Horse Straightness Training Changing Your horse

2014 was the year life changed for both me and my beautiful chestnut Arab CSA Mahrice (Moo) because we discovered the power of horse straightness training.

Through a great friend I was introduced to the horse straightness training work at Carreg Dressage and managed to get a lesson with the wonderful Georges Dewez, who has dedicated over 40 years of his life to training horses for bio-mechanical correct movement.

This lesson was the start of a journey which for both of us has been transformative and inspirational.

Learn to work your horse correctly on the ground. Georges teaches you to observe movement and recognise when horses are kicking equally from behind, lifting the back correctly so the abdominal muscles are worked and strengthen. This is crucial if a rider is to sit on any horse.Click To Tweet

To start I just want to share a picture which makes me wince now.  A picture of my very fit and talented endurance horse at Cirencester a couple of years ago.

Back then I looked at his sleek body and thought it represented an equine athlete ready to go right to the top.  Now I see poor top line and the wrong muscular development of a crooked horse where his natural way of going and my ignorant training would eventually consign him to the endurance rubbish bin, probably through tendon and ligament injury.

CSA Mahrice poor top line through incorrect horse training

Now compare the following picture. Study it well because this is the same horse in 2015, as fit as he was in the picture above, but the musculature of his body is completely changed. He is still croup high, but notice how the top line has changed and how the musculature of the rump and hind end have developed.

CSA Mahrice Horse Straightness Training Muscular Developement

I look at my horse now and wonder how I could have missed the obvious! I am so lucky to have had Georges take me and Moo under his wing and I am working hard to change the way I ride, change the way I think and change my wonderful horse to give him a body strong enough for me to sit on for many years to come.

I have had to learn to work my horse correctly on the ground. Georges has taught me to observe his movement and recognise when he is kicking equally from behind and lifting his back correctly so the abdominal muscles are worked and strengthen.  This is crucial if a rider is to sit on any horse.

I have watched Georges ride Moo and on occasions felt demoralised because this horse has had such a remedial body that riding him to help him learn to move in a bio-mechanically helpful way demands great balance, enormous core strength, great skill and great patience.  I am learning all that too and I am committed to the importance of changing myself as a rider to influence my horse.

My understanding of the crucial role of horse straightness, my obligation to learn to ride better to help my horse find his potential and avoid injury is now my resolve. The changes in my horse have not been limited to his body, his mind and his mouth is also changed.

The further his correct training proceeds the calmer he is becoming. In the past he was impulsive, rushed, was definitely very hot and inclined to spook and panic. Riding in open spaces was quite a challenge as he tended to take control, I had gone through a number of bitting options!  Taking a contact was difficult as he was very mouthy and unsettled.

Now I ride him and feel a calmness, a raised back with immense power which comes from an athlete with a healthy body, working in a way which is now biomechnically helpful and comfortable.  The panic has gone, the hotness is turning to engagement, Georges calls him Turbo Mouse!

I understand now that the impulsiveness and the unsettled mouth came from the weakness in his back and the natural crookedness which prevented him from being straight and propelling himself equally from behind. I am excited for our future together, he is only 13 and I feel certain that he will be stronger not weaker by 15, which is my chant.

Thank you Georges for your incredible knowledge which has rescued both me and my horse from a struggle.

Horse straightness training