Tag Archives: trot

Analyzing Problems in the Trot

If the horses head bobs while trotting, the head will go down when the leg in pain hits the ground.

Watching from behind: the hip that looks higher is the side where the problem is, since the hip will come up to relieve pressure.

A hind leg travels inside: There could be hock pain, low back pain, or muscle spasms of the semimembranosus.

Throws hind leg outwards: There could be pain in the stifle or hip, or spasms in the tensor fascia latae.

The front leg travels inside: there could be knee pain, or tight pectoral muscles.

The front leg arcs out: there could be back or shoulder pain, or spasms in the spinatus muscles. (see first diagram)

Short stride in front: spasm in the triceps.

Short stride behind: if it is on one side, there could be a problem with that hip. If both hind legs are short and tight, there could be a problem with the sacroiliac joint, or the muscles surrounding that joint.

Many of the problems described here can be resolved through massage, cold laser, and/or chiropractic treatment.



How Can My Horse Pass the Jog?

At 3 day events, I often see people practicing the jog repeatedly. The horse gets more and more stiff, gets held, and sometimes fails to pass. For many horses, I think there is a better way to prepare, and pass the jog:

Step One would be a thorough sports massage before the jog. I often combine this with cold laser in spots that are especially tight. The cold laser also helps release calming endorphins when used on strategic points on the head and face.

Step Two would entail a long walk. The walk uses all muscles without using momentum, so it is an excellent warm up. Walking also reinforces the body balancing work that was done during the massage.

Step Three would be to skip the trot and go directly to canter. This could be done on the longe line. Just a few circles in each direction would make a huge difference, as canter is the gait that lengthens all the muscles.  (Trot is the gait that shortens the muscles, so continuing to practice the jog will make the horse appear more and more choppy.) Canter lengthens the back muscles, which is so important for every breed, but especially thoroughbreds that tend to shorten up when excited.

I hope these ideas are helpful to all of you this show season. Let me know how it goes!

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