Ever since I attended the Horses Inside Out Anatomy In Action Conference in January 2020 I have been eagerly awaiting Gillian Higgins’ release of the Anatomy In Action book and online course.
So when the book actually arrived on my doorstep and the email in my inbox to say the online course was ready to access, I could barely contain my excitement!
The book arrived in sturdy packaging, meaning it was in pristine condition, and I was blown away by the size and weight of the book with it’s extra large landscape layout and also the quality of the hardback and the glossy pages inside.
Like a high end coffee table book, if could be admired by the non-equestrian just for the stunning images of painted horses in action. Several 2 and 4 page fold outs throughout the book uncover fabulous images in sequence demonstrating various moments within the horse’s gait or action.
But this is not just a coffee table book for admiring, this is a powerful learning tool and filled with well written descriptions of the action being demonstrated as well as a QR code along with each action that takes you to the accompanying video from the online course on the Horses Inside Out Academy webpage.
Gillian describes the purpose of this book:
‘To record and illustrate the movements of the horse. To Inspire and Enlighten’
Which I think is just perfect.
Whether you are a horse lover, owner, rider, trainer, therapist, or other professional, having these wonderful images and videos at your disposal to view in your own time as many times as you need is such an amazing opportunity to take from it as much as you like.
From just admiring the beauty and elegance of the horse to studying and dissecting the biomechanics. This book and course is suitable for everyone.
I do believe as a rider, understanding the way the horse moves during each action is key in order for us to figure out what we need to do with our bodies to either ‘stay out of the horse’s way’ so they can perform the movement or influence them in order to help them achieve the movement.
The movements covered in the book and videos include everything from the walk, trot, canter and gallop, to Spanish walk, Piaffe, Flying changes, lateral movements and jumping.
Some of these movements are then broken down into further components, for example the walk is demonstrated as:
· Walking Loose
· Walking on a Treadmill
· Walk from Above
· Medium Walk
· Extended Walk
· Collected Walk
· Free Walk on a Long Rein
So much detail has been considered in order to cover everything the horse can do within a movement.
There are 29 videos in total, including an introduction video. Each are of varying lengths, totalling well over 4.5 hours of learning in the videos alone.
The videos are accompanied by Gillian narrating, describing each of the movements being demonstrated by the painted horse and also including key information about how and why the body is moving how it is and also the effects of the movement on the horse’s body.
They are wonderfully filmed and also often annotated with arrows and text, pointing out joints or body parts of the horse that are relevant to the specific movement.
In some of the images and videos the horse is seen without a rider, but in those with a rider onboard the rider is also painted/wearing a ‘skeleton’ suit. Which adds another element to the learning, as we can see how the rider’s body is positioned or moving in order to be with the horse during the gait or movement that is being demonstrated.
I like the way the QR codes are included in the book on the relevant pages to take you directly to the accompanying video, but also, once you are signed into your account on the Horses Inside Out website it is so easy to navigate the pages to find the video you are looking for.
There is also some bonus footage available as part of the online course.
12 bonus videos about some of the contributors to Anatomy In Action, human and equine and a complete section in the book dedicated to a short bio on each of the horse’s and riders that took part in this exciting venture, helping to demonstrate and illustrate just what amazing creatures horses really are.
Gillian enlisted the help of some well known faces in this project such as international dressage rider Laura Tomlinson, 4* event rider Fiona Davidson and liberty trainer and stunt rider Ben Atkinson as well as others.
Along with their stunning horses, ranging from Irish sport horses, Icelandic ponies, Warmbloods, Quarter Horses and cobs, they each move with such elegance and grace.
There is also bonus footage about photographer and videographer Matthew Roberts, who’s amazing skills have helped Gillian bring this project to life and a gallery of ‘behind the scenes’ images, giving an insight into what it takes in order to be able to produce something as amazing as this book and online course.
Thank you Gillian for bringing this to us all to be able to enjoy.
I think I will be spending many hours over the coming months visiting and revisiting both the book and video course as I continue in my mission to learn as much as I can about the horse.
If you were thinking about whether Anatomy In Action might be for you, I hope this blog has helped you to make up your mind……………..it is!!
You can purchase the Anatomy in Action book and the online course as stand alone items or as a package by clicking HERE
Please note all images are copy wright of Gillian Higgins, Horses Inside Out.