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12 Days of Christmas - Day 3: Posture and Performance

Updated: Nov 30, 2022

It's day three of our Christmas countdown giving you great gift ideas for your horsey friends. Today, we take a look at one of Gillian's books - Posture and Performance.

Having a fit, happy and healthy horse is the aim for all horse owners. Posture and Performance is the perfect gift for anyone who wants to take their training to the next level and realise your goals. This beautifully illustrated book gives you all the ingredients you need to put together a safe, varied, effective and achievable training programme. It’s also a lot of fun too.

The Power of Polework

In the book there's a whole chapter dedicated to polework exercises that will give you lots of ideas of what you can do with your own horse so he can feel all the benefits polework has to offer.

The Benefits of using Polework

gillian higgins horses inside out mind map polework benefits

Polework is good for maintaining balance, developing rhythm and energy, toning muscles, encouraging symmetrical movement, stimulating the production of synovial fluid within the joints, keeping your horse flexible and improving the proprioception and hoof/brain coordination.

For your horse to feel the benefits of polework it must be practised on a regular basis. Exercises can be done ridden or in-hand - however make sure your horse is given a long rein so he has the freedom to lower his head and neck. This allows him to asses where he is putting his feet. The lowering of the head and neck also raises the back and engages the abdominal muscles to improve posture.

Posture and Performance is based on the principles of anatomy and biomechanics with the welfare of the horse in mind, topic covered include:

gillian higgins horses inside out cover photograph book posture performance
  • Skeletal maturity

  • How to achieve good back posture

  • How stresses and strains in one part of the body affects another

  • Why some muscles become long and weak and others short and tight

  • How to reduce strain on ligaments and tendons

  • Movements to strengthen and condition muscles

  • Exercises for suppleness and core stability

  • Why pole work and gymnastic jumping will benefit all horses

The book is split into two parts:-

The principles of training – This section looks at basic anatomy and what you’re trying to achieve in your training from the anatomical perspective. You’ll discover the importance of posture as well as learning about asymmetries and compensation patterns.

Exercises for performance – In this second part of the book Gillian gives you lots of tips and exercises that will help to improve your horse’s:

  • Outline

  • Gait

  • Posture

  • Flexibility

  • Core stability

  • Musculoskeletal health

The video below gives you a taste of what's inside the book.

Posture and Performance looks at training and management from a completely different perspective and is refreshingly different.

After reading this practical and comprehensive riding and training guide you will have a better understanding of how your horse functions, so you can maximise his potential, improve your skills, reach your goals and enjoy your horse to the full.

At just £19.95, this is sure to be a book that is referred to constantly for inspiration and knowledge.

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