Posts Tagged ‘crookedness in horses’

Did you know that every horse has to contend with centrifugal and shear forces?

Come on…admit it…these aren’t the usual terms we toss around in the riding ring or during a lesson. But the physics of the horse’s movement, in particular on the circle or curved path upon which we so commonly ride him, have an incredible impact on his ability to perform optimally and move in a way that promotes longevity and soundness.

In STRAIGHTENING THE CROOKED HORSE by Gabriele Rachen-Schoneich and Klaus Schoneich, we begin to gain a familiarity with the kinds of real and perceived forces we experience when working with horses, and how those forces impact the horse’s body and thus the way he moves.

Very simply stated, an object or being traveling on a circle behaves as if it is experiencing an outward force (what we know as centrifugal force).

When the horse moves on a curved path to the left, for example, the perceived centrifugal force is evidenced by the horse’s right outside shoulder falling out, which makes the horse concave to the left. When the outside shoulder falls out, the rest of the body must follow.


The red arrow shows the horse falling out through his outside shoulder.

The red arrow shows the horse falling out through his outside shoulder.


A speed skater has the same problem when he comes to a bend on the track. To counteract what we know as centrifugal force and avoid being pulled outward off the track, he crosses one leg in front of the other. The horse on the circle behaves in a similar way, as shown by the way he puts down his front and hind feet. Ultimately, such “crookedness” during movement causes strain on the right forefoot, as well as on the tendons, navicular bone on that side, and spine.

Shear force in the horse is similar to a pair of scissors: one of the “blades” (sides of the horse) remains fixed while the other “shears away” diagonally (see illustration below). Since the horse’s joints are designed for carrying him forward rather than making this sort of movement, shear forces place enormous strain on the contact surfaces and ligaments associated with these joints. The most commonly encountered consequences are knee and hock problems and gait irregularities. Shear forces place considerable strain on the sacroiliac joint, as well.


You can begin to understand how shear forces affect the horse when you imagine the sides of the horse as the blades of a pair of scissors.

You can begin to understand how shear forces affect the horse when you imagine the sides of the horse as the blades of a pair of scissors.


The good news is, with correct training, these forces do not have to derail your horse’s straightness and soundness. For over 30 years, Rachen-Schoneich and Schoneich have worked with, and successfully “cured” through appropriate gymnastic training, more than 4,000 horses with straightness problems related to the forces they encounter when being worked or ridden, as well as incorrect or insufficient training; bad riding; veterinary misdiagnosis; and poorly fit tack and equipment. In STRAIGHTENING THE CROOKED HORSE readers begin to see how, with sufficient attention to gymnastic training on the longe and in hand, horses can be ridden without ever sacrificing correct locomotion.


Click image to order.

STRAIGHTENING THE CROOKED HORSE has just been re-released in paperback, and is available now from the TSB online bookstore where shipping in the US is FREE.


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Well, we’ve all been waiting for Connected Riding Founder Peggy Cummings‘ new book CONNECT WITH YOUR HORSE FROM THE GROUND UP, and today the books finally arrived in our TSB warehouse.

Together with Peggy and her team, including her co-writer Bobbie Jo Lieberman, we tried to bring you the best  of Peggy’s Connected Groundwork lessons in a beautifully turned out, clearly presented, well written package.

“Tightness, bracing patterns, crookedness, and on-the forehand tendencies exist in all horses,” Peggy writes in the Introduction to her book. “Some have these patterns from birth. Others begin acquiring them as soon as a halter is put on their head, a bit goes into their mouth, and a rider gets on their back. The groundwork exercises in this book–which form the prelude and foundation to my Connected Riding method–have restored movement, function, and elasticity to hundreds of horses worldwide.”

Everyone at TSB is thrilled with this book and the way Peggy extends her techniques and theories to all of us in the hopes that a few more horses can move in comfort and perform their best, and a few more riders can communicate more clearly with their riding partner, and in a way that improves their horse’s way of going, general attitude, and longevity.

You can download a sample chapter from CONNECT WITH YOUR HORSE FROM THE GROUND UP by clicking on the SEE INSIDE CLICK HERE option on the book page of the TSB bookstore.

Get your copy now at the TSB bookstore and get 15% off Peggy’s book, DVD, or a book/DVD set, plus FREE SHIPPING! Enter coupon code PCEB31115 when checking out to receive your discount.

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