Archive for January, 2012

December Straightness Clinic

January 14, 2012


At the beginning of December, we were delighted to bring Klaus Schoneich from Germany, for our first “Straightening the Crooked Horse” clinic here in the South East. The 4-day clinic was hosted very efficiently by Sara Lyter at her beautiful “Hulinndalur Farm” situated at the southern border of North Carolina, near Columbus.

The first day started with a well attended lecture on the Equine Straightening System developed by Klaus and Gabrielle Schoneich at their Center for Anatomically Correct Horsemanship, in Germany. The theory presented by Mr Schoneich exposed the secret behind the differing biomechanics of the natural horse versus the ridden horse. The lecture, supported by illustrative pictures and videos, as well as explicit drawings, explained why every horse owner, trainer, rider, veterinarian or hoof practitioner needs to be aware of the inherent crookedness of horses. The second part of the presentation showed the essential elements and necessary steps needed to best remedy the problem.

All participants stayed at the farm for lunch. The meals were beautifully catered by a local chef. The first part of the afternoon was set aside for the assessment and videoing of three horses. That was followed by analysis and discussion of each horse’s movement. The slow motion capabilities of the camera allowed the participants to clearly see the negative impact of crookedness. The rest of the afternoon saw the assessment of all the other participating horses. Each horse was individually lunged and evaluated by Mr Schoneich who shared his thoughts on conformation, shoeing, trimming, nutrition as well as saddle fitting.

Klaus did most of the lungeing on the first two days of the clinic, live-commenting on the work he was doing with each horse, and explaining at great length when people had difficulties grasping the concepts. The following days, the owners went on to work their own horses, whilst Klaus was guiding them and helping them position their body more effectively. He relentlessly went into the round pen with the owner. He taught them to watch intently, feel with compassion and anticipate swiftly. He wanted them to use their “horse sense”. ¬†Who would have thought that lungeing could be so different from what they had been taught over the years? The goal, as explained by Klaus is, to take control of the shoulders in order to address the centrifugal and shear forces that are generated.

Four days of training is really a short time to try to accomplish anything, but we did feel that all of the horses showed significant improvements. We had a wide mix of horses/riders/disciplines, which made it very interesting since we were able to observe different phases of training. Every day, everybody stayed until the last horse was worked, which ended pretty late at night. Mr Schoneich with his amazing energy and unfaltering patience was determined to teach each and every one how to achieve proper straightness training.

This short format clinic was just an introduction for postural rehabilitation and straightness training, and has be continued by the owner/trainer. Through the first step of the straightness training, the horse learns to balance itself on the lunge and becomes more ambidextrous. It is only when the horse is no longer falling out or leaning on its shoulder, that he will start working with an upward swinging back. The horse is then ready for its training under saddle.

We are already working on the 2012 dates, for Klaus and Gabrielle Schoneich’s next clinic. We are hoping to bring them to both, the East and West Coasts. Stay tuned and keep checking the website for clinic details.