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ART straightens horses and rider naturally.

Compared to 30 years ago, today’s dressage is dramatic, sensationalist and focused on flashy performances.

Dr. Heuschmann says:

"This showy, leg-throwing, toe-flicking trot has nothing to do with classical dressage, because it’s created without collection. As you can see in the picture, the hind legs are out and the croup is high."

Today,the emphasis is on pushing physical and mental boundaries, answering a perverse need for more and more spectacular, flashy showmanship. Unfortunately, these changes aren’t all good. There are many opinions about how dressage should be, and this causes endless heated discussions and negativity. One persons opinion that I do trust is Dr. Gerd Heuschmann's. As a vet who operates on these horses he clearly sees how incorrect training damages the horse's body from the inside out. Dr. Heuschmann adds: “Today’s riding icons don’t say I’m wrong when I talk about biomechanics and adhering to the classical principles; they just think I’m old fashioned. They say training has developed and changed and the training of the rider has changed. Is that sweeping statement true? The FEI rules haven’t changed, and this new style doesn’t relate to the FEI rules at all! It is spectacular to watch, but problems arise when we try to impose these sensational styles on our own and our horse’s natural physical design."

ART straightens horse and rider naturally, unlike most sports it actually deals with three different entities.

First there's the rider. ART is a simple, effective way to dissolve your habitual patterns and behaviour until you stop doing the wrong thing, and the right thing does itself, more here

Then there’s your horse. Just as every human body is unique and has its asymmetries and quirks, so too does every horse’s body photo right, more here.

Then the third entity: the horse and rider together.Twenty years ago, following on my studies of equine biomechanics and human anatomical structure (specifically F.M. Alexander, the creator of the Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais), I realised that when a rider mounts a horse, a whole new physical entity is created. When we look at this entity as a unit, instead of as two separate parts, many things about soundness and apparent schooling issues become obvious. Horse and rider together, with their physical quirks, asymmetries, and faulty sensory perceptions, inflict even more layers of crookedness upon each other.

ART straightens horse and rider instantaneously.

F. M. Alexander, Feldenkrais, internationally-respected veterinarian Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, and the great classical masters all agree: the basis of good posture and soundness happens when the neck is free and allowed to lengthen up out of the shoulders. Then the head moves forwards and up out of the shoulders, while the back lengthens and widens in an opposing stretch down to the ground.

Note how in both humans and horses, good posture arises from the center of the body and stretches upwards through shoulders, neck, and head, and downwards into the ground through hips and legs.

(Illustrations by Julie Edwards.)

What does this mean for us as trainers and riders – and what does it mean for our horses?

When you understand how your individual horse moves, you begin to understand the effect of your crookedness on each other – and on this third entity that’s created from the two of you together. This is why the common practise of treating your horse in isolation from you is rarely successful. As Dr. Heuschmann discovered in his exploration of bridle lameness, the horse’s unsoundness is affected by your unsoundness, and vice versa. ART allows you to experience the almost-magical changes that happen in your horse and in your relationship with your horse.

I invite you to join me there. You can find more articles here and videos here – and see where the workshops are here.