Human and Equine Anatomy and Biomechanics

Anatomy =
the study of the structure of living things

Biomechanics =
the study of the structure and function of biological systems (in this case human and horse)

Why should this be important to us as riders and horse owners?

Riding our horses means we are in extremely close contact with another being, one that is not our species. Eckhart Meyners (Professor of Sports Physiology and Body Movement, recently retired from the University of Lüneburg in Germany. He spent years researching movement and ways to improve athletic performance and support a healthier body) stated “riding requires the highest cross-coordination of any sport humans do and is the hardest to master. Riding is logical but counter-intuitive.”

Apart from understanding our horse’s psychology, it is important to understand how we as humans and as individuals move in comparison to horses in general and our own horse in specific, as we have a profound impact on each other.

It is well established that horse and rider mirror each other – for example, if we are tight in our thighs and/or lower back, we inadvertently block our horse and he won’t be able to go forward bringing his hindlegs under him correctly and lifting his back up.

By understanding how our and our horse’s bodies are structured and move, we understand what is required in training to promote balance, suppleness and straightness. In practical terms, it means that both us and our horses will be able to use our bodies with minimal friction – correct posture and muscle tone instead of muscle tension – which minimises wear and tear and promotes soundness and longevity.

“I don’t want riders who work physically hard. Work by thinking!” ~ Nuno Oliviera