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Decode your horse’s body:
a training insight checklist
Training your horse is all about optimizing their physical and mental well-being. Want to know if you’re on the right track? Your horse’s body holds the answers. From the tip of the nose to the tail end, every inch reveals whether your training is beneficial for your horse.
If you’re thinking, ‘I’m not sure what to look for,’ don’t worry. This checklist has got you covered. With clear photos and instructive videos, you’ll become an expert at recognising the signs.
This free checklist will guide you on what to observe, what to feel, and what to pay attention to in your horse. Use this knowledge to elevate your training efforts and prevent injuries effectively.
horse owners helped
minutes reading time
Benefits for you and your horse
You can recognise desirable and undesirable body posture of your horse
You know how your training influences your horse’s body
You can adapt your training, resulting in training with more fun and ease
You decrease the risk of injuries in your horse because of suitable training
Your horse will become healthier and happier when your training matches him even better
Why would you need a checklist?
In this checklist you’ll discover ten key checks to assess your horse’s physical well-being. You’ll learn exactly how to interpret the body posture of your horse and in what way it’s being influenced by your training.
After this checklist you’ll know if your training is truly beneficial for your horse. If improvements are needed, you’ll have gained insights on where to focus your efforts.
A hollow back, deviating leg axis, hyperthropic lower neck muscles or excessive sensitivity to contact. Just to name a few things that might indicate a mismatch between the current training and what your horse actually needs.
Do you catch yourself wishing your horse could talk? That he could finally tell you out loud how you can improve the training for him? What benefits him and what not? Yes, so do we…
And although a good chat isn’t possible, ‘reading’ his body definitely is! To do so, it’s important that you know what to look for and what to pay attention to.
Some riders possess a natural knack for this. They might not need this checklist. But can you relate to the following thoughts?
- “Ugh, I have no idea what I’m looking at!”
- “My riding instructor often points things out to me, but I struggle to see what they mean!”
- “Yes, I notice a lot of things about my horse, but I don’t know what it has to do with my training.”
Yes? In that case you’re in the right place. This checklist doesn’t only contain text and boxes to check, but also helpful photos and illustrative videos. This way you can actually practise recognising a good body posture.
Ultimately, it not only helps you evaluate your current training, but also sharpens your ability to spot posture changes in your horse proactively.
About the authors
Veterinarian Karin lives in the Netherlands and is specialised in biomechanically healthy training. She has been a rehabilitation trainer and riding instructor for over twenty years and is also myofascial release therapist, teacher, author and international speaker.
“I wanted to know exactly why so many horses, even at a young age, get injured, and how we can prevent this. So I started training and rehabilitating horses myself. That way I was able to select and study the most effective treatment methods and training principles. I worked them out into detail, until the horses clearly showed me that the training was working in their benefit and that they were happy and healthy. That’s how the Equicare-Plus educational programs and my company 4DimensionDressage were created, and how I also became a Myofascial Release Therapist.”
Tessa also lives in the Netherlands and originally, she’s a biologist. She has been researching the behavior of wild and domestic horses. Nowadays she’s an experienced riding instructor, specialised in horse and rider biomechanics.
“I started my equestrian career as a riding instructor, and I specialised in rider posture. Later I studied to become a dressage trainer, Feldenkrais practitioner for people and rehabilitation trainer for horses. I now have over twenty years of experience as a riding instructor. I am also a teacher at Equicare-Plus and I teach clinics and lessons at home and abroad. My teachings focus on awareness and training for riders, groundwork for horses and balance for rider and horse together to create a healthy, sustainable movement that’s fun for both.”