A yoga pose is just a pose, or framework, for an entire universe of potentiality. Some people find yoga poses dreadfully boring, some people think accomplishing the details of the pose are important, some people actually get hurt doing yoga poses while others create living art and beauty and breath and magnificence and health within that framework of a pose.
So too with dressage, so too with natural horsemanship, so too with all horsemanship, so too with hoof care, so too with life.
Since we have this current excellent photography of the wild horse in optimal habitat and what some people call "classical" dressage (versus "detail-oriented," or "modern," or "hollow," dressage), we can help our eye to see the physical intelligence and beauty of an integrated horse.
With that "eye" education, can you see what Karen Musson is attempting to build with Ari on the ground (grey horse, video inset on home page)?www.theartofriding.com. This inset video is a visual aid for those people who think that "on the ground" handling is about the details of what the horse is doing and not the details of what the human is doing that might allow another organism to respond with desire, choice, excellence and inspiration, in time and space, to the presence of you.
Is the study of biomechanics the details? Or is it supposed to be a study of physical knowledge integrated with the magnificence of all of our evolutionary and spiritual potential?
How about medicine? What should medicine be?
I had a wonderful client for years, who has a wonderful vet and they are both, you guessed it, wonderful people!
Her horse has a chronic tendon inflammation issue in his left hind leg that comes and goes (like many of us older human athletes). After many years of great effort tying to keep him comfortable, she is currently engaged in a "last ditch effort" with him following her vet's long standing advice to put metal rims at the end of her horse's hind limbs (because, hey, that makes sense right? Have you ever heard of a metal rim being applied to the end of the human limb, or any other animal's limb, in response to soft tissue inflammation? When you get tendonitis or any other itis, surely landing on the planet via a metal rim would help, right? How on earth, by what possible physical means, is the process shown on the lower right, going to help with soft tissue inflammation in the leg? Common sense, and all medical approaches with all other animals, would suggest it would hurt. Where is the evidence comparing different approaches? Why does it not exist? Can we fix this?)
Anyways, the other thought is to jack the heel to relieve tension in the afflicted tendon. So 2 dysmorphic steps are being performed: 1) metal rims at the end of the limbs and 2) the short sighted idea that all you are doing to the horse with your trimming approach is to "relieve" some tension in the afflicted tendon. So while the vet has just started this approach, guess what is happening to the horse's body?
Unfortunatley, I have very few older pictures of this horse while under my care (since my client relationship with this horse is "old as the hills," and pre-dates most of my photography) but by now (based on your exposure to my presentations and blogs) your eye should immediately recognize what is happening.
Now, as I mentioned, I like this vet. I think he is great. He is smart and caring. This is not about the vet. This is about how we go about evaluating and developing the field of equine medicine. We are so far off base with this animal, that care is anti-care.
Consider how we do things for humans. Let's bring some of that excellence to the horse. Not by random, flavor of the month, ideological approach, but by performing long term studies and analyses of merit.
Let's talk about how we would like to shape and execute the future of equine research!