Creating a functional horse
Creating a functional horse
Dressage and In hand horse trainer
Jean Luc Cornille
The work of the horse’s back muscles is very complex further exposing the naivety and inaccuracy of stretching theories. The complexity also underline the importance of the horse’s mental processing. The subtle orchestration of the back muscles is created in the horse’s brain and the first aim of academic equitation is training the horse brain to think in terms of body coordination instead of gesture.
Albert Einstein wrote, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” The thought applies to both, the horse and the rider. Instead of supporting the horse’s gift with advanced knowledge and innovative techniques, we submit the horse’s talent to a system. Instead of supporting the rider’s skill, equestrian education downgrade the rider’s intuition to the studious application of “correct aids”. Einstein also wrote, “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think”. When the purpose of the riding technique became the application of correct aids, the education annihilates the rider’s intuition. Factual documentation allows researcher to think further. So are correct aids. They are not the finality of ridding but instead a teaching tool aiming at a subtle coordination of the riders body. When such precise coordination is achieved, the rider’s body became the language through subtle nuances in muscles tone. There is no longer “aids”. The phenomenon is not exclusive to riding. In 1992, the founder or Aikido wrote, “Ultimately, you must forget about technique. The further you progress, the fewer teaching there are. The great path is really no path.”( Morihei Ueshiba)
In a previous installment (IHTC) we were talking about “vibrating at the horse’s frequency”. The concept is in fact a key component of efficiency. Each of our movements, increase or decrease of our muscles’ tone needs to be tuned to the horse’s frequency. The three fundamental words of classical wisdom are, “Forward, Calm and Straight.” Calmness does have a rhythm, which is the horse’s natural cadence and without this rhythm, there is no calmness, no forwardness and no straightness. The difficulty of becoming a good rider, teacher and trainer is that we have to evolve form an education structuring our dialogue with the horse into formulas, aids, principles, to a more artistic approach combining intuition, emotion, sensitivity, creativity, empathy and rhythm. Empathy needs to be deep in our heart. If we think that the horse should do it because we apply the proper aids, we will not succeed. We must assume the horse errors at the deepest level of your mind and body. Not that we are necessary responsible for the horse error but because we are the only one who can analyze the error and therefore find the root cause. We kindly take the responsibility of the horse error finding the way to provide adequate insights.
Creating a functional horse and therefore an athlete performing soundly and at its utmost potential, is about orchestrating the whole physique starting with the vertebral column, which is the basis of all body movement. In 1980 Leo Jeffcott wrote, “The biomechanics of the vertebral column, although very complex are of vital importance because they form the basis of all body movements.” Nobody really understood the importance of Jeffcott’s statement; not the equestrian world and not the veterinary world. Direction, intensity and frequency of the forces acting on the hind and front limbs and therefore, proper or abnormal kinematics, originate primarily from the work of the thoracolumbar column’s muscles. The concept is a decisive step forward and away from classical inspiration which still regards the limbs action as the main source of equine athletic performances and veterinary treatment which still regard hock problems as the root cause of vertebral column dysfunction. Jean Luc Cornille