Under the microscope ...
Now, fairly settled into my new home in Wiltshire, whilst clocking up the miles between teaching and clinics I’ve had time to reflect on how the relocation has shaped my thinking on my sport and the way training and physiotherapy are so intertwined. Sitting and thinking about this topic during my motorway miles has actually been a nice change from subjecting my poor dogs to me screaming along to Adele songs. I’d say they are pretty relieved too!
As a dressage rider and trainer I’d confidently say that out of all the sports, dressage has to respect the correct mechanics of a horse. The dressage arena is like a microscope, you can’t get away with anything! This is mapped out for us with the scale of training pyramid which is my go to holy scripture to check the right education goes into the horse at the right time.
What has been so fascinating about moving to Wavering Brooke’s farm and working alongside Equiperformance, is the daily input I’m receiving pre and post exercise.
Admittedly I have limited technical understanding of the muscle groups and ways in which they work together, but where I am more at home is the mystical work in our industry, feel, gained from years of experience on many horses at varying stages in their career, differing conformations, ailments, personalities and histories.
What the move has done is make me far more aware that on a daily basis there are more tweaks and adjustments I can make to accommodate weaknesses and imbalances. Not wanting to paint a picture of me being a robotic circus master but I’ll be honest and say that I am very pragmatic and have learnt from the majority of horses that struggling to achieve a particular movement or posture, does not instantly mean you have a physical problem. Of course it can but it can also just be that that horse isn’t ready for that stage of training and you just need to back for a bit and revisit at a more appropriate time for the horse, be that roundness, stride length, bend or strength.
When my PT pushes me at the gym to be more equal in my body I understand why I am struggling with certain things, but by and large, over a period of time the struggle reduces as I train my body to be stronger and more symmetrical. Light bulb moment! Horses are no different.
Working alongside physiotherapists on a daily basis has really opened my eyes more to another way of looking at why a horse isn’t performing to its full capability. Whilst they may say ‘no’ at one stage in their life, with correct development there is no reason why, in 3, 6, 9 months time they won’t happily say yes.
Levi regularly runs clinics up and down the country. If you would like an opportunity to experience his expertise, wit and charm first hand you can contact him via his facebook page Levi Hunt Equestrian or through his long suffering PA - Nicky on 07771 610027