Wednesday's With Jen! (Episode 1) Understanding poor posture in the horse.
Jenny is an Equine Physiotherapist, Rehabilitation Specialist and Spinal Manipulation Therapist, and has been working with horses professionally for over 10 years.
We asked Jenny to describe a bit about her work.....
''Firstly I absolutely LOVE my work with horses! I have become specialised over time, in a few key areas: back pain in horses, postural and movement improvement, and rehabilitation after injury. These are areas that really motivate me as I see such big positive transformations in horses going through rehabilitation or posture/movement improvement!
I live in Staffordshire in the Midlands (UK), and over the last couple of years have developed a variety of training courses, ebooks, my blog, a membership and zoom calls, all to enable ways to work together without location being an issue!
I love working with horses owners who want to learn more about their horses, and want to improve their horses so that they can be the very best version of themselves!''
Jenny has written a series of blogs for Horzehoods readers, on some of her specialised areas, so we hope you will find them interesting and informative...we are looking forward to reading them too. Each episode will release every Wednesday.
BLOG: Understanding poor posture in the horse.
'Poor posture' in the horse is a term that is used quite frequently these days, which is a good thing in my opinion! The more we talk about it, the more horse owners can learn about it, what it means for the horse, how to spot it, and most importantly what to do about it for the horse.
The horses posture is a part of my work that I'm constantly looking at, assessing, adjusting work plans, rehab plans etc, to get the best results for the horse in terms of postural improvement, comfort levels, injury recovery, body strengthening, movement improvement, and overall wellness.
In my experience, horses can be suffering with low grade back pain and stiffness through the body, especially after injury, and if they don't go through a more thorough 'full body' rehab which specifically addresses posture and movement, they can remain stuck in low grade lameness/stiffness/'not quite right'.
So onto POOR POSTURE IN THE HORSE...
Poor posture in the horse can be subtle or quite obvious, and of course there are various shades of grey too. One of the issues with being able to assess our own horses posture, is that we see them every day! So taking regular photos can be helpful to review body changes from time to time.
Poor posture in the human is basically a weak core, so a slumping type posture, no core strength to hold the upper body up in a nice upright posture where the spinal vertebrae sit in alignment on top of each other.
In the horse, poor posture is also related to a weak core/body, the abdominal line (belly) will look sagging, and the back will be dropped and look weak. The horse may be compensating for this by holding the neck high and stiff.
Poor posture can also develop through low grade lameness and compensation by 'bracing' in the back, directly through back strain, and we also have GRAVITY as a constant downward pull on the horses body!
I talk about poor posture a LOT as it's so significant for our horses...the dipping in the middle part of the back is what creates 'kissing spine' which is a painful condition for the horse. So being able to target this area of the horse within our exercise plans really helps to prevent this happening - it's a no brainer really, strong core, happy horse!
TAKE A LOOK AT THE PHOTOS ACCOMPANYING THIS BLOG - these are photos of my horse, before and after kissing spine surgery. They should be helpful in 'getting your eye in' on what bad vs good posture looks like. There are photos at different time points, including a current photo where he has just had some time off so not quite as strong in his core as the previous photos. But a good comparison to see through the photos.
HOW TO HELP YOUR HORSE
One of the most effective ways to help your horse to improve their posture is to add in CORE EXERCISES to your daily routine, to mobilise the horses body and start strengthening their core muscles! They only take about 5 minutes once you have learnt how to do them, your horse will enjoy doing them with you, and you can make a big positive difference to their body, and how to they move, by doing these exercises daily...it's like doing a quick pilates routine for your horse!! I see HUGE differences in horses that are doing these daily exercises!
If you would like to learn more...as a special offer for Horzehoods customers, here is a discount code for my Core Exercises online course!! It's an instant access course, which includes a detailed lesson on posture, plus the 2 sets of exercises that I use and recommend on a daily basis for core strengthening! Use the code at checkout on my website, details below: CODE HH20
Online Courses: https://www.equinephysicaltherapist.co.uk/training
Thank you so much to Jenny for taking the time to provide a fantastic article that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I will take the time to view your social media pages and your other work.
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