Howdy Friends! Miss Rosie has that kind of body, that falls into poor posture and body carriage quickly when idle. Even though her habitat is one of free roaming, in and out as she pleases, room to wander. Like most horses, and people, mostly she will do not much. Just stand around.
I noticed in the cold weather with me doing my “nothings” inside the house, her posture slipped. For her, that is damaging.
What happens in her case is, her abdomen not being engaged drops, dragging down with it, her top line. Which pushes her hind end out behind her – Which drops the topline even more. (And folks often don’t consider the issues that presents for organs, not just what we see, but what we don’t see. The lack of poor posture is the root of most evil in a horse’s health.)
Now this is not uncommon in horses. Idle horses lose their condition, and posture quickly. The remedy is easy, riding of course. But if you aren’t riding a little work in a ring, at a walk, at liberty, is all it takes.
My ring is at the far end of our property, and I simply don’t always feel like the long walk out and back. So I became negligent. Besides it had been really cold!
So, I took some yellow rope (so Rosie could easily see it) and made a ring of sorts right here at the house and barn. Now going from point to point to make the ring, it is not round. And it took Rosie a few laps to not get stuck in the corners. After a little figuring it out, it worked out splendidly.
We do ten minutes each way, at liberty, a session. A total of about twenty minutes. Some days we bump it up to thirty minutes. At a comfortable walk. No trotting or gaiting. Just a nice steady walk. Speed during this type of session does NOTHING for posture engagement. A nice steady walk is the therapy.
Important to note: Within the first few moments the first day, I could see her begin to engage her abdomen and bring her hind legs under where they belong to engage. Which of course lifted the top line. Just this little bit of exercise/husbandry is all it takes to help your horse maintain correct posture engagement during idle times. So important to many aspects of their over all health.
And it can be set up wherever there is a little room. Does not need to be a perfect circle. Does not need to be level. It can be among obstacles. The important thing, is to do it. And do it off line – At liberty. At a comfortable walk. Every other day or so.
Why not on the lunge line? I’m so glad you asked. When on the lunge line, no matter how well done (and Miss Rosie will always go nicely on a lose, and sagging line) the horse’s head, neck, and inside shoulder will always turn in. Whether we notice or not – It Will. And that puts pressure on joints and muscles as they walk and turn. It is not needed, or beneficial. So teach the horse to work at liberty.
There ya have it. Easy, fun, not very time consuming help for your horse, and you too because you’re moving as well. It took only three days to lift Rosie back up again into pretty, correct, and healthy body carriage and posture. So important.
Hope this helps! ~ Gitty Up, Dutch.