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Celebrating the Beauty and Elegance of Horses

Updated: Jun 5

Anatomy in Action was published in 2020 and was five years in the making. Inspired by Gillian’s love of the beauty, and agility of the horse as well as anatomy and art. The aim was to create a stunning photographic record and quality educational catalogue of equine movement. In this blog, Allison Lowther reviews this multimedia book.

gillian higgins horses inside out Biomechanics of horse movement, how to assess jumping techniques, horse lose jumping, tendons and ligaments skeletal movement, biomechanical connections, myofascial

This is a must-have book for all horse lovers. It celebrates the beauty, elegance and athleticism of horses as well as being an educational tool that will help you if you’re a rider of any discipline.

A stunning coffee table book

Anatomy in Action is available as a beautiful, hardback book. This on its own is something I will refer to for many, many years. The unique fold-out pages take you on an anatomical journey through a series of images for each of the paces, movements such as leg-yield and jumping. Each one is accompanied by a short biomechanical explanation of the movement.

As you would expect from a book by Gillian Higgins, she uses painted horses to help you further understand from a visual point of view how your horse moves.

The photography is stunning and even those with a limited understanding of horses – including my parents have thoroughly enjoyed looking at this book – appreciating the images and the amazing power and elegance of horses.

Amazing learning tool

What takes this book to a whole new level is the addition of corresponding videos for each movement. This clever addition enhances your learning and brings the book to life.

gillian higgins horses inside out painted horse skeleton overhead view carrot stretch lateral flexion

The videos feature multiple horses and from various vantage points – I particularly like the ‘from above’, it adds another dimension that is rarely seen or considered. The use of slow-motion video is great and allows you to hone your observation skills.

Gillian’s commentary on each video is easy to understand – she has a great way of explaining things and I found myself getting completely immersed in each video as I watch them learning more and more about the biomechanics of the horse.

A new way of thinking and training

There are lots of hints and tips and you’ll find yourself having many ‘light bulb’ moments as you read the book and watch the videos. For example, I’ve always been told that counter canter is a great straightening exercise, but I now know why it works as I understand what’s happening to the horse biomechanically.

Armed with this new knowledge I am now riding and training my own horses from a different perspective. I understand how improving the training methods I use my horses are going to be happier, more cooperative, and less prone to injury. That’s a win-win in my eyes.

gillian higgins horses inside out biomechanics, laura tomlinson,

There is a lot to take in with the book and accompanying videos, which does take time to absorb but you have lifetime access to the videos so you can watch them time and time again - Gillian recommends that you do this, so you get the most out of this resource.

This is a book and video course that I will treasure and refer to for many, many years to come. I’d highly recommend it whether you’re a horse owner, coach, rider or student. You won’t be disappointed.

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