Horse's Back Up-Down
Lifting The Horse's Back
These two pictures that we loop for better visual impression are showing first where the horse does lift the back. It is not in the lumbar area as it was pretended in a recent video, but instead under the rider in the thoracic area. The horse does intermittently flex the lumbar vertebrae during specific sequences of different gaits such as during the flight period of the canter or during high collection of the piaff. However if the lumbar flexion occurs without first thoracic flexion and strong work of the extrinsic muscles of the forelegs which are supporting the trunk between the forelegs, lumbar flexion would shift the weight on the forelegs.
The second point is that thoracolumbar flexion is a horse’s response to the rider’s back. There is no need of lowering of the neck. Back flexion is created by the coordination of back muscles situated above the vertebrae and therefore directly influenced by the rider’s back muscles. Here is how it is done. On the first frame, I adjust the reins and straighten my vertebral column. The response comes immediately as demonstrated by the second picture which is a fraction of a second after the first one.
In the study, Hind Legs Engagement, Stifle Problems, we explain that if the rider does not ask first for a lift of the thoracic vertebrae allowing the horse to work properly with the dorso-ventral rotation of the pelvis, the hind legs might engage at the cost of kinematics abnormalities that could engender over a period of time, stifle problems. These two pictures are the two first stride of a working session. Before asking any engagement of the hind legs I ask first to Chazot to lift his back. The neck is long but not low. In fact, if the neck was low, Chazot, as well as any horse, would not be physically capable to lift his back. Jean Luc Cornille