Manolo Mendez Dressage

What the Topline says about Horse and Rider

by Manolo Mendez Specialist of in-hand and Classical Equitation with writer Caroline Larrouilh

This article originally appeared in Issue 11 of Baroque Magazine (July 2013, pg. 90)

Article Excerpt: What the Topline says about Horse and Rider

As I have discussed at length in previous articles, a horse should not be trained as though its body is divided into three different and unrelated segments. Unfortunately for the horses, I see too many riders who focus on riding either the neck, back or the hind leg instead of riding the whole horse. This results in stiff and blocked horses who are leg movers instead of back movers and in time may develop mild to career ending soft tissue or skeleton problems such as early arthritic changes in major joints including the TMJ, poll, withers, neck, sacrum, stifles, and hocks, restrictions and muscles tears in the biceps, pectorals, ribcage, long back muscles, loin, croup, and hamstrings along with suspensory and tendon problems. These are often accompanied by behavioral problems such as refusing to go foreward and bucking or bolting and rearing as nell as shutting down or being aggressive and/or developing stable vices.

While I do not believe in training with a focus on developing any one part of the horse’s body, the body does have a lot to say about how it is ridden and treated if we take the time to look at it, touch it, and feel it.

With every new horse I meet, I spend the time to observe its body while he is standing and while he is moving. Just by looking at it, I can already learn a lot about how it feels inside as an individual, how it will move, and the reasons why it will not be able to bend well or extend or collect. His muscles patterns, how he stands, and how he organizes his posture and balance will give me the keys to how I must work with him...Read More on

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