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Straightening the Horse

Straightening the Horse

 

Inherent Crookedness

In the wild, crookedness does not pose a problem for the horse. However, when a rider’s weight is brought upon the horse’s back, his crookedness starts to seriously affect his health.


Weight Distribution and Handedness

As we said, a horse carries his main body weight (app. 60 percent) on his forelegs, because most of his vital organs sit in the front part of the body.

In addition, a horse is inherently crooked. He can only bend his spine to one side – his ‘handed’ side. The horse’s handedness is similar to that of human beings: they are either right- or left-handed. When stumbling, a man will make a step to regain his balance, and he will use his handed foot to do so, or he will use his handed hand to support himself when falling down. The same pattern can be observed in horses on a circle: the horse will try to support his balance by putting his main weight to his handed foreleg. When a rider’s weight is brought upon the horse, this unequal distribution of the horse’s body weight becomes even more pronounced, and the handed foreleg carries the main weight.

A right-handed horse bending to the left. His spine is shifted to the right. His main body weight is put to his right foreleg.

A right-handed horse bending to the left. His spine is shifted to the right. His main body weight is put to his right foreleg.


Straightness Training

Here the ARR straightening training comes into play. It is based on the theories of old scholars but has been adapted to meet the requirements and challenges of modern breeding and riding. The ARR training consists of two steps. First, the horse is straightened with a cavesson on the longe, and his trunk musculature is built to a point where he will be able to carry a rider’s weight. Second, this training is sustained under saddle. The horse, now balanced and strong, will meet this challenge calmly.

Both young horses (whose training is just beginning) and adult horses that need correction (because they have never been straightened or have relapsed into old movement patterns) are treated and trained this way.

from left to right: left-handed horse bending to the right, straightened horse, right-handed horse bending to the left.

from left to right: left-handed horse bending to the right, straightened horse, right-handed horse bending to the left.