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How Your Body Affects Your Horse
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How Your Body Affects Your Horse

Two days after his trim, my 7 year old Mustang, Tucker, told me his hip hurt. His farrier had trimmed him to open his hips up because he appeared tight. I figured this caused his muscles to become sore, so I set an appointment with a body worker for him. During his session, the body worker discovered that he was off in his right hip and his left shoulder and had been for a lot more than two days. She helped him work out some of the kinks while we discussed what could have caused it. We went over past slips and falls, saddle fit, exercise (and lack thereof), herd behavior, and many other things. She advised me not to ride him and give him time to straighten out. She worked on him 3 more times over the next 6 weeks. The last time she worked on him the farrier came out later that day.

I told the farrier what we had been doing the last 6 weeks, and he confirmed that Tucker was taking weight off his right hind and putting it on his left fore. Again we discussed what could be causing it. The farrier trimmed him according to what Tucker's structure and feet were telling him. And as I walked Tucker out so the farrier could see him move, he exclaimed "I know what is wrong with Tucker!"

He asked if I had any pain in my lower back. I told him I usually have soreness in my lower right due to my right leg being shorter than my left. "That's what I thought. I saw it when you were walking." I am so used to it that I don't even notice it anymore, but Tucker sure does. When I ride, my imbalance transfers to the saddle, and I tend to sit back and to the right ever so slightly.

Last winter, I started trail riding him in an all purpose English saddle which is a lot less forgiving than my all purpose Western saddle. The benefit of English saddles is closer contact for the rider to feel the horse. The problem with me riding in an English is just that. Tucker could feel me just as much as I could feel him. My imbalance caused him to get sore in his hip. This then transferred to his opposite shoulder.

So the solution to all of this? I start yoga to get my hips back in line and, and I wear a 1/4 inch wedge under my right heel to keep them there. Tucker keeps getting body work and proper trims to help line him back out. Tucker also told me that I can't ride him in the English until I get straightened out.

More about movement, structure, balance

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Leave a Comment

  1. HorseRiderSam
    HorseRiderSam
    Great Post! It Is amzing what horses can tell us about ourselves in so many ways.
    Log in to reply.
    1. Marley
      Marley
      I'm glad you enjoyed it. I know I have learned more about myself while spending time with horses (and other animals) than I have anywhere else.
      Log in to reply.
  2. Archippus
    Good information Marley! Voted +1
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    1. Marley
      Marley
      Thank you Coach.
      Log in to reply.
  3. Cherion Brook
    Cherion Brook
    Great Post. I'm potentially starting research into this area! If all goes to plan expect some informative posts! Great read.
    Log in to reply.
    1. Marley
      Marley
      I look forward to the information. If you need some case studies let me know.
      Log in to reply.
  4. arabobsession
    arabobsession
    Great article, I just had my saddle fitted as I try to very regularly, my fitter when she met me for the first time picked up that I had had an operation on my right knee and that it isn't right, she also noticed that I have a twist at the top of my spine, so fitted my saddle to both me and my horse. At my last fitting she fitted for my horse now being fitter and leaner, and straightened up my seat by adding a small shim to my right side, I felt instant changes and my horse responded by being herself and arguing about it, lol this is normal for her. Your body has such a huge impact on your horse and so many people forget or just don't know this, voted
    Log in to reply.
    1. Marley
      Marley
      That is a great example! Thank you for sharing it. I'm glad you have a saddle fitter that understands the whole picture.
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