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spirithorse
Dec. 13, 2010, 01:41 AM
I have noticed that this word biomechanics has become the 'new' marketing word in the equine industry, and in particular dressage.

Definition of biomechanics:
1. The study of the mechanics of a living body, especially of the forces exerted by muscles and gravity on the skeletal structure
2. Biomechanics is the science of movement of a living body, including how muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments work together to produce movement.

Physics definition of inertia: - the reluctance of all matter to change its state of uniform motion; the tendency of all objects to preserve its motion
Physics definition of pressure: - is an effect which occurs when a “force” is applied on a surface. Pressure is the amount of force acting on a unit area.
Physics definition of force: that which produces or prevents motion; that which can impose a change of velocity on a material

Newton's Three Laws of Mechanics (or Motion):
First law, the law of inertia: An object remains at rest or moves in a straight line at constant speed, unless acted upon by a net outside force.
Second law, the effect of forces: The acceleration of an object is proportional to the force acting on it and in the same direction. The acceleration is inversely proportional to the object's mass.
Third law, action-reaction pairs of forces: Whenever one object exerts a force on a second object, the second object exerts an equal and opposite force on the first object.
Biomechanics thus requires that one uses the laws of physics in the schooling and riding of the horse.

With the above perameters a question is raised: Do you believe that riders, trainers and clinicians apply the laws of physics or do they actually unknowingly interfere with these laws?

Inertia is the motion set forth by the actions of the horse, the effect of forces is the constraints applied by the rider, and the action-reaction is the resistance and constraints effected by both the rider and the horse acting in opposition to each other.

mzm farm
Dec. 13, 2010, 02:28 AM
Newton's laws of physics apply to inanimate objects - like a falling apple, an electron. I do not think you can apply it to a living "object" directly.

I mean when a baby is born, it moves in random directions without "being set into motion" by an outside "force".

Isabeau Z Solace
Dec. 13, 2010, 07:48 AM
My 'instructor' has a degree in Physics (BSc), so I am going to guess that means she understands the subject. :D

Spirithorse, what is your training/degree in Physics ?

alicen
Dec. 13, 2010, 07:59 AM
Newton's laws of physics apply to inanimate objects - like a falling apple, an electron. I do not think you can apply it to a living "object" directly.

Have you ever fallen off a horse?

netg
Dec. 13, 2010, 08:46 AM
I have yet to have a trainer who can undo gravity or walk on water. Therefore, all trainers, instructors and clinicians I have had have followed the laws of physics.


I don't think you understand the science AT ALL based upon how you worded the question.

lorilu
Dec. 13, 2010, 09:48 AM
I think we work within the constraints of the Laws, coupled with the physical ability of the horse/rider (strength, endurance, body shape, etc) to approach the effect we desire (to go forward, be in the unnatural uphill balance, be straight, etc.).

Some of us are better able to overcome/work within the Laws.... those of us who are blessed with a "rider's body" and have horses with "natural ability".

A correct seat - being biomechanically correct and in blaance - makes this correct work easier.

A good trainer USES the Laws to make the work easier for the horse. What's that saying - make the correct answer easy, and the incorrect answer difficult?

L

And please remember that we are all, always and at all times, subject to ALL the Laws of physics. Get toofar out of balance, and newton will get you every time - hence we wear helmets!

carolprudm
Dec. 13, 2010, 10:33 AM
An instructor needs to understand biomechanics but also has to be able to explain how they relate to the horse and rider in front of her. Which means she FIRST has to analize why the horse is acting the way she is rather than following a set formula.

FWIW, the BSc in Physics was the absolute WORST instructor this BA(Biology)MCSE has ever had and by far the best is a PharmD.
And my MSEng nuclear engineer DH concures

Waterwitch
Dec. 13, 2010, 10:53 AM
I think part of being able to ride well is being able to create an equal force within your body to counteract the forces acting to destabilize your body (gravity, the up and down and side to side and forward and back movement of the horse, centripetal force in the school figures, etc).

Isometric muscle use (particularly in the core muscles) is important.

mzm farm
Dec. 13, 2010, 11:06 AM
Unfortunately, I have fallen off a horse and I know the law of physics applies to my falling body as to any other object. However, in the course of a normal ride, forces occur due to my brain giving orders, not just outside forces acting upon me.

The force I exert on my horse which propels him forward is a taught response, not a physics law dictated one.

Where I lean and distribute my weight does affect how my horse moves and distributes his weight, and that I believe is biomechanics - I would guess all trainers understand that. Horse riding and training is not strictly according to Newton's laws. Horses go not move forward due to an overwhelming "push" and they do not stop solely due to inertia.

AzuWish
Dec. 13, 2010, 11:28 AM
I have noticed that this word biomechanics has become the 'new' marketing word in the equine industry, and in particular dressage.

Definition of biomechanics:
1. The study of the mechanics of a living body, especially of the forces exerted by muscles and gravity on the skeletal structure
2. Biomechanics is the science of movement of a living body, including how muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments work together to produce movement.

Physics definition of inertia: - the reluctance of all matter to change its state of uniform motion; the tendency of all objects to preserve its motion
Physics definition of pressure: - is an effect which occurs when a “force” is applied on a surface. Pressure is the amount of force acting on a unit area.
Physics definition of force: that which produces or prevents motion; that which can impose a change of velocity on a material

Newton's Three Laws of Mechanics (or Motion):
First law, the law of inertia: An object remains at rest or moves in a straight line at constant speed, unless acted upon by a net outside force.
Second law, the effect of forces: The acceleration of an object is proportional to the force acting on it and in the same direction. The acceleration is inversely proportional to the object's mass.
Third law, action-reaction pairs of forces: Whenever one object exerts a force on a second object, the second object exerts an equal and opposite force on the first object.
Biomechanics thus requires that one uses the laws of physics in the schooling and riding of the horse.

With the above perameters a question is raised: Do you believe that riders, trainers and clinicians apply the laws of physics or do they actually unknowingly interfere with these laws?


Based on the definition laid out of biomechanics, yes some can. Based on the magenta portion, you're trying to hard to discredit an idea not even based on that (well, I guess everything is based on that so maybe you're right, but biomechanics react to those laws).

The only biomechanics trainer I've been exposed to is Jean Luc Cornille. And based on the fact he spent nearly four hours describing the way horses move and how we influence them, I'd say that goes right in line with what is biomechanics.

For example, under JLC's theories, he believes the hind legs do not provide lift, only forward movement. It is the fore legs that create suspension. According to him, this is true in piaffe and in jumping, both instances where the hind legs appear to be creating the lift. But he calls it an optical illusion.

If you subscribe to this theory, that the hind legs just push and the fore legs create lift, then asking for more forward (speed) with a strong resisting hand is counter intuitive. He stresses that this prevents the forehand from its natural suspension by asking the hind end to push more forward, creating a horse more on the forehand. But if you work within the natural cadence of the horse, encouraging natural suspension, then you can get a properly working hind end and can remain soft with your hands (no push-pull; he added that some horses will eventually "get" what you want out of this but that it is unnatural and can take years more to accomplish this).

He also talks about how the horse's spine can only move inches, and the more the rider's spine moves past a few inches, the more resistance you'll get from the horse because he physically cannot follow you.

Now, I found this extremely interesting, with good reason. Because we are all taught that the hind end can "carry" weight and create lift. But JLC's theory is that the back muscles and foreleg muscles are creating the lift and that the hind legs aren't really carrying the horse at all. Pretty darn fascinating.

He has years of research to back up his claims. I haven't seen as well-documented research countering his positions so I can't really say whether or not it is unfounded. I will say that the way it was explained made perfect sense, and the horses seemed to respond to it.

ACP
Dec. 13, 2010, 11:34 AM
My husband is a retired physicist, a PhD who was a department chair. He's watched me, my sister and our daughters ride a lot. He said that he felt riding was an art, not a science, but - with him there is almost always a but - the laws of physics DID apply to some things, which were based on the horse's conformation. Short femur vs. long, for example. And then he walked off to his office, after muttering about the rider's seated height, the length of their upper arm, and how long their forearm was, ALL having an influence on the way they held the reins and could communicate with the horse. Scary.....

Eclectic Horseman
Dec. 13, 2010, 11:38 AM
The only one who I know of that is actually doing real scientific work in this area is Hilary Clayton, the McPhail Dressage Chair at Michigan State.

If it isn't backed up by reproducable studies that provide empirical proof--it ain't science.

AzuWish
Dec. 13, 2010, 11:52 AM
eclectic, that's a great point. Should the research done by these biomechanics-based trainers have empirical proof, and what exactly would that entail?

But then I think biomechanics based on muscles and skeleton, is just like kinesiology (biomechanics in humans). You don't need an experiment to show that the average toddler is going to wobble when he runs more so than the average 9 year old. You use length of limbs, weight distribution, muscle movement, basic laws to develop your theory and then "test" it by motion cameras, visual observation or whatever.

Biomechanics and kinesiology, from my understanding, are based on what the body is capable of physically and then observations (case studies, data gathering through motion cameras etc.).

I'm interested in learning more about the person you posted about :)

Eclectic Horseman
Dec. 13, 2010, 12:39 PM
eclectic, that's a great point. Should the research done by these biomechanics-based trainers have empirical proof, and what exactly would that entail?

But then I think biomechanics based on muscles and skeleton, is just like kinesiology (biomechanics in humans). You don't need an experiment to show that the average toddler is going to wobble when he runs more so than the average 9 year old. You use length of limbs, weight distribution, muscle movement, basic laws to develop your theory and then "test" it by motion cameras, visual observation or whatever.

Biomechanics and kinesiology, from my understanding, are based on what the body is capable of physically and then observations (case studies, data gathering through motion cameras etc.).

I'm interested in learning more about the person you posted about :)

Here you go. She frequently publishes studies in Dressage Today and USDF Connection in addition to scholarly publications.

http://cvm.msu.edu/research/research-centers/mcphail-equine-performance-center/personnel/dr-hilary-clayton


http://cvm.msu.edu/research/research-centers/mcphail-equine-performance-center/research-capabilities

mbm
Dec. 13, 2010, 01:19 PM
there are a lot of folks studying equitation in a scientific manner. (and fwiw, i am not really a fan of clayton..... i think she is too political....)

http://www.equitationscience.com/

AzuWish
Dec. 13, 2010, 01:33 PM
Here you go. She frequently publishes studies in Dressage Today and USDF Connection in addition to scholarly publications.

http://cvm.msu.edu/research/research-centers/mcphail-equine-performance-center/personnel/dr-hilary-clayton


http://cvm.msu.edu/research/research-centers/mcphail-equine-performance-center/research-capabilities

I saw those links and badly want to read the results in the second links!!! Specifically transitions and rehab techniques!

Has anyone seen that lameness indicator or used it? Speaking of biomechanical measuring devices? Neat little thing.

Eclectic Horseman
Dec. 13, 2010, 02:55 PM
there are a lot of folks studying equitation in a scientific manner. (and fwiw, i am not really a fan of clayton..... i think she is too political....)

http://www.equitationscience.com/


You are kidding right? Look at the number of "controversial" or "political" topics listed in your link. :rolleyes:
Then count them or the lack of them in Michigan State U's.

atr
Dec. 13, 2010, 04:48 PM
My trainer (who is also a scientist) said to me the other day:

"When I stopped looking at it like an emotional female and started focussing on the physics, dressage finally clicked into place."

millerra
Dec. 13, 2010, 05:17 PM
In science:

In general, a law is a theory that is expressed in mathematical terms. If experimental evidence can show that the law can be broken then the law (and theory) MUST be changed to fit the new experimental data.

And yes, laws can be "soft" as in the ideal gas law PV=nRT because only under specific conditions the laws fit - far from ideal, other real and measurable phenomenon begin to impact the observed ideal gas law (e.g. intermolecular forces). BUT the theory must accommodate the observed "change" in the law.

Nevertheless, I don't think any horse trainer or rider is breaking any newtonian laws of physics anymore than they can break the laws of thermodynamics.

alibi_18
Dec. 13, 2010, 05:21 PM
'Biomecanic' is used as much as 'natural' in the horse industry and most of the time, badly used and for weird reasons.

Good trainer/rider have to understand how horses move, react, fonction in order to ride and train properly and efficiently. Thus using biomecanics principles knowingly or not. Wiser and marketing prone ones just use the word in their advertisement! And yes, sometimes to fool people.

As for JLC, as good as his research might sound, having seen his clinics and riding, I don't think he's worth half of his sayings.

rugbygirl
Dec. 13, 2010, 05:42 PM
I like the concept of teaching and learning through biomechanics. As many others have indicated, it takes much of the guesswork and ambiguity out of riding instruction.

There are many ideas expressed commonly in riding that are vague and non-specific, but that refer to very specific biomechanical causes and effects. Using a biomechanical approach, to me, means the instructor clearly understands the science behind the riding and can express it in the language of science...which can then in turn be more accurately understood by a student familiar with science.

I have studied biology and engineering. If a riding instructor can explain something to me using basic biological terminology and mechanics I SHOULD be able to put the idea into practice better than, say, a six year old. If the instructor uses statements like "put him together before the canter"...the six year old and I have statistically identical likelihoods of understanding. The biomechanical approach would include language like "increase the pressure on the outside rein, weight the outside seat bone, allow the horse to freely extend the lever arm of x joint..."

mbm
Dec. 13, 2010, 06:34 PM
You are kidding right? Look at the number of "controversial" or "political" topics listed in your link. :rolleyes:
Then count them or the lack of them in Michigan State U's.

I said i thought clayton was political....

as for my link - the point being - there are a LOT of folks studying the bio-mechanics of riding. not just clayton.

btw: here is a list of the scientists etc that are working on studying the bio mechanics of riding from the equitation science website... it is quite long :)

http://www.equitationscience.com/council.html

Reddfox
Dec. 13, 2010, 07:11 PM
.The only biomechanics trainer I've been exposed to is Jean Luc Cornille. And based on the fact he spent nearly four hours describing the way horses move and how we influence them, I'd say that goes right in line with what is biomechanics.

For example, under JLC's theories, he believes the hind legs do not provide lift, only forward movement. It is the fore legs that create suspension. According to him, this is true in piaffe and in jumping, both instances where the hind legs appear to be creating the lift. But he calls it an optical illusion.

If you subscribe to this theory, that the hind legs just push and the fore legs create lift, then asking for more forward (speed) with a strong resisting hand is counter intuitive. He stresses that this prevents the forehand from its natural suspension by asking the hind end to push more forward, creating a horse more on the forehand. But if you work within the natural cadence of the horse, encouraging natural suspension, then you can get a properly working hind end and can remain soft with your hands (no push-pull; he added that some horses will eventually "get" what you want out of this but that it is unnatural and can take years more to accomplish this).


I don't understand this theory at all. To think that the forelegs create lift and that the hind has nothing to do with it confounds me. Does he believe that this happens because the horse pushes off the ground with the forehand?

No, the hind doesn't actually lift in these movements, but they carry more weight in order to free the forehand - the most extreme example of this is in jumping and in the airs above the ground.

There was a study done by Hillary Clayton and Paul Belasik in which they measured how the horse lifts itself in levade. All of their findings on the force plates showed that the forehand lightens in piaffe and the horse uses its hind to carry the weight which culminates in the levade.

Can you explain what JLC means when he says that the fore legs create lift?

carolprudm
Dec. 13, 2010, 07:14 PM
I like the concept of teaching and learning through biomechanics. As many others have indicated, it takes much of the guesswork and ambiguity out of riding instruction.

There are many ideas expressed commonly in riding that are vague and non-specific, but that refer to very specific biomechanical causes and effects. Using a biomechanical approach, to me, means the instructor clearly understands the science behind the riding and can express it in the language of science...which can then in turn be more accurately understood by a student familiar with science.

I have studied biology and engineering. If a riding instructor can explain something to me using basic biological terminology and mechanics I SHOULD be able to put the idea into practice better than, say, a six year old. If the instructor uses statements like "put him together before the canter"...the six year old and I have statistically identical likelihoods of understanding. The biomechanical approach would include language like "increase the pressure on the outside rein, weight the outside seat bone, allow the horse to freely extend the lever arm of x joint..."
AHHHH but can you imagine your butt is velcro and just peeeel it off the saddle?

hypasha
Dec. 13, 2010, 09:23 PM
I don't understand this theory at all. To think that the forelegs create lift and that the hind has nothing to do with it confounds me. Does he believe that this happens because the horse pushes off the ground with the forehand?

No, the hind doesn't actually lift in these movements, but they carry more weight in order to free the forehand - the most extreme example of this is in jumping and in the airs above the ground.

There was a study done by Hillary Clayton and Paul Belasik in which they measured how the horse lifts itself in levade. All of their findings on the force plates showed that the forehand lightens in piaffe and the horse uses its hind to carry the weight which culminates in the levade.

Can you explain what JLC means when he says that the fore legs create lift?

I would like to straighten the record. Jean Luc Cornille did not say that the hind legs are not producing upward propulsive forces. Instead, he referred to scientific measurements effectuated in 1993, which have demonstrated that the forelegs were producing 57% of the vertical impulse while the hind legs only 43%. Here are the exact words of the study.
“In horses, and most other mammalian quadrupeds, 57% of the vertical impulse is applied through the thoracic limbs, and only 43% through the hind limbs.”
(H. W. Merkens, H. C. Schamhardt,G. J. van Osch, A. J. van den Bogert, 1993).

millerra
Dec. 13, 2010, 09:51 PM
I like the concept of teaching and learning through biomechanics. As many others have indicated, it takes much of the guesswork and ambiguity out of riding instruction.

There are many ideas expressed commonly in riding that are vague and non-specific, but that refer to very specific biomechanical causes and effects. Using a biomechanical approach, to me, means the instructor clearly understands the science behind the riding and can express it in the language of science...which can then in turn be more accurately understood by a student familiar with science.

I have studied biology and engineering. If a riding instructor can explain something to me using basic biological terminology and mechanics I SHOULD be able to put the idea into practice better than, say, a six year old. If the instructor uses statements like "put him together before the canter"...the six year old and I have statistically identical likelihoods of understanding. The biomechanical approach would include language like "increase the pressure on the outside rein, weight the outside seat bone, allow the horse to freely extend the lever arm of x joint..."

Interesting idea. However, I am very familiar w/ science and the this type of teaching style does not work for me. I have had instructors tell me detailed instructions such as "left leg back, shift weight to outside hip... blah blah blah" and all I do is get stiff and mechanical. I do much better with things like - "increase the activity of outside leg" Please tell me what needs to happen, not how to do it... different strokes for different students, no?

Thank goodness this discussion has devolved from breaking the laws of physics. :)

spirithorse
Dec. 13, 2010, 10:30 PM
Interesting responses posted.

With the above perameters a question is raised: Do you believe that riders, trainers and clinicians apply the laws of physics or do they actually unknowingly interfere with these laws?

This is the question put forth. Interfering with the horse does interfer with the laws of physics.

Inertia is the motion set forth by the actions of the horse, the effect of forces is the constraints applied by the rider, and the action-reaction is the resistance and constraints effected by both the rider and the horse acting in opposition to each other

The above statement is directed at the frame we ride our horses in, at the amount of pressures applied to the bits, and the lack of releasing said pressures.

If we as riders actually would spend more time in actual 'light' 'supple' contact and release of the dressage horse, the horse would achieve correct balance, collection, and engagement on its own.
It is far more difficult for the horse to achieve these when we induce the opposing forces that we as riders do.

As for the hindquarters of the horse, the rear is the engine of the horse. It produces the thrust while the forehand creates the length of stride. Secretariat is the best example of this action.

rugbygirl
Dec. 13, 2010, 10:38 PM
I'm stuck on your phrasing "interferes with the laws of physics"

Riding a horse isn't like bending the laws of time and space. It's a complicated dynamic system made up of two separate, mechanically complicated SENTIENT systems.

Yes, the rider can get in the horse's way. Most riders spend their careers trying to minimize that. A horse can get in a rider's way too...weak on one side, the horse can very effectively toss the rider further out of balance if they have a mind to. The rider must insist that the horse effectively use his weak side, or the whole system becomes MORE crooked (magnification of error.)

spirithorse
Dec. 13, 2010, 10:53 PM
I'm stuck on your phrasing "interferes with the laws of physics"

It is really simple. The Third Law...for every action there is a reaction. When a rider uses a curb bit in the incorrect and harsh manner being presented so much in dressage, the horse is going to react by inducing further constraints in its neck and shoulder muscles in order to minimize the effects of the rider.

The rider is, through the use of excessive force, interfering with the inertia set in motion by the horse. We as riders are asking for forward motion of the entire muscle mass, while constraining and restricting the forward portion of the muscle mass, which interfers with the desired action of the horse requested by the rider. We are powering up the rear engine and applying the front brakes.

When I teach, I do so by relating riding the horse to the dance between two people. Thus I am able to communicate with the client the lightness and suppleness required by the client, which results in the horse responding correctly to the aids used.

As silly as it sounds, "less is more".

NorCalDressage
Dec. 13, 2010, 11:38 PM
Riding a horse isn't like bending the laws of time and space.

Damn, I thought we were involved in something majikal here....

NorCalDressage
Dec. 13, 2010, 11:40 PM
Oh gawd - another Rollkur, LDR, etc thread in disguise

millerra
Dec. 13, 2010, 11:56 PM
And here I thought only superman could defy the laws of physics!

Someone had it right here. The laws of physics refer to objects - not critters w/ their own brains and responses. What you, SH, are describing, is a sentient being's response to another being's action. I would call it simply riding and training a horse.

Enough said. The argument defies logic - not the laws of physics.

netg
Dec. 14, 2010, 12:27 AM
Interesting responses posted.
...
Interfering with the horse does interfer with the laws of physics.

...

Inertia is the motion set forth by the actions of the horse, the effect of forces is the constraints applied by the rider, and the action-reaction is the resistance and constraints effected by both the rider and the horse acting in opposition to each other


No.

None of us have the ability to change or interfere with the laws of physics.

Inertia is what makes you go over your horse's shoulder if your body is going forward/left and your horse drops its right shoulder and spin right. Inertia is what makes an off-balance horse slide when it hits the ground instead of just stopping.

The laws of physics are why you should wear a helmet, because gravity exerts an acceleration which combines with your mass to exert a great force on your head when it impacts the ground if you fall.


It is really simple. The Third Law...for every action there is a reaction. When a rider uses a curb bit in the incorrect and harsh manner being presented so much in dressage, the horse is going to react by inducing further constraints in its neck and shoulder muscles in order to minimize the effects of the rider.


This has nothing to do with physics. It has to do with behavior and the mind of the human and horse. Physics are still in play, as we're still on Earth and not Superman. However, the reaction to mistreatment is due to reasons having nothing to do with physics.

(And biomechanics is more engineering-based than physics-based in the end anyway.)


When you attempt to claim physics is the reason to be kind to a horse, you end up sounding like a Parelli-level quack. If you want to argue that folks should not abuse their horses, great, you have a wonderful argument. Turning it into quackery makes me want to support rollkur just to disagree with you.



Damn, I thought we were involved in something majikal here....

I don't know. My horse's ability to understand all I want despite my imperfections feels pretty majikal to me! :)

carolprudm
Dec. 14, 2010, 09:37 AM
Jane Savoie has a new system that might actually quantify the biomechanics of riding. She had it at WEG and the EA in Mass. It's an artificial horse with sensorsthat can tell if the rider is sitting crooked.

There was another woman who had a similar device at he Equine Extravaganza here in VA. It couldn't detect rider crookedness but would react to aids. For example if you gave it a half falt it "thought" was to strong it would stop. The woman trained her clients' horses to a consistant set of aids then taught the client to reproduce those aids on the mechanical horse.

I ultimately decided not to take a lesson on it, because I wasn't sure the aids she had programed into the horse were the same ones Sophie was used to. She did have a very steady stream of customers though

spirithorse
Dec. 14, 2010, 11:56 AM
Someone had it right here. The laws of physics refer to objects - not critters w/ their own brains and responses. .


Do not know what physics you studied, however, the Third Law actually does apply to living objects and therefore the other two laws of physics.

For every action there is a reaction

It is obvious that those who disagree are clearly chosing to ignore the impact you have upon the horse. Your physical {not emotional or thinking} actions are causing negative responses in the muscle structure of the horse. These negative responses by the horse does interfer with the interia set in motion when the horse moves, and such negative responses by the horse is directly caused by the forces induced by the rider.

rugbygirl
Dec. 14, 2010, 12:12 PM
These negative responses by the horse does interfer with the interia set in motion when the horse moves, and such negative responses by the horse is directly caused by the forces induced by the rider.

No kidding.

You're just describing the whole POINT of learning to ride effectively, which is harmony, balance, encouraging and allowing the horse to move to the best of his natural ability.

Of course it has to do with biomechanics. It also has to do with Physics. Science is just the language of life! An understanding of biomechanics and physics should help most riders in some way, they need to understand the fundamentals of equine and human anatomy, the ideas of center of gravity, the difference between velocity and acceleration, basic principles of Thermodynamics (work.) Some people effectively learn those concepts without learning the language, some people understand science first and apply it to riding later.

Even the lowliest beginner learns very early on that everything you do on a horse results in a reaction. As you progress through the levels you refine the process.

millerra
Dec. 14, 2010, 12:13 PM
Do not know what physics you studied, however, the Third Law actually does apply to living objects and therefore the other two laws of physics.

For every action there is a reaction

It is obvious that those who disagree are clearly chosing to ignore the impact you have upon the horse. Your physical {not emotional or thinking} actions are causing negative responses in the muscle structure of the horse. These negative responses by the horse does interfer with the interia set in motion when the horse moves, and such negative responses by the horse is directly caused by the forces induced by the rider.

Um. No. I'm not ignoring the impact I'm having on my horse. I expect my horse to react! I just don't believe I'm breaking the laws of physics.

Can you comprehend?

Eclectic Horseman
Dec. 14, 2010, 12:21 PM
But horse riding/training is not just or even mostly about "biomechanics."

It may be even more about operant conditioning--intentionally or unintentionally conditioned behaviors. We are talking about animals with their own instinct, motivations and intelligence here, not robots. :no:

Biomechanics comes more into play when attempting to observe and measure what happens in order to find the most effective way to influence it. If it was all just physical cause and effect, you should be able pull an unbacked horse out of the field, hop on and given the correct aids, get half pass. ;) Good luck with that.

JB
Dec. 14, 2010, 12:37 PM
Biomechanics are how things work, in a nutshell.

That has nothing to do with whether you are riding correctly or not (bear with me ;))

The goal is to create a horse trained to efficiently and properly use himself, which has to be influenced based on the biomechanics of how his body works.

The goal is to have a rider who uses his body to efficiently and correctly influence the horse, all within the biomechanics of a human body and within an individual (who many have issues that prevent certain movements), as well as within the boundaries of the horse and his individuality.

Physics absolutely comes into play, as bones and muscles and ligaments and tendons all act as levers and pulleys, there is mass which is either in motion, trying to stay less in motion, trying to stay still, moving in different directions under some influence.

AzuWish
Dec. 14, 2010, 12:47 PM
I don't understand this theory at all. To think that the forelegs create lift and that the hind has nothing to do with it confounds me. Does he believe that this happens because the horse pushes off the ground with the forehand?

No, the hind doesn't actually lift in these movements, but they carry more weight in order to free the forehand - the most extreme example of this is in jumping and in the airs above the ground.

There was a study done by Hillary Clayton and Paul Belasik in which they measured how the horse lifts itself in levade. All of their findings on the force plates showed that the forehand lightens in piaffe and the horse uses its hind to carry the weight which culminates in the levade.

Can you explain what JLC means when he says that the fore legs create lift?

Not very well! :lol: Keep in mind that I'm not JLC and have only done a story with him. I have never vetted him or his sources.

It's a complete mind bender, that's for sure. I wish I could do the theory justice, but I simply can't because once I do a story, I tend to forget the nuances and what have you.

Here's the story I did with him: http://readersreport.blogs.equisearch.com/2010/10/region-1-clinic-report-jean-luc.html

Here's a snippet of the portion I'm failing to explain at now:



The hind leg does not and cannot carry the horse during the pushing phase. They do so during the breaking phase, which is about the first half of the time the hoof is on the ground. Jean Luc described the process that equestrians phrase as the horse carrying himself on his hind legs as an optical illusion.
According to Jean Luc, the pushing force of the hind legs is in the direction of the motion. The hind legs only produce 43 percent of the vertical movement. Meanwhile, the forelegs produce the greater upward vertical forces. The traditional view of asking the horse to carry himself by rocking back is biomechanically impossible and, in light of that concept, asking for more forward movement does nothing to raise the horse’s back or set his weight over his hind legs.
“The more we push, the less they will be able to do it,” Jean Luc said. More exertion from the hind legs pushing causes the croup to rise and the back to stiffen, defeating the ultimate goal of a light, responsive horse.
While the hind legs exert horizontal force, it is the forelegs that exert the greatest percentage of vertical force. The forelegs produce 57 percent of the vertical movement. In other words, the forelegs create lift.
“The forelegs’ action is like a pogo stick,” Jean Luc said. “The forelegs do not push the horse forward; they push the horse upward ... the hind legs create the force horizontal, the forelegs create the force vertical. The combination creates the optical illusion that the hind legs carry the horse.”
The legs are designed to move with suspension. Horses are designed for “minimum effort, maximum movement,” Jean Luc explained. A flat-gaited horse showing no suspension—or spring—has a problem that should be addressed.
Often as the weight over the forelegs is increased past the normal weight-bearing load of the horse’s body weight, suspension is lost and gait abnormalities occur.
The addition of a rider adds to the weight to the forelegs. As more weight is transferred to the forehand, cadence issues and flat gaits result.

millerra
Dec. 14, 2010, 12:55 PM
So... just playing (because I like to) -

understanding thermodynamics - state functions, being able to calculate chemical potential or heat of a reaction will make me a better rider? Really? Good lord, I have an advanced degree in kinetics and thermo. Put me on the olympic dressage team NOW!

In reality - I believe I can understand thermodynamics and physics and biomechanics on the same level a dog can do calculus and be a reasonable rider even w/ out all that "book learning".

And yes - dogs and people do calculus intuitively. Horses too. Ever watch a dog intersect what its chasing? Calculus. Ever watch a horse time his rapid deceleration - even sliding in mud - so he doesn't hit the fence. Calculus. And I don't believe either horses nor dogs, as a general rule have ever cracked open a calculus book. And guess what, they're still not breaking the laws of physics doing it.

And please don't think I don't love science. Metabolism is my all time fav subject... it just doesn't apply much when I swing my leg over my horse.

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
Dec. 14, 2010, 01:08 PM
hmm - hadn't read that JL Cornille thought before, but fwiw, it has long fascinated me to look at photo sequences of horses jumping bounces. Their front feet do, indeed, leave the ground for the second fence BEFORE the hind legs touch down. That does imply some pogo-like powers in the front end. Pretty cool!

rugbygirl
Dec. 14, 2010, 01:13 PM
understanding thermodynamics - state functions, being able to calculate chemical potential or heat of a reaction will make me a better rider?

Yes, but I was thinking more along the lines of work and energy. You know, you can't create energy, only transform it...you can't get collection without forward...that kind of thing.


Really? Good lord, I have an advanced degree in kinetics and thermo. Put me on the olympic dressage team NOW!

I said that it SHOULD help MOST riders. I said nothing about it making you a GOOD rider. Or a good partner for your horse. If you take the knowledge and apply it, it increases the tools in your toolbox...that's all.


I'm a mechanical engineer. I understand a lot about mechanical systems. That doesn't make me a good rider. A good instructor can leverage my knowledge and help make me a BETTER rider.

netg
Dec. 14, 2010, 01:56 PM
Equal and opposite reaction applies to if you squeeze with your legs, the horse's body applies an opposite force. Not if you squeeze with your legs the horse then lifts its front end and brings its hind legs underneath itself. That's training. The force involved there is the horse's force pushing on the ground vs the opposite force from the ground pushing up, etc. No laws of physics are broken.

Good lord, sh, you are CLUELESS on the science, and need to stop pretending you're not because you're coming off as completely and totally absurd. Then again, if you WANT to come off that way, feel free to continue. It's getting old and ridiculous, but other folks are making great points so I'm glad the thread exists.


I think sometimes studying biomechanics to understand "ok, so what you're asking puts more stress on xyz, and therefore you need to do abc to make it easier for the horse" as well as learning how shifting what way works best is extremely valuable.

Breaking the laws of physics should get published in scientific magazines, though, as you could be famous for your superpowers.

millerra
Dec. 14, 2010, 04:04 PM
If you take the knowledge and apply it, it increases the tools in your toolbox...that's all.
That doesn't make me a good rider. A good instructor can leverage my knowledge and help make me a BETTER rider.

So, I interpret you as saying that a better understanding of how the world works (i.e. science) leads to a better understanding of how riding works (and everything else, for that matter). If so, I can not and will not argue and do really agree.

oh oh. I just agreed w/ someone on COTH. Did I break any laws of physics doing this? I think the universe will implode... and it'll have to start all over again.

rugbygirl
Dec. 14, 2010, 06:00 PM
oh oh. I just agreed w/ someone on COTH. Did I break any laws of physics doing this?

:yes:

Maybe spirithorse will let you do Dressage now :lol: ?

lorilu
Dec. 14, 2010, 06:44 PM
Do not know what physics you studied, however, the Third Law actually does apply to living objects and therefore the other two laws of physics.

For every action there is a reaction

It is obvious that those who disagree are clearly chosing to ignore the impact you have upon the horse. Your physical {not emotional or thinking} actions are causing negative responses in the muscle structure of the horse. These negative responses by the horse does interfer with the interia set in motion when the horse moves, and such negative responses by the horse is directly caused by the forces induced by the rider.

Uh, no. The muscle reactions are caused by chemical signals sent byt he horse's brain, in response to chemical signals it receives from nerve endings. The reaction we see is not the same thing as the "action-reaction" of Newton's Law. Just because we use the same words does not mean they mean the same thing.

IMO, one example of the action/reaction Law would be the lift of suspension - the horse presses down on the ground, and the horse rebounds off the surface. This is different from the bending of the neck due to bit action - That is just a reaction to avoid discomfort.

And as for as "inertia set in motion", well, that just plain makes no sense. Inertia is a quality a mass posesses - it is not motion or stillness. It is a quality of "being". You can only change the inertia of a mass by applying a force = such as the force in my example above. The "force" of our aids (not a really physics force, except that we do press into the horse) cause the horse to react by moving muscles - which move bones - which act on surfaces (our bodies, or the ground) to create movement. A mass in motion has inertia which is only changed by the application of a force - such as the muscles of the horse stopping the motion of the bones in a halt.

L

rugbygirl
Dec. 14, 2010, 07:06 PM
Inertia is a valuable concept in horse training though, because you do learn pretty quickly that "a body at rest tends to stay at rest" and all the force your puny human body can muster is really not what causes the horse body to move...

That's where the Operant Conditioning comes in. Newton's laws really don't assess whether or not the body is MOTIVATED to move.:lol:

4xhoof
Dec. 14, 2010, 10:08 PM
SH has posted this topic on the bm forum and then added that 'on another forum', most do not have a clue how they are interfering with the laws of physics.

Personally I have found this discussion very interesting and informative. This by Rubygirl is great. Made me :) :

Inertia is a valuable concept in horse training though, because you do learn pretty quickly that "a body at rest tends to stay at rest" and all the force your puny human body can muster is really not what causes the horse body to move...

Reddfox
Dec. 15, 2010, 01:40 PM
It is really simple. The Third Law...for every action there is a reaction. When a rider uses a curb bit in the incorrect and harsh manner being presented so much in dressage, the horse is going to react by inducing further constraints in its neck and shoulder muscles in order to minimize the effects of the rider.

The rider is, through the use of excessive force, interfering with the inertia set in motion by the horse. We as riders are asking for forward motion of the entire muscle mass, while constraining and restricting the forward portion of the muscle mass, which interfers with the desired action of the horse requested by the rider. We are powering up the rear engine and applying the front brakes.

When I teach, I do so by relating riding the horse to the dance between two people. Thus I am able to communicate with the client the lightness and suppleness required by the client, which results in the horse responding correctly to the aids used.

As silly as it sounds, "less is more".

"We are powering up the rear engine and applying the front brakes." Of course we are...If you power up the rear engine and don't channel that -all you get is forward and downhill. You gently apply the front brakes for a split second and you release and you shift the balance to the powered up hind...and VOILA, collection. The horse won't naturally seek a collected state - so how do we get there? You restrict the forward motion for a moment...HALF HALT = Increased collection.

When two people are dancing - one is the lead...they slow or speed up the rhythm, lengthen or shorten the strides and their partner follows. The rider becomes the lead and yes we want to be as soft as possible and as giving as possible, but sometimes, someone falls out of step and a stronger correction needs to be made (dancer or horse/rider).

Also, if we are using the dance analogy - partners are responsible for their posture...I don't think you'll find a beautifully moving dance partnership where one of the partners is slouching. Same with riders - in this partnership we are responsible for our posture so that the horse can carry us as unencumbered as possible. I fail to see how one can go on and on about the restraining aids and the evils of bits when they do just as much damage by sitting incorrectly. Why would that not cause a negative response. How does the horse get away from a poorly sitting rider slamming down on its back?

@Jeannette: I don't know if the bounce sequences imply pogo-ing of front legs. The jump comes out of the canter stride which has a moment of suspension. What is happening IMO is that the horse lands, begins the stride sequence and takes off - the jump is an exaggerated, vertical stride in essence. The horse isn't pushing off with its forelegs...Although, they sometimes brake with them:lol:

rugbygirl
Dec. 15, 2010, 02:09 PM
^ to further reddfox, while dance may LOOK light and airy, you can't underestimate the amount of WORK being performed. Muscle energy expended...that floating frame is very difficult to achieve and hold...and at first you do have to "force" it. A more politicially correct term, I suppose, is "condition" it. No one naturally walks like a ballroom dancer, it's an unnatural movement. If people just did what was comfortable/natural and gave up when they got tired, dancing would look more like...flopping.

Truly brilliant athletes often get the comment that something "looks easy"...it's too easy for the outside observer to forget that the athlete doesn't just train and train and one day a magic door opens and all of a sudden the movement takes less effort. It's always WORK, you just condition your body to do it efficiently and preferentially.

Of course force can be taken too far, that's why horses make such interesting partners. You spend a lifetime figuring out how little or how much force it takes to convince your own body and your equine partner's body to move in harmony.

I have recently started to study the Feldenkrais method. The "forcing" doesn't have to be painful, and it doesn't need to incorporate large movements or anything dramatic. You do need to develop awareness and find a way to create a new neural pathway when you try to change/optimize a movement though.

Hmm. Perhaps an example. My horse likes to hollow his back and travel with his head up. He does this slowly, so that I imperceptibly get more and more tense. He then likes to use his left hip to knock me slightly to the right. This is the way he thinks it is easiest to carry a rider. I DO need to interrupt his movement with my body, consciously, maintain even weight on my seat bones. I need to interrupt the swing of his rib cage at a specific time with my inside leg. I need to interrupt the counter swing on the OTHER side of his body with light pressure on my outside rein. If I do everything correctly, he may reward me by lengthening the giant muscles and ligaments in his neck and back, softening his gait and carrying me properly.

If I stayed out of the horse's way completely, the right side of my body would end up contracted and my saddle tree would wind up twisted, and we certainly wouldn't be able to complete a Dressage test. I'm a BEGINNING BEGINNER who pretty much naturally SUCKS. I've managed to figure out what softness is, and how forces must be applied to eventually create softness. How would you propose to do it otherwise?

JB
Dec. 15, 2010, 02:32 PM
hmm - hadn't read that JL Cornille thought before, but fwiw, it has long fascinated me to look at photo sequences of horses jumping bounces. Their front feet do, indeed, leave the ground for the second fence BEFORE the hind legs touch down. That does imply some pogo-like powers in the front end. Pretty cool!

Depends on how fast he's going. A horse's front legs leave the ground before the hind legs touch down in a good canter, where there is a moment of suspension after the 3rd beat. So yes, if he's got a good canter coming down to the fence, the front end will be off the ground before the hind feet plant for the pushoff. The horse will just have created more lift in his front end as a result of the need to jump.

JB
Dec. 15, 2010, 02:35 PM
I said that it SHOULD help MOST riders. I said nothing about it making you a GOOD rider. Or a good partner for your horse. If you take the knowledge and apply it, it increases the tools in your toolbox...that's all.


I'm a mechanical engineer. I understand a lot about mechanical systems. That doesn't make me a good rider. A good instructor can leverage my knowledge and help make me a BETTER rider.

Totally agree. Without understanding how, biomechanically, a horse's body works, you can never really correctly influence it. Some gifted people get it without being able to explain it because they watch horses all day long. Others get it quickly because that's how their mind works, and they can translate to what they are asking. Others need a LOT of help in that area.

And, the more one becomes in tune with your own body, seeing how different types of activities affect it, the more you can appreciate what it is you are asking of the horse. It's not necessarily rocket science, but neither is it something that can be ignored, because it IS what it is.

netg
Dec. 15, 2010, 04:01 PM
And, the more one becomes in tune with your own body, seeing how different types of activities affect it, the more you can appreciate what it is you are asking of the horse. It's not necessarily rocket science, but neither is it something that can be ignored, because it IS what it is.

I agree!

As one of the board rocket scientists (but I am not the only one!), it definitely isn't rocket science, or at least you hope it doesn't include propulsion and flying through the air like a missile... but there's an intuition you develop from horses which rocket scientists don't generally have! I've only known one person who could look at a multivariable differential equation and instinctively know what effects it would have. But lots of people who can look at a horse and intuitively know how that how is likely to move.

Sure, there's a lot controlled by attitude, but that experience looking at horses totally teaches you to see the angles, lengths of different bones and the shape of muscles above them, body language, etc. Whether you study biomechanics or can just "know" things based on looking at a horse/riding a horse (which require the same concepts as biomechanics, just aren't verbalized) it certainly has a lot to do with how a horse moves. :)

alicen
Dec. 15, 2010, 06:32 PM
SH has posted this topic on the bm forum and then added that 'on another forum', most do not have a clue how they are interfering with the laws of physics.

I feel so empowered by the notion that my riding could interfere with the laws of physics. I'm not much of a jumper, but could you imagine? Move over Harry Potter!

spirithorse
Dec. 15, 2010, 06:51 PM
http://nicholnl.wcp.muohio.edu/DingosBreakfastClub/BioMech/Biomechfizziks1.html

"Oh well...why bother with the physics of equine motion? Because we need to know the reasonable physical limits on what we ask of ourselves and our horses. In the math we can find explanations for why we get tired just standing up. What forces affect a horse because of demands for "suspension in trot and canter? There are ethical reasons as well as practical reasons for respecting limits: pushing a willing animal or ourselves too hard leads to injury. Not only is this not nice, it's expensive.
In addition, competition is not necessarily about "normal," it is often about pushing limits. A look at Olympic disciplines makes this clear. This is not an argument against Olympic ambitions. Rather it is a set of guides for probing limits carefully and systematically. Should our probing lead to problems, we can back away and figure another route to the desired goal. If some goals are inspected and found to be unrealistic, we have the means to figure out which goals are reasonable in order to make our rules and judging criteria accordingly.
Training to higher skill levels is also about pushing limits, so calculation can help us decide where we are within a biologically sensible range with our efforts, or where we are inviting injury. As riders, what forces may we activate that build gymnastic capabilities such as strength, flexibility, range of motion and endurance?"

netg
Dec. 15, 2010, 07:26 PM
That link (which reaches into the engineering mechanics realm, as I said earlier - beyond just physics) has absolutely nothing to do with anything you said earlier.

It is about pushing limits of the tolerance of the horse's legs, not about breaking laws of physics. The horse pushing off the ground uses its muscles to create forces which put stress on bones, tendons, muscles themselves. Asking for more suspension, more reach, more torque, greater forces, is all difficult on the horses' bodies.

And still, no laws of physics are being broken.

alibi_18
Dec. 15, 2010, 11:24 PM
As riders, what forces may we activate that built gymnastic capabilities such as strength, flexibility, range of motion and endurance?

We might ask the Gods of breeding engineers and read some training books from Master trainers/riders?

If you wish to become a complete and wise leader, you must embrace a larger view of the Force. Palpatine.

alicen
Dec. 16, 2010, 06:28 AM
May the Force which is no force be with all riders.

millerra
Dec. 16, 2010, 10:15 AM
You know, in retrospect, I'm pretty sure my young horse broke the 'laws of physics'.

Out on the path one day, he spooked at a bird and was totally disrespectful of my positive pressure on my indirect rein and ran through it. Then, much to my dismay, he plunged into a bucking fit (play bucks, but none the less :eek:). And I was clearly trying to get his head up (well, as I was trying to keep my weight back and stay on) w/ my positive rein pressure, but he still kept his head down and kept on bucking until he decided it was enough (about 6 bucks but truthfully I really lost count). Clearly he ignored those laws about pressure!

And I really have no idea how/why I stayed on except he bucked underneath me (I am SO not a bronc rider). So, hey - maybe I broke the laws of physics too!!! Or was it simply because I tried to influence the forward motion/direction of my horse? Or did I have too much of the force w/ me?

I just confused myself now.

netg
Dec. 16, 2010, 11:20 AM
Clearly he ignored those laws about pressure!


I'm sure he just got his units confused when he was trying to figure out the pressure with the ideal gas law, and didn't realize he was dealing with solids.


(But good job staying on!)

millerra
Dec. 16, 2010, 11:37 AM
I'm sure he just got his units confused when he was trying to figure out the pressure with the ideal gas law, and didn't realize he was dealing with solids.


You are dangerous to my keyboard :lol:

[some of my students get confused about this too - really!]