There is no better teacher then the horse and no better student then the rider who wishes the best for his horse and uses all his senses to understand and care for him better. Seeing, listening, touching, even smelling are gifts we can use to understand our horse’s bodies better.
Bodywork is a skill and it can be honed carefully with instruction. It starts with being aware and being willing to spend the time it takes to develop an eye for movement and a feel for textures, shapes, temperatures, heat, cold, hard, stringy, soft, elastic and more. Soon enough hands develop a knowledge all their own, eyes begin to appreciate symmetry and alert us to the lack thereof, ears pick up the rhythm in our horse’s gaits and notice the false note of a broken beat.
A horse’s body is like a treasure map, it is up to us to become good navigators. If we read the clues properly and proceed carefully, step by step, we may succeed. Ignoring the map, looking for short cuts, blaming the cartographer or wishing the road was different simply gets us lost, further from goal then when we started.
And what of our horse whose clues have been ignored? How much trust can there be when your partner turns a deaf ear to you and dismisses or simply ignores your clues, calls for help and warnings?
If you are interested in learning about anatomy, about the horse within, here are a few resources curtesy of Debranne Pattillo, founder of Equinology. ( http://www.equinology.com/) You can use these online references to prepare yourself for a particular course or simply expand your knowledge. And the good part about these is that most are free!
Kentucky Equine Research has several free information resources. Our favorite is their library which has over 30,000 articles on every subjects you can think off and a simple search function:
We also like KER’s News site:
Animal Physiology : If you have a problem with the link google “vetonline physiology”
University of Missouri Extension has a wealth of equine information on topics like foot anatomy, physiology, nutrition, weeds, breeding and saddle fit.
University of Minnesota has downloadable gross anatomy software for subjects like: Autonomic Nervous System Tutor , Canine Bones, Canine Muscle Groups, Canine Planar Anatomy Atlas, Cranial Nerve Reference, Gaits, Head Anatomy and Horse Teeth & Age. Other courseware include: Microanatomy, Developmental Anatomy, Radiographic Anatomy, and Neuroanatomy. All courseware is rated for its value.
and for people who are not squimish and are interested in anatomy of horses and other animals: