Mar 20, 2013

Back to Bryan

As you can see in the initial photos Bryan was deeply tied in in front of the withers with a strongly developed underneck. 

 Twenty years ago I would have felt this was just a conformational defect. Now I know that it is a reflection of soundness and movement anomalies, and that with the correct approaches, can and will change. There are of course conformational defects in necks…like the ‘Nest’, wherein the neck comes so low out of the body it looks like the horse has no chest. You can’t do much about where the neck comes out of the body. But you can do remarkable things with the neck itself, and the way it ties in to the wither and the shoulder.

There are several excellent treatises in the subject so rather than go in to a lot of detail I refer you to Hillary Clayton, Jean Luc Cornille, Jean Claude Racinet, Phillippe Karl, Gerd Heuschmann, and Mary DeBono, the Feldenkrais practitioner who has applied the work to horses. All of these riders have studied the biomechanics of movement and the neck; knowing their work and their conclusions is vital to understanding how the neck functions. I don’t want to write a textbook, and lucky for me I needn’t, as these riders/writers/vets/body workers have already done so. I *would* like to show you how understanding and applying their work has changed the necks and shoulders of the horses in my care.

Mar 13, 2013

Good bye Zeus

I had to put one of the boys down in February. Today I want to write about him.

His name was Zeus. I bought him sight unseen after seeing an ad and talking on the phone with his owner. He was 15, a KWPNxRID cross. I was so interested in how he sounded that I put him on Paypal that very day and picked him up a few days later. One of my daughters went with me. He was not exactly like his pictures had portrayed him.  “Mom!" she cried.  "You bought a gigantic white donkey!"

Not that I could blame her. I couldn’t deny that he was not exactly beautiful. He had been on trial, had been on the back burner, was thinnish, dirty, scraped up, unfit and out of shape. He was sound, but had no muscle and was straight shouldered and kinda ewe necked. He had a gigantic head and gigantic feet. 'Clunky' was somewhat of an understatement.  He was grey. His dad was E’sops Fable, a beautiful KWPN stallion, and his mom was Carragawn Lady, an RID. He was his mothers son, that's for sure. He had been an eventer and was a good honest jumper.  I ignored her, we loaded him up (he was not very obedient but gave up eventually) and took him home.