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Re: RC: RC: Hollowing Question

In a message dated 4/6/99 8:34:32 AM Mountain Daylight Time, 

> Deb Bennett points out that the essential first gesture involved in
>  rounding is that the horse contracts its abdominal muscles; there
>  is no musculature in the back itself to make it hump up.  (If the
>  withers feel as though they are coming up, it is really because
>  the rump has dropped, which really means the horse has bent at
>  the lumbosacral joint.)

Deb describes a "ring" of muscles that contribute to rounding. A horse that 
is only using it's adominals is not going to be truly collected. Collection 
is dependent on a shift in the center of gravity towards the rear, with the 
requirement that all four feet stay equally grounded. In order for this to 
happen the thorax has to rise within the "posts and sling" of the front 
appendicular skeleton.

What you describe is not collection, it is a valuable movement in the horse's 
repetoir but is not supportive weight transfer. The horse that goes like this 
will show some very predictable soft tissue patterns ie. hamstrings are 
overdevelopped ( if the overdevelopped hamstrings are out of balance you may 
notice that the diagonal fore breaks medially at the fetlock), neck is bound, 
there is a holding in the myofascia of the cutaneous colli (it falsely acts 
like a retinaculum), there is a banding of fascia in front of the point of 
hip (again a false retinaculum to compensate for the lumbar flexion) ...
Try the exercise that Wendy discribed. Bring your back up between your 
shoulder blades while down on all fours, monitor your Rectus Adominus ( the 
obliques and transferse adominus as well if you like) and your pectorals, 
rhomboid and serratus anterior. The "sling" will push your anterior thorax 
posteriorly with a coincident spreading of the scapula. If your structure is 
free. If it isn't I suggest some stretching. 

The same muscles are at work in the horse, serratuc ventralis (thoracic 
portion), ascending, descending and transferse pectorals and the rhomboids to 
stabilize the scapula. 

Freeing the scapula is one of the main reasons to do lateral work, shoulder 

Try this exercise with your horse. Standing at the point of butt put a slight 
jostling movement into the body at the ischial tuberosity. As you move the 
axial skeleton, spine, forward the shoulders should go out and back. Since 
this is a passive exercise, the client/horse is not taking part, the withers 
will not rise. This is a good means for determining shoulder freedom. 

About 4 years ago Dr. Bennet stayed with my family for a few days. We 
discussed these things, as I recall she agreed with me. But we all know Deb 
and I'm worse than she is when it comes to arguing (according to my wife). 

Can't find my copies of her books. But, if my memory is correct, which is 
doubtful at my age, I think there is a discussion of this in the area that 
uses a wooden rocking horse as the illustration. 


jim pascucci
Advanced Certified Rolfer

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