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When striving for core muscle strength and balance in good equine posture, every aspect of your equine’s body must be taken into consideration. If one element of the body is off balance, it will offset the entire structure. It is important to have a good farrier that really knows how to balance the hooves properly so they can properly support the skeletal frame (photo #1).
Then the equine needs to be taught how to move in good posture so the hooves wear as evenly as possible, especially if you will be riding without shoes. We begin with leading exercises with attention to balance and good posture for both the equine AND the handler, and teaches the equine to remain erect and BEND through turns through his rib cage instead of leaning through turns like a motorcycle (photo #2).
If the equine is an older animal in need of rehabilitation, we will use our “Elbow Pull” (a self-correcting training aid used at this stage that is not necessary with those under three years old). Once the base is solid through leading exercises, the equine is taken into the round pen for lunging and ground driving in our “Elbow Pull” and then ground driven in the open with this same device to help contain his balance after it remains loose throughout in the round pen (photo #3). We DO NOT disengage but rather encourage hindquarters motion because that is the “motor.” We want to improve his range of motion and encourage the equine to step well under his body, so he will be able to support the rider’s weight effectively and efficiently without losing his own balance. We will ride with the “Elbow Pull” for another year to help the equine support the weight of the rider until he can manage without it. The result is a happy, confident, relaxed, safe and healthy equine companion that is truly capable of doing anything you ask (photo #4)!