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Hind-end Function and Skeletal Structure

We had a truly spectacular webinar with Dr Rachel Heart Bellini Tuesday evening in the masterclass (replays available) where we talked about all things hind-end function.

Some of the key take aways I want to share with everyone are -

1.) The posture and skeletal placement that you see and learn in textbooks is NOT what is actually going on under the horse and therefore needs to be considered when talking about rehabilitation and training practices.

On the left we see a horse with a dropped thoracic sling positioned over a “neutral” equine skeleton to paint a picture.

Under the surface what you would actually find is a cervical spine that has dropped down, hiding behind the scapula that has been rotated forward. (Implicating wear and tear on c6/C7/T1 and the brachial plexus and causing a medial rotation of the elbows implicating the rest of the lower limb).

You also see the rib cage dropped drown and forward, completely stuck forward into the scapulas. Imagine saddle fitting that! (Implicating the diaphragm and fixing the lumbar spine).

You then see the hind end, angled to a point, showcasing the significant flexion the pelvis is stuck in from the psoas tension caused by the lumbar spine bracing to help stabilize the drop in the cervical spine. (Implicating the lumbosacral joint, lumbosacral plexus, causing an external rotation of the femurs and offsetting the bony column down through the hock/stifle/lower limb).

This horse, does not match the skeleton and should not be treated as if it does.

On the right, we see the same horse after a single nerve release treatment and 10 minutes of in-hand BTMM work.

Much closer to the structure of the neutral skeleton.

I want you to consider for a moment, the implications of asking the horse on the left to dig deeper and drive from behind with its posture and bones crammed like that.

Versus - Asking the horse on the right.

2.) When looking at before and afters of people advertising their training/rehabilitation work, keep the above mentioned in mind and ask some questions -

Does the body and neck look longer?

Does the hind end look smoother and more round showing proper flexion of the sacrum or does it look more pointy showing a fixed pelvis?

Is it easy for the horse to relax it’s head and neck or does it feel like it needs to hold it higher?

The entire body should be showing positive changes, particularly the skeletal structure.

3.) The body does not lie, and bones are just floating in a sea of soft tissue.


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