Dr. Hillary Clayton's presentation II
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Friday, November 21, 2008 05:09 PM
Core Strength - Stimulated Exercises - The next series of exercises work with horse's reflexes to a localized pressure. You can use a hoof pick or some other sturdy and pointy but not sharp device to induce the reflex reaction. Finger pressure may not be effective with some horses. Again the stimulation should be repeated 3-5 times for each exercise. These exercises improve posture and develop muscles that round back and tilt pelvis which are important in riding.
  • Lifting Withers - Put the pointer between the front legs, create upward pressure, draw pressure backwards along the sternum to encourage more lift.
  • Pelvic Tilt - Stand on the side by your horse's haunches. Put gentle gradual pressure directly on the vertebra at the base of the tail. If there is no reaction move up to the next vertebra. You are looking for a "sweet spot", your horse will tilt his pelvic downwards in reflexive reaction. Hold for a few seconds. Remember where it has happened for the next time.
  • Lateral Bending - Apply pressure to one side of the haunches between hip and tail head. Hold pressure for a few seconds.
Balancing Exercises - These exercises put the horse in unusual slightly unstable position. This encourages the horse to engage different muscles to stabilize his body. Because in freedom horses rarely put themselves in such conditions it develops new ways for muscles to work braking old habitual paths. I encourage riders to invent their own balancing exercises. Just remember to have common sense and approach everything new gradually and with caution.
  • Engaging the sling muscles - Apply pressure with your hands to the middle of the chest. Push backwards to initiate rocking backwards. Do not allow your horse to step backwards.
  • Activate Pelvic Stabilizers
    - Tail pull - Gently pull the horse's tail to the side. When you feel your horse is resisting, hold for a few seconds. Work both sides.
    - Chest push - Ask someone to help you. One person picks the horse's hind leg, another pushes horse's chest backwards. Push gently and carefully. You want only to stress your horse's balance, your horse should engage his muscles to hold the position. You can hold the front leg and push his chest backwards.
  • Hind leg extension - Finish the exercises with hind leg extension. You can pick his leg up as for hoof picking and carefully stretch backwards. Take time to teach your horse this stretch little by little. If you pull too much too hard your horse will try to snatch his leg from your hands. Dr. Hillary Clayton had another way to do the stretch. However, in my opinion it is cumbersome and less effective. Her idea is to stay facing the horse's side by the haunches. List his hind leg and put it on your lifted knee at the hock joint. Lift your knee up and out to encourage stretching.
Happy riding...
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