Sunday, 28 July 2013

Sunday Afternoon Q & A At Dovecot Stables Charles De Kunffy And Gerd Heuschmann

GH Bitless bridle does not communicate with TMJ and jaw, contact in bitless is to nose and poll, so riding in a bitless is different contact to bitted.

GH Lunging for young horse is about head control and getting used to handler; otherwise GH goes to ridden work asap.

GH Would ride 3 yo three times a week, 4 yo four.

GH 99.9% of time now lunges without side reins, strident dislike of Pessoa

GH does NOT like treeless saddle.

GH most horses shoulders are not when viewed from top symmetrical, right shoulder usually 2" - 3" further forward.

CdeK  always yield inside rein in shoulder in

CdeK How to correct BTV in medium trot?

Overflexion (BTV) needs to be resolved before  the nedium trot, start at the beginning every day every ride.

Overflexion  is a symptom the solution is behind

  1. Slow
  2. Abruptly give rein
  3. Drive

Saturday And Sunday Afternoon Lessons At Dovecot Stables Charles De Kunffy And Gerd Heuschmann


 13:00 lesson

 To correct btv

1. Slow down
2. Abruptly yield reins
3. Drive

 C de K uses both legs to aid for canter.

 13:30 lesson

 Had both riders leaning back to improve their seats and that was pretty much their lesson.

 14:00 lesson Had both riders leaning back to improve their seats and that was pretty much the lesson for one rider, the other he had doing SI

 14:30 lesson

 Had one rider lean back

 15:00 lesson

 Had one rider lean back and that was their lesson, other horse was more advanced and very nicely trained / ridden but he had both doing same exercises with other rider struggling.


 13:30 lesson

 Stopped rider following nod of head in walk with her lower arm and had her move her torso to follow.
14:00 lesson 

Lovely PRE had her doing various exercises very insistent she only yield for four steps


lesson with GH Stretch every 15 minutes

 15:00 lesson

 The advanced rider from 15:00 yesterday had her doing school canter on her seat

 From what I saw over the two days CdeK is much better with the trained rider who needs refinement he is to my mind unpleasantly sarcastic to those he has to say "close fingers" to more than once or twice from his talk he thinks it is lack of rider discipline or can't be assed.

 He seems to have one correction for the seat and that is lean back, he is insistent on vertical upper arm by sides at all times and use the torso to yield left or right and to follow the movement in walk.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Charles de Kunffy and Gerd Heuschmann Sunday morning

Charles de Kunffy - training as therapy for horses

Always alternate

1/ Long <-------> short frame
2/ Long <-------> short strides
3/ Bending / straightness

You can always do four changes of something on a 20m circle

Hegel Dialectic

Wiki link here

C de K described it as

OBSERVE ============================= ANTHESIS                    

Observe is the existing reality
Synthesis the reality we wish to achieve
Anthesis the flip (bad) side

Riding is surfing with your pelvis

  1. Leg energises
  2. Seat modifies
  3. Rein verifies

Focus on task in hand but do not compromise future

Make an ally of your horse

Duty ahead of mood

Duty versus inclination

Do not punish for perceived wrongdoing

Gerd Heuschmann - True lameness or bridle lameness?

We as riders create a problem but then 'fight' the symptoms rather than addressing the problem

Preserve the natural gaits

A young horse should have a long neck and hanging nose

Stiffen the back and you stiffen the hindquarters then the only joint free to flex is the pastern and fetlock joints so the suspensory end up taking too much load and you then get suspensory issues.

The swinging back is where riding starts

Kissing spines GH has seen > 1 unbacked horse with impinging dorsal processes so not solely caused by riding. Possibly we are breeding horses with narrower spaces, however impinging dorsal processes rarely the primary cause of lameness.

95% of 'back problems' are rider related, how can we as vets ignore the influence of 80 kg of rider on the horse's back?

Natural crookedness is intercostals and deep abdominals less inclined to stretch on one side, 2007 gene discovered in humans for handedness, similar in horses? Thus a horse is unwilling to stretch his stiff side

Charles de Kunffy and Gerd Heuschmann Saturday morning

So this weekend I went to Dovecot Stables to see Gerd H and C de K together.

Started off with Charles talking and then Gerd talking, have to admit to not warming to Charles got somewhat bored of his constant refrain regarding the lack of microphone, yes I know his voice is weak but the mike got fried and best efforts to sort it had come to naught. Really didn't like his referring to leg movers as 'cockroaches' simply not necessary in my opinion.

Charles de Kunffy - The rider forms the horse

Not entirely sure Charles did the advertised topic well it wasn't what I was expecting.

We ride for the well being of the horse

Do not mix emotions with your actions

The more physical skill you have as a rider the more harm you can do if your attitude is wrong

The seat is to sit integrated in the horse's movement

Gerd Heuschmann - The basics of biomechanics

The soft / hollow side is the most difficult side for training

Swing the horse forward

Longissimus dorsi is strongest at loins ( c/f Crisp)

Forward canter can help to release a blocked horse due to the action of longissimus dorsi

Swing THROUGH the back

The back should swing in a wave not just alternate up/down

Think of hindquarters as a water pump and the back as the connected water hose going to the bit. If you as a rider block the back (the hose) the water will back up and over time will shut down the water pump.

Think of the hindquarters as a vertical spring and the back as a horizontal one, to compress the 'spring' of the haunches the 'spring' of the back must lengthen.

The rider's spine should have a soft swing (will not be visible) that should harmonise with the swing of the horse's back.

Form follows function for both horse and rider.

Because the longissimus dorsi is connected to the cervical vertebrae as the croup (pelvis) lowers the neck will raise (relative rising of the forehand)


9th -> 18th thoracic vertebrae have the maximum ability to bend BUT still not by much

The truck (ribs) of the horse can also rotate down SLIGHTLY

So (my words) bend is an illusion.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

The effect of trotting speed on the evaluation of subtle lameness in horses.

1. Vet J. 2013 Apr 20. pii: S1090-0233(13)00108-1. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2013.03.006. 
[Epub ahead of print]

The effect of trotting speed on the evaluation of subtle lameness in horses.

Starke SD, Raistrick KJ, May SA, Pfau T.

Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, The Royal Veterinary College, North
Mymms, Hatfield AL9 7TA, UK; Structure and Motion Laboratory, The Royal
Veterinary College, North Mymms, Hatfield AL9 7TA, UK. Electronic address:

Equine lameness is a significant and challenging part of a veterinarian's
workload, with subtle lameness inherently difficult to assess. This study
investigated the influence of trotting speed on perceived and measured changes in
movement asymmetry. Ten sound to mildly lame horses were trotted at a 'slow',
'preferred' and 'fast' speed on a hard surface, both on a straight line and in a 
circle on left and right reins. Video recordings of the horses were visually
assessed by six experienced equine clinicians. Vertical movement of head, withers
and pelvis was derived from inertial sensor data and several features calculated.
On the straight line, more horses were subjectively declared sound at higher
speeds, whilst different objective asymmetry measures showed only slight and
inconsistent changes. On the circle, speed had no significant effect on the
subjective assessment, with an increase in objectively measured asymmetry at
higher speeds possibly balanced by a decrease in sensitivity of the observers for
this asymmetry. Horses visually examined for subtle lameness on the straight
should therefore be evaluated at a slow speed. Trotting speed should be
consistent on repeated occasions, especially during objective gait analysis on
the circle, to avoid the interaction of treatment effects and speed effects.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

PMID: 23611486  [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Headshaking Supplement Efficacy Tested

Interesting re the significant placebo effect for the owners