Identifying bad movement

This is the part I hate, having to show someone‘s poor horse or pony in a bad light.

The first photo is Foxy.  There’s so much wrong with this girl’s movement.  She doesn‘t look or move anything like this now, but there was a time . . .

Foxy is using her forehand for propulsion, and this shows in a number of ways. Her forehand is still stuck to the ground, when her hind end has already left the ground. Her left front foreleg is still pulling her along. There is no evidence of back muscle in use.

Start looking more closely at what the legs at the ground are doing when you look at photos of horses moving. Which end is carrying more of the load? The horse can look to be on the bit, but the fetlocks and feet tell the real story. Look at the compression of the fetlocks. The greater the compression toward the ground the more the load carrying/propulsion work is being done by that limb.

Our goal, in develop an equine athlete in dressage is to transfer the balance from the front legs to the middle of the body under or behind the rider.  If the horse is carrying its weight on the forehand, that’s where it’s balance is as well.

For more conformation cues to use on determining if a horse uses its body correctly, look at the series on improving movement.