This is a repost from my Barnby Notes journal. I’ve decided to transfer the entire series bit by bit to my new blog. Enjoy!
March 3, 2013
The scientifically inclined side of my brain was really intrigued by Stefan Stammer’s presentation, Bio Mechanics for the Dressage Horse. As a rider, it’s important that I have visual images to back-up the verbal explanation of ‘how things work’. Stefan’s gear box horse complete with all the bells & whistles, nuts & bolts was a great take home lesson.
Stefan suggested in order to control the power of our horse, we need to put the horse’s gears in the correct position – forward and upwards. Riding the horse with the neck a little bit higher is ok. The gear box consists of the forehand and hind end engine. Stefan offered the example of a horse being stiff on the right side and weak in the left shoulder. We must create positive tension through proper weight distribution by stabilizing the hip rotation and not with the position of the neck which is so often used. Suppleness will be achieved through stabilizing. Negative tension is equivalent to the ‘run away’ mode.
Especially during the warm up, think of muscular slings around the ribcage & hips of your horse. Is the ribcage up and interconnected with the hips? Don’t forget to install a springy, relaxed and supple system in your horse. Of course, all of this requires a rider in active balance and is not achieved by using the bridle and spurs.
In conclusion, Stefan stressed that we should build the athletic points of the horse and this is not achieved by the actual movements, which is the finished product. Test the gears of your horse often! Are the front legs forward and ribcage up?
I could draw an example of Stefan’s gear box horse here, but it would not be pretty because if there are two things that I do not do well it is draw and sing.
I highly recommend checking out Stefan’s presentation for yourself!