Very interesting video called Trot from Colleen Brady describing the problems that we have today with horses being pulled into a frame rather than letting them loosely swing through their back. We are creating more leg movers than back movers and as Gerd Heuschmann puts it:
"The show trot or tournament trot which draws so much applause can only be developed at a cost of over tention in the back." Another negative effect of the over tense back musculature is that the rider is unable to sit the horses trot."
"It is incomprehensible how these days the sort of injurious movement pattern is rewarded with the highest marks and thunderous applauds at competitions, even at our most prestigious events."
And Johann Riegler:
"Regrettably even unnaturally it is maybe used to make the horses simply wrench their legs up rather than letting them swing up with their body."
The video also reminds us of the significance of a freely swinging tail rather than having a tense tail:
"The pendulous (pendulously swinging) tail is an excellent indicator for assessing the looseness and suppleness of a horses back. The tail is a visible part of the spinal column and just like all the other parts of the backbone it is subject to the influence of the musculature which is involuntarily controlled from the spinal cord. The horse can not influence these muscles by an effort of will. So the position of the tail is a reliable gaze of the state of tension as the case may be of the negative state of the horses back.
Therefore the tail is an important signal to the rider as to wether a horse is supple or not."
And as so many times mentioned before in my blog, building the strength in a horse takes time:
"By continually strengthening the hind leg muscles in a correctly trained horse in the course of time it is possible to develop impulsion. If this increased impulsion is not available, then the flow of movement is interrupted in the back. When the flow of movement is interrupted in the back it produces a leg mover. A horse which does not have sufficient impulsion from the hind leg. This leads to less elevation in the passage and to a noticeable decrease of ground coverage in the extended trot.
The hovering step develops from an over tense centre of movement whereas impulsion comes from the hind leg and is transmitted through a supple horse body towards the front."
Gerd Heuschmann: Tug of War
The horse's back