We all think our horses deserve the best and many of us scrimp and save and put every penny into their wellbeing. We are increasingly giving them better turnout, better veterinary care and we have access to a much greater selection of professionals to turn to.
On the flip side we have a lameness crisis in our equine population. We inject joints routinely even in young horses, we “fix” tendon problems, joint problems and other apparent “injuries” with all sorts of medical approaches. And yet….the vast majority of these problems are a result of repetitive strain, of dysfunctional and compensatory movement patterns and not from a sudden catastrophic breakdown of tissues. Healthy tissues don’t “break” easily.
We get away with it because horses are prey animals – if they can’t mask their pain and discomfort then they would have been, quite literally, “lunch” in evolutionary terms. Their survival depends on looking as normal as possible, to not look weak, so it is up to us to learn to see beyond this, to see the clues and patterns that show that things might be going wrong.
It's so important that we join the dots – to understand that asymmetry and compromised movement patterns are causing massive harm to our equines. That being a “bit crooked” is not only harmful in itself but is a step on the path to lameness.
I see myself as a small part of that picture. I seek to do my bit in restoring correct movement to the horse – through a better fitting saddle, through getting the rider into the best possible position as well as in the best possible place on the horse to be carried easily.