Jim Hicks Q & A “Bending”

Continued Q & A With Jim Hicks

Q-When does bending become counterproductive and overused?

A- Most people’s idea about bend is that it is all about the head and the neck. The problem is that when only the head and neck are bent,, it causes the outside shoulder to bulge with the majority of weight negatively loading the outside foot. This puts the horse in a position of imbalance. When this happens, the horse then looses the engagement of the hind legs.
With that said, I like to think of putting a quarter weight on each of the horse’s feet. This allows the horse to balance or rebalance based on the athletic demand presented.
Engagement from the hind legs can only happen when the horse is bending inside its alignment. The horse needs to have the right amount of lateral and longitudinal flexion such that one compliments the other allowing the energy to cycle from the hind legs through the back, the neck, the poll, and down to the jaw. When all of these things happen this allows for collection and self carriage.

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