.

I always thought that it was a stretching posture when the horse is walking with the head on the ground and swinging in the back. But according to those people, this doesn´t seem to be correct.

So my question: Do you know how to exercise this band? What exactly is a correct stretching posture (if not walking long and low) and how do we get there?


The area referred to, under the 'Crest' of the horse's neck is discussed in the excellent article by Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, DVM. As you might guess from the name, he is German.

That portion of the long supraspinous ligament that lies in the neck is referred to by the Dr. as "nuchal ligament," and the Dr. also supports YOUR description of how it is exercised and performs under stretching downward...in fact it raises that portion of the back ligament "supraspinous" going into traction from the lowering of the head.

A fair anatomical drawing is at
http://boiseartmuseum.org/education/ima ... natomy.jpg

And Dr. Heuschmann's article on "THE BACK" in a PDF file format is at:

http://schleese.com/documents/FUNCTIONAL%20ANATOMY%20OF%20THE%20HORSE.pdf

While I don't know other's opinions of the Dr. and his views he supports many of the discoveries I made over the years about functional anatomy by direct observation and manipulation of the horse's limbs, neck, trunk, shoulders and hip.

Dr. Heuschmann has been cited before in this forum. Miriam and Ziggy as I recall in the Research forum referred to him. Others have elsewhere for that matter.

I found more information because I saw his name here. Had not heard of him before.

It stands to reason that if you draw the back into tension by lowering the head (after all, the structure of the neck of isolated could NOT hold the head up) you will lift the back to some degree.

You are right, as far as I'm concerned, Romy, and the hardest thing is to correct someone that is wrong, or ignorant and must defend themselves rather than learn.

In your work how often do you run into this? Why presume, if you do, that horse people are any different as a demographic?

Some of us are very ignorant, and to top it off, sadly, some so stupid as to resist learning and shedding of their ignorance.

May I make a suggestion? Okay, I will anyway. :wink:

Simply ask them to explain the very question you are asking now ... how IS the back exercised "properly?"

And keep asking one way or another, gently as you go, until it occurs to them to do the research.

Those who wish to learn will come back and thank you for urging them to learn, the others? Well, you know what they will do, some of them.

Those that do not run will come back at you with precisely the kinds of attacks that made you feel so badly.

It's all they have.

If you are confronted with a demand that you defend YOUR position, it is best not to comment, but simply cite your authoritative source...the DVM I just cited.

Here is more from and about him. As you can see you are not citing an amateur:

horseandriderbooks: Tug of War: Classical versus "Modern" Dressage ...
German rider and equine veterinarian Dr. Gerd Heuschmann is well-known in ... against a practical backdrop of the horse’s basic anatomy and physiology. ...
www.horseandriderbooks.com/mm5/merchant ... gory_Code= - 19k - Cached - Similar pages
[PDF]

FUNCTIONAL ANATOMY OF THE HORSE – The Back
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
By Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, DVM. Translated by Reina Abelshauser ..... If you look at the horse’s anatomy, you will see that your goal for every riding lesson ...
schleese.com/documents/FUNCTIONAL%20ANATOMY%20OF%20THE%20HORSE.pdf - Similar pages

www.germandressage.com
2005 National Symposium: Functional Anatomy of the Dressage Horse--Today and the Future by Gerd Heuschmann, DVM and Klaus Balkenhol, with Guests Brigitte ...
www.germandressage.com/education.html - 16k - Cached - Similar pages

USDF Symposium
At the conclusion of the bit discussion Klaus Balkenhol introduced Gerd Heuschmann, DVM. The credentials of Dr. Heuschmann are impressive. He is a bereiter, ...
www.millbrookfarms.com/usdf_symposium.htm - 32k - Cached - Similar pages

USDF - News
Dr. Gerd Heuschmann will work with Balkenhol during the symposium. ... University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover regarding the anatomy of the horse's mouth ...
www.usdf.org/News/viewNews.asp?news=80 - 9k - Cached - Similar pages

Amazon.com: Tug of War: Classical Versus "Modern" Dressage: Why ...
Dr. Gerd Heuschmann is a veterinarian with a research interest in the training of horses in .... explains the functional anatomy of the dressage horse, ...
www.amazon.com/Tug-War-Classical-Incorr ... 1570763755 - 206k - Cached - Similar pages

Fran Jurga's "HoofBlog": Up-to-the Minute News from Hoofcare ...
DR. GERD HEUSCHMANN trained as a Bereiter (master rider) in Germany before qualifying for .... Hoofcare & Lameness "Glass Horse" hoof anatomy cd-rom ...
hoofcare.blogspot.com/2007/10/rollkur-book-slams-overflexion.html - 99k - Cached - Similar pages

ExclusivelyEquine.com: Classical Schooling With The Horse In Mind
In addition, a final chapter on basic equine anatomy by the renowned German veterinarian Dr. Gerd Heuschmann affirms Beran’s methods with science. ...
www.exclusivelyequine.com/ViewProduct.a ... 6-1931(BHP)&parentCategory=Books&category=... - 59k - Cached - Similar pages

Forest Horse: Sensation Saddles, Natural Equine Products & Gifts ...
The final chapter, by the renowned veterinarian, Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, affirms Beran's program with science and fundamental principles of horse anatomy. ...

www.foresthorse.com/index.php?act=viewP ... ductId=248 - 13k - Cached - Similar pages
Horses for Life
The meeting with the equine vet from Warendorf, Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, ... the functional anatomy of the locomotor system of the horse preceded the practical ...
horsesforlife.com/content/view/629/689/ - 24k - Cached - Similar pages

And if I understand Dr. Gerd Heuschmann's position correctly he is NOT going to be well received by your dressage opponents with much love.

I'd be interested in seeing what they have to say. I do wish I read German...I'd go and debate them myself.

While you here might find me kind, which is because of the quality of character I find here, you would see a very different "me" Donald Redux, in debate with the ignorant. And worse if they stupidly refuse to open up to the possibility they could be wrong.

I am fascinated by those that make personal, ad hominem, attacks as their "logic" in debate.

You would not want to be downstream of the argument should they try and pull that on me.

I scored fairly high in logic and debate in college. And love a good fight. And I had something over 20 years of intense involvement in studies on the horse, and riding and training.

Could they argue in English?

Donald Redux

"Beware the elderly, for they are very very clever -- and sneaky."

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So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


Last edited by Donald Redux on Sat Dec 29, 2007 12:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 12:12 am 
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Oh thank you so much, Donald!! You are an angel. :D And I will read through the materials tomorrow (it´s after midnight here).

But this person I was talking about was NOT attacking. In fact, she was one of the two most helpful ones and she seemed to be very thoughtful about her statements. Well, she also said that the horse would never choose the difficult way of moving and that rewards would not help, but that was just her opinion. Her (and another´s) point was that lenghtening the back is necessary, but that there is a difference between forms of lenghthening ("dehnen" instead of "strecken" in German, but I don´t know where there is a difference and in English both seem to be "stretching"...). And that taking down the head was not enough... I don´t know. But I don´t want to go back there now, for my own and for Titum´s sake. I need a little bit positivity right at the moment. But maybe I will email her about this, it´s her birthday anyway in the beginning of January, so I could combine my birthday wishes with a stretching question... ;)

Thanks to you again, Donald. You are such a great support.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 12:30 am 
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Romy wrote:
Oh thank you so much, Donald!! You are an angel. :D And I will read through the materials tomorrow (it´s after midnight here).

But this person I was talking about was NOT attacking. In fact, she was one of the two most helpful ones and she seemed to be very thoughtful about her statements. Well, she also said that the horse would never choose the difficult way of moving and that rewards would not help, but that was just her opinion. Her (and another´s) point was that lenghtening the back is necessary, but that there is a difference between forms of lenghthening ("dehnen" instead of "strecken" in German, but I don´t know where there is a difference and in English both seem to be "stretching"...). And that taking down the head was not enough... I don´t know. But I don´t want to go back there now, for my own and for Titum´s sake. I need a little bit positivity right at the moment. But maybe I will email her about this, it´s her birthday anyway in the beginning of January, so I could combine my birthday wishes with a stretching question... ;)

Thanks to you again, Donald. You are such a great support.


I see also definitions of 'dehnen' that mean to broaden or to dilate.

Simply asking for a definition of how your correspondent is using dehnen might help clarify.

YOUR willingness to learn will likely motivate her's as well.

But you must understand that to make the incongruent claim she makes at least suggests a blind grasping at some narrow thinking.

There is no one reading this, I would venture, that could do anything but laugh at the notion that "the horse would never choose the difficult way of moving."

That speaks SO loudly to the mindset of so many horse people currently.

The logic is so deeply flawed that there would be no such animal as a horse if that were the case. It would, upon birth, simply choose to lie there and die.

If that were the nature of the horse.

On the contrary. Often the horses energetic willingness to "choose the more difficult way of moving," can be the greatest of challenge to the trainer and rider.

In nearly every new circumstance this happens. The easy way would be to walk into the trailer.

The less difficult way would be to canter when asked.

The less difficult way would be to slow to a walk when frightened and bolting.

Something is decidedly wrong in her thinking, or I misunderstand how you describe it.

Some horses as placid to the point of being torpid, but I find most often that is a result of human contact that overwhelms the horse and causes it to withdraw.

Dakota did that with me for a time when I did a bit too much circle work and pushed to hard for more "energy."

It could be she sees a lot of that and interprets it as "the horse's less difficult movement choice."

We know from our play that even the oldest horses and the more placid horses have moments of choosing, for the sheer joy of it, more difficult movement.

Look at Titum and other horses whose stories are being told here daily.

I think you are so right to take a break though. One can get very stirred up (myself for instance) about these issues and cause our minds to race and our blood to rise up.

Time with Titum. That is so much more important.

Take a long break.

Donald Redux - who has been stuck indoors for too long under two feet of snow with another thirty inches coming tonight. No wonder I'm cranky at the Dressage people, eh? I'll go split some more firewood. Now if only I had a sauna.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 1:00 am 
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Donald Redux wrote:
Something is decidedly wrong in her thinking, or I misunderstand how you describe it.


I think the point is only that she is mistaking "not forcing or pressuring the horse" for "letting the horse move however he wants". And then she would be very right: if you don´t tell the horse that you would like him to collect (or step under or stretch or whatever), he won´t do it in your training. But then I don´t understand her either, because I have explained this so much. Maybe she means something else and it´s me who doesn´t understand...

Anyway, she is a very nice person and I am thankful to her. I see it like this: without her I wouldn´t sit here now, pondering over the neck back band (for which I still would love to have a good and understandable name ;)). So I would not learn...


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 5:58 am 
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Romy wrote:
Donald Redux wrote:
Something is decidedly wrong in her thinking, or I misunderstand how you describe it.


I think the point is only that she is mistaking "not forcing or pressuring the horse" for "letting the horse move however he wants". And then she would be very right: if you don´t tell the horse that you would like him to collect (or step under or stretch or whatever), he won´t do it in your training. But then I don´t understand her either, because I have explained this so much. Maybe she means something else and it´s me who doesn´t understand...

Anyway, she is a very nice person and I am thankful to her. I see it like this: without her I wouldn´t sit here now, pondering over the neck back band (for which I still would love to have a good and understandable name ;)). So I would not learn...


The name of the backband, both the ligament and the muscles involved, in Latin, are in the pdf file of the German veterinarian I cited above.

http://schleese.com/documents/FUNCTIONA ... 0HORSE.pdf

"The nuchal/supraspinous ligament"

"The respective muscles and ligaments attached to
these spinous processes, the nuchal/supraspinous ligament on one side, the big croup muscles including parts of the thigh muscles on the other, follow this system of opposing forces along the horse’s back. I call this system “Obere Verspannung”, or “upper contraction system”. It has a key function in lifting the horse’s back. There’s also a contraction system on the underside of the horse (Untere Verspannung), consisting of the abdominal muscle as well as the iliopsoas muscles situated beneath
the lumbar portion of the spine."

Could you be referring, Romy, to the horse's loins?

Here, from another source, is a good list of the muscles and muscle groups involved in the horse's back:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back_(horse)#Muscles.2C_tendons_and_ligaments

"Muscles, tendons and ligaments

See also: Muscular system of the horse

A complex interplay of bone and muscle, supported by powerful tendons and ligaments allows a horse to "round" under the saddle and best support the weight of a rider
A complex interplay of bone and muscle, supported by powerful tendons and ligaments allows a horse to "round" under the saddle and best support the weight of a rider

The horse has no collarbone. Hence the entire torso is attached to the shoulders by powerful muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The spine of a horse's back is supported by muscles, three ligaments, and abdominal muscles. The Spinalis Dorsi begins beneath the thoracic section of the Trapezius ilium, and it finishes at the fourth cervical vertebra. The Lumbar muscle or the Longissimus dorsi finishes at the vertebrae along the spine and the last four cervical vertebrae. This muscle stretches the spine and also raises and supports the head and neck, and is the main muscle used for rearing, kicking, jumping, and turning. It is the longest and strongest muscle, and is the muscle the rider sits on. The Intercostal muscles begin at the spaces between the ribs and aid in breathing. The external and internal abdominal oblique is attached to the rib and pelvic bones, and it supports the internal organs. The Supraspinous ligament begins at the poll and ends at the croup (sacral vertebrae). It supports the head and neck, and its traction force aids in supporting the weaker thoracic and lumbar areas. It spreads out and attaches to the spines of the cervical vertebrae. In the wither and neck area, it is called the nuchal ligament. "

And, Romy, I see no reason why we, who speak different languages as our first language, can't use German terms as well.

Gosh we commonly use French horse terms and usually understand them quite well.
:)


Now as to your correspondent.

She apparently wants to maintain contact and good relations with you. She appears open to learning, as you are.

She might not be as clear about what she is saying as she could wish.

Looking at myself, I know I'm always trying to find clarity of expression, and failing far more often than not.

As we discuss things back and forth (I tend to write like I talk in person) we come close and closer to an understanding.

I'd say just keep the conversation going at the pace comfortable for you. And assume, as you are, the best intentions of the other person.

If we are to influence others in the AND philosophy we should be as gentle and considerate was we wish to be with our horses. You seem to be doing that with your correspondent.

It is a lesson for me. Sometimes I get too "enthusiastic" and run over people. Thanks for the reminder.

Alles Gute zum Neuen Jahr, Romy.

Donald Redux

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 9:41 am 
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You can read also this:
http://nicholnl.wcp.muohio.edu/DingosBr ... ndLow.html

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 9:47 am 
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Donald Redux wrote:
The name of the backband, both the ligament and the muscles involved, in Latin, are in the pdf file of the German veterinarian I cited above.
...
"The nuchal/supraspinous ligament"


Yes, I think that´s the correct name. But I don´t know if it is a good idea to name this thread "Training the nuchal ligament", because most people wouldn´t know what it means.

In German it´s "Nacken-Rücken-Band", translated word by word I think this would be neck back band. But I am afraid that this sounds a little bit funny for a native English speaker?

And I am still in search for the correct name for the German "Dehnungshaltung". Stretching posture also sounds strange...

Thank you, Donald, for all this material. I will go down and feed the horses now and then I will read it. :D

Thanks, Ania!!! :D


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 11:21 am 
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Romy wrote:
Well, she also said that the horse would never choose the difficult way of moving and that rewards would not help, but that was just her opinion. Her (and another´s) point was that lenghtening the back is necessary, but that there is a difference between forms of lenghthening ("dehnen" instead of "strecken" in German, but I don´t know where there is a difference and in English both seem to be "stretching"...). And that taking down the head was not enough...


With my combined knowledge of German, English and Dutch, I guess there is a slight difference between stretching and dehnen: stretching can be just lengthening specific musclegroups: horse trotting with nose over the ground to loosen the back muscles, or doing the back crunch to stretch the belly muscles and those of the pelvis.
Dehnen however is more a stretching the total body in movement towards a better balance between upper and lower muscles - and it not only involves stretching but also tightening specific musclegroups to get that ideal balance. The ideal dehnungshaltung also isn't that with the nose touching the ground, but the head vertical with the nose at the height of the chest and the neck being curled up behind that because of the thrush of the hindlegs that are pushing under and forwards - into the reins in traditional dressage.

The difference between stretching and dehnung is that stretching tackles a specific musclegroup and also (often) only in one way: for example you lengthen (stretch) the nuchal ligament by lowering the head.
With dehnung however you stretch the tendons/ligaments that run over the spine from head to tail in two ways: one by lowering the head a bit, and the other by asking the hindlegs to step under further (forwards, often) and more active which rotates the pelvis and produces a tug/pull from the back end of that same nuchal ligament (which runs all the way from ears to tail). Only that pull on the same string from the back can lift the shoulders, giving the dehnungshaltung a more round look than just stretching with the head on the ground.

So in fact you can say that stretching with the head down is only one half of the dehnungshaltung. The other half is getting the hindlegs to step further under/forwards in order to rotate the pelvis and get that pull on the nuchal ligament which raises the back, shoulders and base of the neck, and then actively involve muscles to do the same - which is why most horses feel it's reptty hard to sustain that posture for a longer time in the beginning. One method to start 'dehning' the horse that is now most commonly used in dressage is by making the hindlegs step further forwards under the body in a very forwards trot. However, that is only one way. The other is simply the stepping under on the circle. And we do that already. :)
The extra benefit of that is also that you not only tighten the nuchal ligament and pull the back and shoulders up, but in the same slow movement you also work on the left/right bend of the horse and stretch those muscles too. It's a total body workout.

So they are right in that just dropping the head is not enough, it's just a start. Then you have to get the hindquarter more active and the pelvis rotated to get a good dehnungshaltung and a raising of the back. And from that you can collect again. The only thing that they have forgotten is that there are more than one ways to do that: pushing your horse forwards in a strong trot and catching that energy in your reins again to make the head go down is only one way. Stepping under on the circle in regulare walk or trot or canter is the other and because it's slower and more intense (with the bending), the horse will be more aware of his movements and will understand them better and sooner.


Last edited by admin on Sun Dec 30, 2007 12:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 11:24 am 
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I just replaced this topic to the research section, as it mentions a lot of good sources for further study, and it's a bigger subject than groundwork only. :)


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 11:50 am 
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Thanks so much, Miriam!!

I just place the link to your stepping under in the circle and sideways movements explanations here, just in case I am not the only one who wants to work on this now ;):

http://www.artofnaturaldressage.com/viewtopic.php?t=327

Just one more question: when Titum is walking with the head down, I already do ask him to use the hindlegs. Just by pointing to them with my finger. And then (in most cases) his head indeed comes up a little bit to the height of the chest... Does this make any sense? Or should I stop this for some reason?


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 1:25 pm 
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No!

Because that is exactly what you would want to see. 8)

It's actually not that complex: the nuchal ligament (nackenband) is not a muscle, but a tendon. It's a piece of quite unelastic string that runs from the back of the skull (roughly between the ears) to the top of the tal, above all the vertebraem connecting them.
As this tendon is quite unelastic, this means that there is only that much rope to go around in the body: if the head goes all the way to the ground, you can imagine that all the excess rope is pulled forwards to the head through the body. The same happens when the horse curls up his neck totally, like ofr example in the roll-kur: the nuchal ligament is pulled forwards. And by that the nuchal ligament rope is actually pulling back of the pelvis and tail up, instead of down. It un-collects the horse, but it can be a good starting point for very hollow horses because they need to realise that they can lower their head first.

So what you then want is to engage the hindquarters again and start moving towards collection: you want to bring the hindlegs further under, have the joints bend further in movement and therefore rotate the back of the pelvis and tail downwards in order to make the angles between all the hindquarter-joints smaller and store energy in those 'springs' so that the horse can make more upwards jumps when moving - collecting. When the pelvis is rotated however, it pulls at that same nuchal ligament as the head did, but now it is pulled in the opposite direction and with a much stronger force (very logical, the head and neck weigh a lot less than the hindquarters). So that same nuchal ligament rope is now pulled back again as the back end of the hindquarters rotate down. And that causes the neck and head to raise again, as there is only that much room in the tendon.

It's quite logic: a horse who is first introduced to dressage, needs to learn that he can stretch that nuchal ligament and all the upper back muscles, and the easiest way to show him that is by allowing him to stretch his neck down and out. When he starts doing that on his own, you start to teach him that the stretch/pull on the tendon can also be produced by rotating the pelvis, which lessens the weight on the frontquarters and makes the horse able to respond faster. That rotation of the pelvis, through the ligament, causes the nose to lift. The nose then will be around vertical and the tip of the nose is around breast-height. As the horse gets stronger in his hindquarters, he will be able to rotate the back his pelvis further and further down (tail becoming lower in collection), and the head will become higher and higher, but still with the nose around the vertical line.

So it's very good to teach your horse to stretch his neck down, just as it is good to teach him the ramener (standing 'collected' with the neck) as those exercises help him to realise what will happen in his body when he starts learning dressage exercises which activate the hindquarters.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 2:25 pm 

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Wow what a topic is this! I will have much benefit from it with the training of my horses.

Could you say that a horse that trots with it's nose 'on' the ground, is therefore never using it's hindquarters as good as it could? Just because of the insufficient lenght of that ligament?

Interesting indeed!


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 3:39 pm 
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I guess that depends on the horse, but it does alter the movements towards 'uncollection': some very elastic horses actually lengthen their strides, but with straighter legs and less bending in their joints - because the pelvis still is pulled upwards so the legs lengthen in order to still be able to reach the ground. The hindquarters become more springy because there is less weight resting on then (it's pulled forwards), but that is because the horse is actually 'walking on his toes' at the back and not because he actively jumps up from actively bent and weighed down joints. Sporthorses are very good at that.

Other less elastic horses will shorten their strides from the hindlegs when walking with the nose to the ground. They bend their joints more and raise their legs further than the first horse, but because the hindquarters are pulled forwards and up they cannot reach very far underneath the body. You see that more in Iberic horses, is my experience, who always tend to move more up than forwards. I guess that quarterhorses and most American breeds with less wide strides will respond like that too - Sjors as well. ;)

And then there is the very stiff horse (Blacky in the past), who in the beginning responds to lowering the head to the ground, by just placing his hindlegs further behind his body because he just can't reach forwards as his legs are too untrained to do so when the back of the pelvis is rotated up. It's a bit similar to showArabians who are trotting flashy with high neck and high tail, and have their hindlegs looking very active in trot, but stretched out far behind the body. When such an extremely hollow horse will lower his neck, he can only do that at first by making room in the nugal ligament by rotating the pelvis up. But at least that is a start in lengthening the back musculature, even if the horse will go on the forehand like this first. Then you introduce the stepping under to tip the pelvis down again and the head with lengthened neck will come a bit higher. And then you further raise the collection, tip the pelvis further down as the horse is taught to reach further underneath the body and less behind it with the hindlegs, and the horse will start raising his head and neck more and more. In the beginning when raising the collection and rotating the pelvis he might respond to that ligament pull by pulling the nose up towards the horizontal, but he will soon find the balance and learn that he can have his head in a comfortable, vertical position again if he relaxes and let the ligament pull the heavy lower neckvertebraebe pulled back instead of just the light upper neckvertebrae (creating the hollow outlook).

So that's why I don't believe that we just train tricks. 8)


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 Post subject: Clarity
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 6:31 pm 
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Posts: 3688
Location: Pacific Northwest U.S.
Miriam wrote:
I guess that depends on the horse, but it does alter the movements towards 'uncollection': some very elastic horses actually lengthen their strides, but with straighter legs and less bending in their joints - because the pelvis still is pulled upwards so the legs lengthen in order to still be able to reach the ground. The hindquarters become more springy because there is less weight resting on then (it's pulled forwards), but that is because the horse is actually 'walking on his toes' at the back and not because he actively jumps up from actively bent and weighed down joints. Sporthorses are very good at that.

Other less elastic horses will shorten their strides from the hindlegs when walking with the nose to the ground. They bend their joints more and raise their legs further than the first horse, but because the hindquarters are pulled forwards and up they cannot reach very far underneath the body. You see that more in Iberic horses, is my experience, who always tend to move more up than forwards. I guess that quarterhorses and most American breeds with less wide strides will respond like that too - Sjors as well. ;)

And then there is the very stiff horse (Blacky in the past), who in the beginning responds to lowering the head to the ground, by just placing his hindlegs further behind his body because he just can't reach forwards as his legs are too untrained to do so when the back of the pelvis is rotated up. It's a bit similar to showArabians who are trotting flashy with high neck and high tail, and have their hindlegs looking very active in trot, but stretched out far behind the body. When such an extremely hollow horse will lower his neck, he can only do that at first by making room in the nugal ligament by rotating the pelvis up. But at least that is a start in lengthening the back musculature, even if the horse will go on the forehand like this first. Then you introduce the stepping under to tip the pelvis down again and the head with lengthened neck will come a bit higher. And then you further raise the collection, tip the pelvis further down as the horse is taught to reach further underneath the body and less behind it with the hindlegs, and the horse will start raising his head and neck more and more. In the beginning when raising the collection and rotating the pelvis he might respond to that ligament pull by pulling the nose up towards the horizontal, but he will soon find the balance and learn that he can have his head in a comfortable, vertical position again if he relaxes and let the ligament pull the heavy lower neckvertebraebe pulled back instead of just the light upper neckvertebrae (creating the hollow outlook).

So that's why I don't believe that we just train tricks. 8)


Miriam, you bring such clarity to this complex (at least when it's in words) issue.

You make me see a picture of these things happening, and how one attitude of the horse or another can change the overall posture and appearance.

I do wish I could work in a hall with mirrors. At least your commentary make me want that.

And I always laugh to myself, at least, when I mention our "tricks" we train our horses to do.

And I laugh harder, with a tear or two of sorrow for the horse, when I think of the difference between our asking the horse to willingly perform a maneuver, such as stepping under on the circular track, and the act of forcing the horse around with rein, bit, and spur.

Which is more likely to produce the healthy, gymnastically flexible and strong horse? Silly question, of course.

I spend a good deal of time reading your former posts for this vary reason: that you bring clarity where and when it is so much needed.

Donald Redux

_________________
Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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