Bend in a horse, is it a real thing? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 10-29-2010, 01:49 AM Thread Starter
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Bend in a horse, is it a real thing?

Ok, so I don't think I have started a thread yet, so here's my first attempt.
People talk a lot about getting a "bend" in their horse, and especially in the rib cage or back. But from what I have studied of horse anatomy, it is physically nearly impossible for a horse to actually BEND in its shoulder, thorax or pelvic area, at least lateral bend. There have been studies with photos taken from above of riders "bending" there horse, and just riding straight and the horse's body doesn not percievably change. What does BEND, is the neck, all the way from the poll to the front of the whithers.

So, Why do we keep perpetuating the belief that we can bend an animal that CANNOT bend in his body this way, physically cannot bend due to the rigidity of its spinal column. It can, however, bend longitudinally (i.e. it can tuck it's pelvis under, a very small amount . Once can easily see this when the horse manures. It can rotate the pelvis and somewhat the spine, but not a whole lot.

I wonder if some people are fruitlessly trying to bend a part of the horse that cannot bend.

What does happen, and it feels like bend to the rider, is that the barrel of the horse "rolls" right to left with each step under, and if a horse is asked to engage his hind leg further under the body this will cause a more distinct barrel roll of the large abdomin.

So, I would love to hear what others think of this. Kind of a vague thread starter, I guess. I am no pro at this.
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post #2 of 3 Old 10-29-2010, 03:27 AM
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Maybe this article by Jane Savoie will clarify?

Get Your Horse to Bend

It even has anatomy diagrams for you

Edit: Here is another site with explanations of bending and pictures and diagrams if you don't believe it's possible :)

Last edited by Deerly; 10-29-2010 at 03:30 AM.
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post #3 of 3 Old 10-29-2010, 09:49 AM
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Bend in the body not in the spine. We're all well aware the spine, pelvis, etc.. are firmly affixed (this is why equine chiropracty baffles me). The neck should also be straight from shoulder to poll in a bent horse.

All "bend" refers to is moving the ribcage. All "flexion" refers to is a straight neck and a flexion in the jowel so the rider can see the inside eye.
Where bend becomes more apparent is in the lateral work, where the horse is on 3 to 4 tracks instead of two.
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