Performance Horse Movement – a Team Approach
A horse is built to move. In the wild a horse is a grazer and the herd moves several miles a day in search of food. We as humans use this to our advantage – in the beginning a horse was used as a mode of transportation, because how they are built to move. Today our recreational use of horses still is in transporting humans through some sort of activity be it trail riding, to endurance riding, to roping steers, to jumping fences – the amount of activities is too numerous to list here, but they all have something in common. They take advantage of how the horse is built to move.
With all the changes we have done to the horse to compete in events maintaining proper movement can be difficult and it requires a team approach. You are the crew chief, the head honcho when it comes to your horse’s care. Of course, there will be people with more knowledge than you about the specifics of your horses movement but ultimately you are the decision maker – it is your horse, you need to process the information and make the best decision you can. In order to do this might I make some recommendations on who needs to be included on your team to allow your horse to have the best opportunity to maintain proper movement.
Nutrition – You barn manager and your vet or nutritionist
Hoof – Your farrier
Teeth – Your equine dentist
Tack Fit – Your saddle fitter/maker
Body – Your chiropractor and massage therapist
Riding – Your instructor and rider
Overall Health – Your veterinarian
Did you notice that I placed Your in front of each of these people? You are in charge – these people are there to guide you and work together as a team. Will they disagree? Many times they will it is up to you as the owner to make the best decisions for your horse. Even though you may have some disagreements all of these people need to be involved in your horses care to give your horse a chance of competing at the best of it ability. Think of your horse as a race car – a high end race car does not go to a race without a race team and neither should your horse.
The reason I bring this up is that many horse owners think of these practitioners only as individuals, however they are a team and you need to treat them as such. A properly working team knows what the other team members are doing in order to get the project (in this case your horse) to the best possible conclusion (in this case the best possible movement to compete). If you think of these practitioners as team members for your horse’s care you will do well to make better decisions in your horse’s care.