Have you ever noticed that the hindquarter is wider than the front end?
That the hips are wider than the shoulders?
This is a dimension of the natural asymmetry, and it’s called the front-back ratio.
It is easy to see from above:
So a horse has a bit of a ‘torpedo’ shape.
Do you see it?
Now we observed this, it’s good to check ourselves:
Are we aware of the position of our horse’s shoulders in relation to the hips when riding?
Because the thing is, that most horses walk a little bit ‘haunches-in’ like, even when this ‘exercise’ is not asked for.
Check it out on the pictures:
Even more, when the horse is not straightened along the wall of the arena, this effect is enhanced:
- the horse steps too much to the inside with its inside hind leg;
- which makes it impossible for the inside hind leg to step under the center of mass;
- which inhibits the development of the carrying capacity of the inside hind leg.
Why is this a problem?
Well, the carrying capacity of the hind leg is what enables the horse to the carry the rider in a healthy way.
And there’s another pitfall:
The front-back ratio causes the horse to lean with the outside shoulder against the wall.
As a result, it’s sometimes impossible to get the horse away from the track and to make a turn inwards.
Now here’s the thing.
Simply riding forward hoping that the horse will straighten itself out leads to stiff, “hard” horses that lose the flexibility in their back and as a result in their mouth.
This is why it is so important to do Straightness training!
Shoulder-fore and shoulder-in are good exercises to straighten the shoulders in front of the hips.
If you need help in getting started, you’re warmly invited to: