Timeline PhotosConsider the entire horse as he moves. What is happening in his back and haunches as he lifts his head, withers, shoulders and front legs in preparation for a jump?
This process looks different in different horses. This is because the horse's muscular development dictates his ability to support his entire weight onto his haunches before he is able to forcefully thrust himself up into the air to clear a jump.
As he does this his spinal column and the attaching structures are working hard to support his thorax and the rider while transferring his weight to his haunches. In order to do this with minimal damage and discomfort, he must have the flexibility within the his entire top line to round his back and tuck the haunches for the push off.
Once in the air he continues to bring the hind legs closer to the body. This flexes requires an even more extreme rounding of the lumbar or loin area in order to clear the jump and prepare for a stable landing.
These are a couple of examples of how you may observe the horse's natural movement. Then pull from that observation and make important connections about how these structures support the horse and work together.
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