Chazot 67

Fake clothing

I no longer look for the good in peoples. I search for the real…because while good is often dressed in fake clothing, real is naked and proud no matter the scars. (Chishala Lishmwa)

Mechanical stresses that are equally critical for control of tissues form and function. It is well known that muscles and bone actively remodel in response to change in exercise or altered gravity as experienced in spaceflight. “Experiments with cultured cells confirm that mechanical stresses can directly alter many cellular processes, including signal transduction, gene expression, growth, differentiation, and survival.(Christopher S. Chen and Donald E. Ingber. Tensegrity and mechanoregulation: from skeleton to cytoskeleton, 1999) This is why he is so careful bringing me back to work. Old theories believed that changes in bones and soft tissue structures occurred after three months of rest or drastic change in the mechanical stresses acting on our body. New researches demonstrated that changes occurred much faster. Cells adapt to stress and any drastic change in our level of physical activity does creates adaptation of our muscles and bones.


Mechanoresponsiveness is actually a fundamental feature of all living tissues, equine as well as humans. A few weeks ago, I was so happy to be tacked up and walk with him in the training ring. He was back from is serious accident. I was expecting that he will walk slowly but he did not ask me to slow my pace. He knew that it would be muscularly more demanding for me and he walked the straight line at my pace. I can see that he was not very strong and I resisted any artistic expression of my creative spirit. The next day, he was sent back to the emergency room and diagnosed with blood clog. He came to see me the following day very lame. As a horse I would say that he was on three legs but since as a human he does have only two, he was literally on one leg. Following his mind, I understood that it was not due to our training session but instead, the problem was the outcome of a drastic change in his physical activities. In one day, he went form a very active life to complete physical inactivity on a bed or long chair.


Now, he is back, stronger and not lame. I noticed that he had a swollen left leg but he told me, “The leg will have to follow me, swelling or not.” He still is very cautious about my work. The first two days, he lets me walked at the end of the lunge, on the circles and the straight lines, one day going left and the other day going right. I felt that he was stronger and I executed one of my creative move. He was smiling form one ear to the other. I radiated internally; he is back both, physically and psychologically.  


Today I offered a few strides of trot and he let me do it. Enthuse makes me accelerated the trot and he slowed me down immediately thinking, “your natural cadence is your soundness. Trotting faster that your natural frequency alters all your systems.”  If you read my articles you know that the fundamental principle of mechanoregulation, which is sound functioning of our physique through response to proper stress, is about understanding that living organisms, such as equine as well as humans, are constructed from tiers of systems within a system within a system.The existence of discrete network within discrete networks in bones, cartilages, tendons and ligaments optimizes their structural efficiency as well as energy absorption. (Christopher S. Chen and Donald E. Ingber. Tensegrity and mechanoregulation: from skeleton to cytoskeleton, 1999)


For instance, inside our muscles, muscle fibers and tendinous components have to be tuned to the spring properties of the muscle tendon system to store and recover elastic strain energy. As long as they work at the proper frequency, our muscles can store and reuse elastic strain energy even in the absence of tendon. This is our fundamental principle of soWund locomotion. The concept of rushing us forward in order to create forward movement is one of the “fake clothing” that are promoted in the “look good” but feel bad form of equitation. In his mind, he added, “Also, if you trot faster than your natural cadence, you would not benefit from the stretch-shorten contraction phenomenon.”  You might not remember what is the “stretch-shorten contraction” phenomenon. Eccentric contractions are more powerful than concentric or isometric contractions. At one moment or the other of the stride our muscles work eccentrically. When we jog at our natural cadence, the energy store in our muscles and tendons through eccentric contraction is almost enough in some parts of our body such as our upper legs, to fully replace the following concentric contraction. Paul Lastyo and his team of researchers concluded, The ability of the muscle-tendon units to recover elastic strain energy is apparently energetically so advantageous that the most economical stride frequency in running may be set by this key component alone.


Traditionally, theses high-force eccentric contractions have been associated with a muscle damage response. With advanced understanding, eccentric contractions have become a major component of equine as well as human athletic training. You can imagine that the transition from daily physical activity including eccentric training to just turn out and stall, changed my bone structure. I am in turn out all night and half of the day. My stall door is open on my large field and I come and go in and out my stall as I wish. The fact is that turn out does not replace training. I eat grass, canter for fun short distances, tease Caesar who is in the next field and Charpege who is in her stall, but I do not work my body as he does when he is training me. Eccentric muscle contractions stress the related bones increasing their density. Eccentric training is used on elderly humans to reduce or more exactly slow down the problem of osteoporosis. Once again, there is a fundamental difference between the ones promoting “fake clothing” such as rushing us forward on the forehand. Increased load on our forelimbs do not allow our remodeling system to repair microcracks and even microfractures occurring in our subchondral bones during exercise. Our bones are well designed to remodel and repair damages but they cannot properly repair the damages if they are submitted to repetitive loading.


I know that I could easily develop splints or other damages if he was not aware of how my body functions and don’t let me surrender to my exuberance. I could easily create damages in my subchondral bones that I would not even feel until they aggravate and migrate in my joints developing arthritis.