Horse Evaluation and Analysis

Jean Luc Cornille

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Jean Luc  with your video will give analysis and evalution of a horse you are looking to buy or have if you have a horse with problems.

Fee is $250.00 Per video.

Videos must be clear, no shaking , horse in walk, trot and canter on lead and/or being ridden Complete front, side and back views.  History of the problem and eventual treatment. (If any)

We do not diagnosed, we provide analysis, working hypothosis,  reeducation program and follow up.

Below is an example of Jean Luc response to a video he viewed of a horse being considered for purchase:

Asking price of horse below $40,000.

There is a shorter kinematics with the left front leg. This is probably due to the fact that he does travel with a preferential right lateral bending and an inverted rotation. There are signs of stresses on both hocks. This is visible at the trot for the right hind leg and the left hock at the walk. He does have difficulties with the flying change. The rider does have to prepare the horse heavily for both changes. Twice at the counter canter, they cut the video. I guess, the horse did a missed flying change or cross canter. There is no advanced movement such as piaff or passage or canter pirouette. He is not at all in the balance for any advanced movement. In fact, he is quite heavy on the fore end. You would have to have a very serious vet check and you will have hard time to rebalance the horse. He is otherwise a lovely mover but not breathtaking.

Science Of Motion

Jean Luc Cornille

Another one: Beautiful mare. There are few issues that you might want to point out to the vet if you go for the vet exam. At the first trot sequence, there is some cautiousness with the push of the right hind leg. During the right lead canter, the mare shift the sternum and front legs toward the outside but keep the wither toward the inside she seems to have a preferential left rotation. Lateral bending is always associated with a movement of transversal rotation which occurs between T9 and T14. Theoretically, transversal rotations should be equal right and left. However, muscle imbalance does exist and almost every horse have a preferential rotation. When the dorsal spines are shifted to the right, the rotation is referred to as left rotation because the ventral part of the vertebral body is facing left. After the right lead canter, the right forelegs is quite short during the walk. Perhaps this is due to the rotation since shifting the dorsal spine to the right tends to increase the load on the right shoulder. However, I would ask the vet to look carefully at the right front as well as the right hind. The canter needs balance but from what you say she does not have much training.

At the landing of the free jump, she does change lead. Most of the time she lands on the left front leg but immediately change for the right lead. She does not like the landing on the right hind leg. However the flying changes are clean. Only at the beginning of the jumping course with the rider, she does cross the canter for a few strides. She does have a good technique over the jump and a good mind. In several instances she pulls herself out of a difficult approach. She does have powerful extrinsic muscles of the forelegs and a very good bascule of the croup over the jump. At the approach of the first combination, she took off on one leg but recomposed herself very well between the jumps and exit beautifully over the second jump. You can see over the jumps the same tendency to be heavy and a little on the fore hand than during the flat work. I guess, with more work on the flat and therefore a better ability to rebalance her in font of the jumps and also with bigger jumps, it would be possible to ride her with more activity and a longer neck. This should allow her to finish the elevation of the front legs and have a better style with the elevation of the knees. 

Overall nice horse. a little rigid all over her body. Flat work is necessary and addressing the transversal rotation is not very difficult. This is simply a gymnastic which need to be done. However, I would ask for serious medical exam of the right hind leg as well as right front leg. AT one moment at the trot, there is a early impact of the left hind leg but this might just be a compensation for the lack of push of the right hind. She seems to be the type of horse who will express her full potential with a very good flat work and proper athletic development.

If you decide to purchase her and feel you need help for the problem of transversal rotation. I will explain you in more details what you need to feel and how to resolve the issue.

Nice horse.

Jean Luc

Dear Jean Luc,

Thank you for taking the time to look at my video. I am a huge fan of your work and just love what you do and what you are about.

Diesel is my 7 yr old Tb gelding. Originally off the track but only raced twice. I have owned him for 1 1/2 yrs. When I purchased him he vetted out sound but was weak in his hind end. After about 8 months he became somewhat off in his hind end.  The vet said that he had an si issue. I began with a chiropractor and then added a massage therapist who also happens to be a follower of you. Anyways, that helped immensely. In the mix of that I had the vet come out again and he recommended to inject his hocks which did seem to help. He still had a mild hitch in his right hind leg most evident to the left. He kind of swings it around and out especially when hitting a circle.

Most recently I moved him to a better facility that is pictured in the video. The footing is different and he had a new farrier. He has lost a little weight since the move but I expected that. Other than that, nothing has changed including his work schedule. He came up this lame on Saturday and I shot this bideo Sunday.

My trainer recommended a Lyme test and thinks that he has a stifle problem. I am very curious as what you have to say about the video. I love this horse dearly and want it to work for him. I am a hunter rider looking to keep him as a hunter.

Please keep in mind I did not warm him up so that I was able to get a very "raw" video and he is obviously very stiff!

Warmest regards,

Rosalie Giordano Oliver                                                                                                

JLC response

There is a quite intense lameness of the right hind leg and consequently the left foreleg. As far as we can see on the video it could be the stifle  or the SIJ. There are a few tests that you can do by yourself that might give you some insight about sacroiliac strain. I joint the list of a few tests. The tuber sacral are the two protuberances on the top of the croup. If you exert a strong pressure directed toward the middle and the back (medially), you might stimulates a reaction of pain. If that s the case. following the middle of the croup, you can exert vertical pressure on the dorsal sacroiliac ligament. You might stimulate reaction as you press close from the tubers sacral. Further back at the junction of the sacrum and caudal vertebrae, which are the vertebrae of the tail, you can exert a strong pressure acting toward the middle and back. The junction between the sacrum and the caudal vertebrae is about one length of your hand up from the beginning of the tail. If you have positive reactions form these simple tests, you might have a SI problem. The other signs could also be spams on the middle gluteal muscle, which is the muscle situated above the croup. Also if you look at your horse from behind, you might see small atrophy of the Hamstring. All these test do not guaranty SIJ issue but are strong suspicion of SI problem. There are many sequences in the video which demonstrate the characteristic lameness of SID, which means sacroiliac dysfunction. For the stifle you can place two fingers on the patella with a very light pressure. With the other hand, you pull gently on the tail sideway. You need to do that several times. You will feel the stifle joint moving under your fingers. If you feel like sandpaper under the tip of your fingers, you might have a stifle issue. The fact that your horse does swing the limb toward the outside during the swig phase could be a sign of stifle pain. The hock might also be involved. However, the lameness appears to be coming from a higher joint. The fact that the horse feel better after injecting the hock might  be due to the fact that when one joint is in trouble, the kinematics of the whole limb are disturbed and other joints show signs of pain.   The therapy of SID is complicated since it involve the whole horse’s body. I am currently working on a pdf file and DVD that explain the sacroiliac problem and the possible therapies. The therapy for stifle issue is more simple. However, the problem is always how the horse’s work. STifle or SID wll demand that the horse travel in a better balance. On the video, the horse is functioning down hill. There is too much weight on the forelegs and the whither is lower than the croup. The reeducation of both stifle or SID demands a horse functioning with a thoracolumbar column in flexion. This cannot be done lowering the neck. The lowering of the neck does in fact stiffen the thoracolumbar column and aggravate the problem. The best would be to bring your horse to one of the clinics that I have in your area. I could then show you and explain you how to do it. There is a clinic scheduled in RH April 221/22 perhaps, if that is not too far, you could try to come. The contact for the clinic is in our website. Another possibility would be to bring the horse here fore one month or two in our rehabilitation program. This would be the most efficient solution. I would first resolve the horse’s problem and then teach you how to continue the rehabilitation by yourself.   

Here are the tests that I was referring to. This is part of the upcoming DVD about SID

No single manual test indicates for sure the presence of SID but numerous tests can be helpful in diagnosis. The first symptoms are usually loss of performance, reluctance to work or move forward and mild lameness. In acute cases, spasms can be seen in the middle gluteal muscle. Also a mild atrophy can be observed on the vertebral heads of semimembranous, semitendinous and biceps femoris muscles.

A battery of pain provocation tests has been proposed helping in the diagnosis of SID. These pain provocation test include, 

-Palpation over the short SIDL

-SIJ compression tests via a medially directed force on the dorsal apices of the tuber sacral.

-The same compression test can be executes exerting a caudiomedially directed force on the tuber coxae

-Another test applies a ventral force directed through the sacral spinous processes and sacro-caudal junction.

-Detection of pain on palpation of the middle gluteal muscle.

Positive response to a single test does not necessary indicates SID. For instance, positive reactions to medially directed force on the dorsal apices of the tuber sacral are quite common. The tendons of the longissimus dorsi muscles are inserted with the short SIDL extending back soreness or pain to the tuber sacral area. The horse might event experience difficulties to perform due to spine torsion without having real problem in the SIJ. Diagnosis and therapy are literally on a case by case basis. 

Hope this is helping you.

Jean Luc

Hello Helyn,

I have paid for a Evaluation via Pay Pal

This is the horse that I would like to buy for the purpose of Showjumping and Dressage .... I hope you think he is suitable .....

This is the 2nd time I have used this service and I am so happy that it is available to someone like me that is on the other side of the world (Australia) and I have to say that I have a used inhand training with a 3yr old quarter horse and the results are amazing, your method is the most efficient, ethical and humane way of training and I have people complementing me on how strong and flexable and happy/well mannered my horses are, and I explain Science of Motion and tell them that I only spend a few min 5 to 10 a day and direct them to your Website etc and they look at me with ignorance and arrogance and say No its not for me .......

I know people fear change ,,,but how can they ignore results ..... They think im foolish but my horses dont run away when they see me carrying a bridle and I dont drive them into the ground ....

I have even offered to show them ,,, and apply it to there horse for free ....... But no ....

They can see how magnificient the topline is on my horse and how flexible and straight she travels ......

Anyway I just wanted to tell you of my frustration .......:-)

Also I think it would be a good idea if you sold stickers / decals for horse trailers/ trucks with the Science of Motion website .... I would proudly display one on my horse trailer...

Kind Regards

Lucy Rayner

(We now have bumper stickers..:) Helyn

JLC Response: Dressage work

During the slow motion used to present the horse, the early impact of the right hind leg is quite apparent. The right hind leg impact earlier than the left. The horse avoids flexion of either the stifle or hock which provokes excessive lift of the left hind during the swing phase. This is a compensation of the left hind to abnormal kinematics of the right hind leg. Also restricted push of the right hind engenders early and heavier impact of the left front. Infra and supraspinatous muscles of the left front leg are more developed than to the right ones. These muscles stabilize the shoulder joint at impact. Their development on the left side might suggest heavier impact on the left front. 

When the trot became more active, the horse does not push in proportion with the right hind leg.

During the right shoulder in at the trot, there is light discomfort with the adduction of the right hind leg.

At the canter, there is a swing of the croup to the outside when turning left. This is likely due to the right hind leg’s reluctance to propel the body forward. He is also heavier on the rider’s hand going left than going right, which is probably a consequence of the right hind’ abnormality.

However, there is an explanation for theses kinematics abnormalities of the right hind leg and the compensations observed with the left hind leg and left front leg. The horse seems to travel with the thoracolumbar spine bend to the left but is shifting the rider o the right side of the saddle. This would indicate that left lateral bending is associated with inverted rotation.  Lateral bending of the thoracolumbar column is always coupled with a movement of transversal rotation. The proper combination would be left lateral bending coupled with a rotation shifting the tip of the dorsal spines toward the inside of the bend.  The situation here is left lateral bending coupled with a rotation shifting the dorsal spines to the right. This is referred to as inverted rotation. This can be resolved with proper education.  It is basically dues to back muscles imbalance. This would explain the kinematics abnormalities that can be seen on the right hind leg. Lateral bending of the thoracolumbar spine does place the pelvis to the left. Inverted rotation does induce transversal rotation of the pelvis placing the right hip joint lower. Consequently, the horse has to modify the kinematics of the right hind leg and the abnormalities that can be seen are the horse’s adaptation to the inverted rotation of the thoracolumbar spine and consequent rotation of the pelvis. If you like the horse, such muscular imbalance is not difficult to correct and once the throracolumbar spine is properly working, the kinematics abnormalities of the right hind leg should disappear. However, it is possible that moving this way, the horse has developed pathological changes in the right hock or stifle or even fetlock.  You would have to be specific with the vet and ask for Xrays of the three joints.

He seems to be a very study, kind and obedient horse. The gaits are OK. All depend on the level you expect to reach in dressage. If you aim for FEI level, the gaits are not sufficient to be a winner. If you aim for lower level, he could be a good horse.


The combination on which they present the horse does not help him. The pole on the ground between the two jumps is at the wrong distance and confuses the horse. My guess is that they try to cover the fact that the horse tends to rush on the jump and consequently does not flex too much the back over the jump. A square oxer without ground pole would probably stimulate better jumping performance.

The horse is honest and courageous. He does tend to rush on the jump. He is quite fast with the take off of the forelegs. With good training, he could be safe and efficient on medium size jumps.  It is hard to figure from this video if he would have the technique, power, and courage to fly over large jumps.

Hope this help you. Do not hesitate to ask question if the technical aspect of this explanation is creating some confusion.

Thank you for your support.

Jean Luc

Another one:Bonjour

There are several kinematics abnormalities on both the hind and front legs which are associated with a lateral bending and probable transversal rotation of the thoracolumbar spine. The most apparent is a slow swing and early impact of the right hind leg and heavy weight on the left foreleg. This must give you the feeling of lameness but is not easy to observe with a naked eye. All the kinematics abnormalities became much worse when your mare is working on side reins. My first advice would be removing immediately and forever the side reins. You need to address the problem from a different perspective.

Lets start with the kinematics abnormalities of the forelegs. At the end of the swing phase, your mare effectively dorsiflexs the carpal joint. The knee over extend going for a split second into dorsiflexion. She does correct the alignment at impact. However, this can be what you have felt in several occasions. If the front limb impact with the knee in dorsiflexion, this must be very painful and does explain the few lame steps. The shoeing long toe was making the problem worse. It seems that you have partially resolved this aspect of the problem with a better farrier. With the side reins, and a lower neck posture, the kinematics of the forelegs became shorter due to increased weight on the forelegs and the kinematics abnormality became damaging. The front limb impact more vertically aggravating the angle of the knee as the limb alights. There is several times a snapping of the knee at impact which is due to the dorsiflexion of the knee as the hoof contact the ground.  Without the side reins, the limbs impact more forward in front of the horse’s body and the kinematic abnormality of the knee is not so problematic. However, even without side reins, the kinematics of the forelegs became shorter when she lowers the neck.

The knees are turning outside during the swing phase. This is apparent on both front legs. There is not much you can do to resolve this problem but you can prevent aggravation avoiding any training technique increasing the weight on the forelegs, such as the lowering of the neck.  You need to realize that while conventional equitation thinks that the hind legs are creating the greatest amount of vertical force, measurements have demonstrated that in fact, the hind legs are producing only 43% of the vertical impulse. The forelegs are producing 57% of the vertical force,  The real mechanism is that the hind legs are producing a force in the direction of the motion, which is submitted to gravity and loads the forelegs. The forelegs are compensating the loading effect producing a greater upward propulsive activity.

Watching her walking from the front, there is a heavy load on the left front leg. This is probably due to the transversal rotation of the thoracolumbar spine. Lateral bending is always associated with a movement of transversal rotation. Such rotation should be symmetrical toward the right and the left. However, muscle imbalance does exist and quite often, a horse travels with a preferential rotation toward the right or the left. This is not so easy to identify as it can be several rotations going on through the spine. As rider you have a better feeling. You must have the feeling that she tends to seat you toward the right or toward the left. This is not the saddle. The problem is the horse’s back muscle imbalance. Identifying the direction of the transversal rotation does help in deciding appropriated training program. At the lunge it is difficult to see since they often travel bend to the outside. However, there several instances where she gives the impression to travel with the thoracolumbar spine laterally bend to the right and the dorsal spines shifted to the left. If this is the way she feels when you ride, the problem is quite simple. Normally, the dorsal spine shift toward the inside of the bend. The combination right lateral bending with the dorsal spines shifting to the left is called inverted rotation. We have published a complete study about transversal rotation. The title is precisely Transversal Rotation. There are many pictures. If you have not read it, I would advise you to read it. This will help you to understand your mare’s problem.

However, you might feel a rotation going the other way. One you feel it let me know. This will demand some nuances in the approach.

Here are two hypothesis. If her thoracolumbar spine is bend to the right combined with inverted rotation, the weight shift over the left foreleg, which is the way she looks. About the right hind leg, the pelvis is turned laterally to the right, due to the bend, but also turned transversally placing the right side and therefore the right hip higher. This would provoke earlier alighting of the right hind leg, exactly like if you walk with your right hip higher, your right leg will execute a shorter stride. This could explain the early impact of the right hind leg. The consequence is less push and this might by why she does have a slower swing phase with the right hind leg.

As I say, transversal rotation can be complex. If she feel that she is shifting you to the right the funny movement of the left foreleg might be due to the fact that she is dealing with the spine torsion keeping her left front further back. Such rotation if excessive would low the right hip and could alter the kinematics of the right hind leg the same way. In fact, in the direction of this hypothesis, there are several stides as she is on circle left where the right hind leg is turning toward the outside during the swing phase. The way horses compensate can take so many different directions that it is like an investigation. Ask yourself question and feel the horse’s response.

In both cases, the first thing to do is to create dorso-ventral flexion of the spine. This is a perquisite for any gymnastic addressing lateral bending and transversal rotation. First, longitudinal flexion prepares the thoracolumbar spine for easier lateral bending. Second, longitudinal flexion is not really a flexion but rather the work of the back muscles converting the thrust generated by the hind legs into vertical forces which are resisting gravity and therefore enhance balance control. The better the spine control translocations of gravity creating vertical forces, the less weight is loading the forelegs. This is done by the way you ride. You should read two publications which are on our websire. Half Halt 1 & 2. Part 2 explains how to use the rider’s back in order to stimulates better work of the horse’ back muscles. You need to remove yourself from the thought that lowering the neck does enhance thoracolumbar flexion. This is not true and in fact is creating exactly the opposite. There are several instances on the video where your mare is lowering the neck and became lame with both the right hind and the left front. This is due to the fact that the lowering of the neck does reduce longitudinal flexion of the lumbar vertebrae and consequently reduces the dorso-ventral rotation of the pelvis and alters the forward swing of the hind leg. In a few days, it will be a publication about this problem in our website and newsletter. The title is Motion Microscope Therapy, Hind Leg Engagement and Stifle Issue.

There is also a brief instant where she is pulling upward on the bit and side reins and yo can see how her neck work. In response to the die reins, she is flexing the upper neck but increase the concavity of the power cervical loop. As you know, the cervical vertebrae are always forming a S shape. During his brief sequence, the upper loop of the cervical vertebrae is tight and the lower loop is very deep and low.

My suggestion would be to ride her. You will have better chance to make her back functions properly than at the lunge. After reading Half Halt part 2, ask to your mare to slow down the walk following reduce motion of your vertebral column and particularly lower back. You will feel her slowing down the walk. She will do that when the range of motion of your vertebral column will match the range of motion of her vertebral column, which is very reduce. You will be amazed to realise how little your spine needs to move. This is not surprising considering that the horse's thoraclumbar column barely move during locomotion. You will do that in straight line. You will be very careful to do not accept any weight in your hands and keeping her straight. To do so, she will have to coordinate her back muscles and she will give you the feeling that she is lifting her back. Little by little, you will be able to ask for little more hind leg activity without increasing the speed and the weight on the bit. You will also keep her absolutely straight, which you will realize, is not that easy. When she will respond to your back lifting her own back, you will ask her to pick up the trot keeping her back up. You will be careful to maintain complete lightness and a slow cadence. Speed is created increasing the stiffening of the vertebral column. Therefore do not rush the horse forward, experiment at a slow speed. Simply be careful that she still maintains some activity of the hind legs.

This will create longitudinal flexion of the thoracolumbar spine and better balance control.  Meanwhile let me know which side she is shifting your seat. The shift will occur both ways but more often one way.  Once you will have clearly identify the preferential rotation, several approaches can be selected as corrective gymnastic.

Try and let me know.

Send video after payment via paypal to helyn@scienceofmotion. As well a youtube video link can be used.