Friday, March 4, 2011

Learning about biomechanics with Andrea Sargent

By Nicole Vaugeois

The Equine Educations series has begun! On Wednesday night at Vancouver Island University, we had the opportunity to learn about biomechanics from Dr. Andrea Sargent. Andrea is enthusiastic about what she does and shared a whirlwind of ideas with us in the 1.5 hour session. For those that couldn't attend - here are a couple of tidbits that I took away...

  • Competitive Trail is a great sport because it focuses on the fitness and conditioning of the horse. The way we judge our horses - 60% is based on biomechanics - which Andrea supported.
  • The way our horses is built can indicate a lot about their function - so structure can indicate functionality. At the same time, how our horses function over time, can also influence their structure.
  • She encourages horses to keep active - use it or lose it - as muscle maintenance is vital to support our horses movement.
  • She encouraged us to train our horses over varied terrain - this allows them to learn to use their body effectively, prior to competition.
  • She demonstrated how forward movement is a result of a bow and sling action - initiated in the hind end. The spine, if healthy, carries the movement generated in the hind end up and then out. If there are any structural issues with the spine, which can be caused by a number of things (conformation, poor saddle, poor riding...), then the energy gets blocked, diffused into the muscles and the horse will have to compensate in other ways to move forward.
  • She showed us a few images of horses conformation and indicated how the alignment of key joints in the hind and foreleg, can influence a horses movement.
  • And - the fun part, she demonstrated a few of these on our audience members!
On behalf of BCCTRA, thanks Andrea for your time and expertise. For those who missed the event, mark your calendar for March 16th when Shane Sampson will go into Hoof care with us. Same place, same time - Vancouver Island University at 7-8:30 pm in Building 250- room 215. Members are free and non members are $3 - and there are door prizes too!