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  • Writer's pictureKristie Cotton

" Does that make sense?"




Lizzie Fera on Marcato/ Photo credit: Katie Damon Photography


This is a phrase that I tend to overuse when I am teaching. I don't know if I can replace this repetitive question in my lessons. Once you learn the physiology of the horse, you can't unlearn it. You can't dumb it down, and if you are a true advocate for the horse, you will care deeply about including theory and knowledge of biomechanics to your everyday training/lessons.

"Riders cannot progress without theory. They must learn to think logically and to know exactly why they are doing specific exercises in the schooling of the horse"

-(Paraphrased) Johann Hinnemann




A crooked horse is one that is not bearing its weight properly over all four legs. If you are not paying attention to these imbalances, things will progressively get worse

The crooked, braced horse becomes resentful, one sided and in severely ignored situations - lame.

when a horse is crooked, the hindquarter is slightly carried to one side. This helps the horse to avoid carrying the weight of himself and the rider. This means that they can avoid bending which actually creates true straightness. This bracing allows the horse to bear more weight on the outside shoulder, become inverted and take shorter steps with the inside hind leg. Repetitively allowing the horse to carry themselves crooked and braced, begins to have consequences.

If you have a painful back, do you take large steps or shorten your stride to compensate for the pain. Do you want to immediately start running with a tense painful back? We put so much thought into our horse's behavior without realizing this behavior is the only way they can communicate. If we are not applying theory and knowledge of their physique, we are allowing muscle compensations that can affect every aspect of our horse. Horses were not born to know how to carry us, but they do their best to be all that we require or demand from them.

Have you ever given a squirmy child a " piggyback ride?' The unexpected movement causes you to have to rebalance both your weight and the weight of the child.

To truly appreciate learning correct biomechanics, you must learn to feel and understand functional and dysfunctional movement. Including your veterinarian and educated farrier can help to know if these behaviors or dysfunctional movement are mechanical or stresses of something underlying.

Learn to appreciate and understand functional, anatomical, equine movement that helps the horse with overall athletic performance as well as relationship with their rider.


" Positioning allows the horse to remain aligned in the spine, which allows even movement of his limbs as well as supple articulation of his joints when he moves on a curved pattern. Positioning brings “the shock absorbers” of the horse into play, allowing him to move through bent lines without losing impulsion or balance, or damaging the purity of his gaits."

-Charles De Kunffy




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