Spring Blog

Manolo Mendez and Broga

Manolo Mendez and Broga

It has been a long time – too long – since we have communicated and shared our thoughts. We do apologize for this.

Unfortunately, most of the last half of the 2012 was spent addressing some very serious health challenges for Dr. R.  We are happy to say that they have been overcome and that he is back and stronger than ever!

Our goal of sharing information and discussing pertinent health issues remains the same – our, sincere desire to promote and empower you with knowledge of how you can better your horses’ lives.

“Natural Crookedness” or “Laterality” is still the focus of our thoughts and practice. We are acutely aware of how deeply these factors affect the horse’s health, performance and soundness. This very topic is a puzzle to many horsemen and many professionals as well. There is considerable argument over terms of laterality, terms such as dominance, weight bearing, free leg verses restricted or supporting leg. Dr. R is writing an extensive paper explaining our concept of right or left forelimb “dominance”. Suffice to say that, at this point, the terms left or right handed are very poor terms. Horses do not have hands. That terminology leads to misunderstanding the forelimb biomechanics of man, who is a biped  vs. the forelimb of the horse who is a quadruped. That paper will come out soon in a forthcoming blog.

Correcting the crookedness and changing the biomechanics  is becoming an important and sometimes contentious discussion subject, with many different voices, opinions and linguistics being expressed. We are all chasing the same goals that the riding masters from Xenophon onward espoused – masters such as De Carpentry, and Baucher and  Nuno Oliveira, who penned these lines: “True straightness consists of being able, while riding on the center line, to perform at any moment, a correct circle in either direction. We have a beautiful example of that type of riding when we look at the picture of Manolo Mendez riding Broga. You feel that he could, at ANY moment do a circle in EITHER direction and utilize any gait (if he were on the center line instead of on the wall). Isn’t this what we all aspire to do?

We fully recognize  the impact that crookedness has with respect to the performance ability and soundness of our patients. Dr Thomas Ritter beautifully expressed in two sentences (in an article on Natural Crookedness) our whole philosophy and the strong principles that are the foundation of our veterinary practice.

We quote Dr. Ritter!

“Achieving functional straightness is one of the most fundamental demands in training horses, because a crooked horse will never be able to develop impulsion self carriage or lightness, not even to mention, collection. What is even worse is that a crooked horse is laterally and longitudinally unbalanced and will, therefore, not remain sound in the long run, as any imbalance creates stiffness and bracing which translate into unnecessary wear and tear on joints, tendons, and ligaments.” (emphasis added)

These powerful words should be engraved on the doors of every stall, every tackroom wall, and be memorized by each aspiring horse owner or rider, whether they want to go on the trail, jump, do eventing, endurance, dressage, or do any of the Western disciplines!

On the news front, we are pleased to announce that we will be organizing another straightness clinic with Klaus Schoneich, the German trainer and author of “Correct Movement in Horses”. The clinic is set for July 20th to 23rd and will be hosted by Hullinndalur Farm in Landrum, SC. It will be fascinating to again analyse the biomechanics of each horse, observe the changes over the course of the clinic and assess the progress of the returning horses. Register online, whether you want to bring a horse or just audit!

The book “Correct Movement in Horses” by Gabriele and Klaus Schoneich is presently out of print, but we have been promised a reprint date of September 15th of this year. It will be available then from our website, as well as from other equine book sources in the US.

We have already set up quite a number of clinics this year. We will be doing our first seminar since teaching in South Africa in January and are planning to be in Gardnerville, NV on April 6th and 7th (www.equineownersacademy.com). We are also looking forward to participate at the International Veterinary Acupuncture Congress in Louisiana, from May 16th to 19th. It will be followed by the Saddle Fitting Course for Equinology (www.equinology.com) in California from May 28th to the 31st. The rest of the year will see us in England, Canada, Australia as well as back in South Africa. More US clinics are also in the works. Check our calendar for further updates and more details.

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