Structural faults can be due to the horse's natural
conformation or they can be due to restriction
problems and/or compensation patterns the horse
The horse's conformation is not something that you
can change. The horse may have problems if it is
not built for the job it is being asked to do.
Choosing a horse that has the body structure for
the job you want it to do is best. But, if you have a
horse already and want it to do a job that is hard for
it, equine massage and other therapies can help to
alleviate the repetitive stress patterns that can form.
Problems that the horse has acquired because of
repetitive stress, accidents, and injuries can also be
helped. Just be sure to have the horse cleared by a
veterinarian, if needed.
How to check your horse for Structural Problems:
One way to check for structural problems and compensation patterns is by observing. Stand your horse square and
then look for:
Does one hip appear higher than the other?
Does he fidget a lot as if standing this way is difficult?
Will he keep the front feet square, or does he insist on placing
one in front of the other?
Does he lean to one side or the other?
Does he continuously try to take the weight off of a certain leg?
In this picture of my horse, Que, you will notice that his right hip is lower than the
left. This is due to the torn ligament injury that he sustained in the hind right leg
(He had an accident out in the pasture). If you look closely, you will notice that
his right fetlock is also slightly lower than the left. Unfortunately, due to the injury,
his fetlock has "fallen" and he will never be able to return to the work he used to
perform as a dressage horse. By using equine therapy, I am able to keep him as
comfortable as possible so that he is still able to be ridden lightly. I also use him
for trick training - which he loves!!!
Another way to check for structural problems and compensation patterns is to move the horse around and ask him to
stop - but let him stop how he wants to. Repeat this 5 or 6 times.
Does there seem to be a pattern that you notice about how he stops?
Does he always want the left legs to be closer together?
Maybe he is trying to protect a tight back on the left side?
Watch the pattern and see if you can figure out why he is choosing it.
Information presented is for educational purposes only and is not intended
to replace professional opinions or recommendations.
Consult your veterinarian for advice about any medical condition or
treatment needed for your horse