There is no wonder that these horses more than often get problems with kissing spines and spavin (spatt på svenska). Spavin is hereditary in icelandic horses and it is teached in swedish ferrier education that the icelandic horses got this as a frequent defect when breeding for pace. I know that the pace is considered a natural gait and maybe did this happen (if it's correct) when enhancing the pace by breeding? I did not know/heard anything about this before so tell me if this is questionable!
In my opinion, riding is for the horse - not the rider. I like the idea of training my horse in a way that's good for the horses' body, musculature, tendons and ligaments - actually everything in the horse. Because I want my horse to last. I do not like how many people train their horses more for their own sake than for the horses'. They get broken down. Especially in these gaited horses' training - it is absolutely impossible for the horse to move in a good and collected state. (See also previous blogging about Tennessee Walking Horses)
In for ex. tölt, one want the horses to walk in an extravagant gait with their forelegs lifted high, this means that their heads need to be high, and this is not really a problem unless the back at the same time lowers (which is really the consequence in a non collected horse). When speed is added and the hind end only acts through pushing the horse forward - it is impossible for the horse to collect itself. The hind end is further back pushing on - rather than getting in under the body and lift the back musculature and the rider.
This is a flying pace though, a two-beat lateral gait with a moment of suspension between footfalls; each side has both feet land almost simultaneously (left hind and left front, suspension, right hind and right front)
As a consequence the horses' back is lowered. The physiology say: hind end out, back lowers, head goes even higher, more weight is transferred to the fore end leading to decreased amount of collection.
I also question the thing about adults riding icelandic horses. I just want to know WHAT, really, it is that say that these small ponies are able to carry adults. The vikings were not very tall as most of us think, but on the contrary they wore a lot of heavy clothings, gear and packing. I'm also thinking whether or not the vikings had enough horses so they could shift the tired one out for another fresh one.
A swedish veterinarian who is a specialist in icelandic horses, said in an article that the discovery of a horse having spavin, is most often discovered AFTER the spavin has healed! Icelandic horses does not seem to show that much pain, which furthermore has been discussed a lot in articles. The icelandic horse has no natural enemies and thereby has no need to show for ex. fear in the same way as other horses do. There are a lot of text about this and other differences in expression. They act differently than other horses.
If this is so, how about carrying a too heavy rider - would they show that pain/exhaustion? Or is this the reason why they just go on until they eventually brake down, in either kissing spines or spavin?
This is why I'm a skeptic about this way of riding. I have NOTHING against icelandic horses at all! I've seen some been riding in the academic art of riding where they do collect the horse - and I guess that will increase their ability to carry a heavy rider - but that's specualtions. Here are some pictures showing this great collected state:
Katrin Wallberg, source: http://hem.fyristorg.com/ridkonst/
Unknown, source: http://www.pixbox.se/pic_show_id12671789.html
This is all for now. I don't see any harmony in the way of riding in the video above. I like seeing harmony, but all I see is a lot of tension and force.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
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