'Painted Horse Demo' by HAC Therapies
On Monday 28th May 2018, a glorious Bank Holiday Monday, I was invited by Lee Valley Riding Club to host a painted horse demo at Lee Valley Riding School. My model was Diamante, owned by Virginia Draper, and he excelled being his diva-self as a stunning superstar! I met Virginia earlier that morning to prep, pamper and paint Diamante, getting him ready for the big event. Being an Andalusian, his free-flowing mane had to be plaited up and thanks to Ruth Chapple's 'top secret' product, it stayed in for the 90 minute demonstration (phew)!
After welcoming the group I asked that everyone introduce themselves and give a brief account of their knowledge and experience with horses. It appeared to be a very diverse group; from the beginner rider with little or no knowledge to those who had completed BHS exams Stage 1 - 4.
The session started with an overview of the spine and skeletal system. Diamante had a selection of anatomical landmarks painted on his off-side to provide visual cues for palpation. Comparative human and horse anatomy was also discussed.
The session then moved onto muscles and movement. Major muscle groups were discussed and using Diamante as a live model, we were able to visually see which muscles were working in various actions. Focus was given to movement of the hindlimb, forelimb and head and neck and tips were given on conditioning exercises. We also looked at spinal posture and how this affects the position of the head, neck and pelvis.
Throughout the demo common muscular problems were addressed in horses that work in different disciplines e.g. dressage, jumping, riding school. We talked about the signs and causes of muscular stress and how to protect our horses. A number of stretches and reflex exercises were then demonstrated to the group, working from head to tail and including the limbs.
To close the demo, the group were invited to paint their own horse to put into practice what had been learnt from the session...cue Fred! Thanks to Martha Jo Lambert for lending him as another canvas, he seemed to enjoy all the attention :)
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable day and a great success! Thanks again to Virginia Draper and Diamante, Martha Jo Lambert and Fred, Ruth Chapple (for taking photos), Lee Valley Riding Club and Lee Valley Riding School.
If you are interested in hosting a demo at your riding school, club or livery yard, do get in touch to find out more. Perfect for anyone interested in learning more about the anatomy, muscles and movement of the horse and for those taking BHS exams.
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