ManeStream Quiz: The Horse’s Self-carriage at the Walk

In my quest to develop robust interaction here in the ManeStream, from time to time I’ll post photos or videos and pose a question for readers to ponder and discuss. All the ManeStream Quiz entries will be about (surprise!) the finer points of horse and/or rider biomechanics. I hope you’ll all join in!

For the first installment, here are two pictures of a horse at the walk. We’re evaluating based on “pure” biomechanics – what is the optimum for this horse’s best performance and longterm soundness – not some artificial showring silhouette. No false frames here!

So, in your opinion, which of this photos shows the best carriage. Why?


Walk Photo A


Walk Photo B

Walk Photo B

(Remember, be nice. This is somebody’s beloved horse, so please answer in the spirit of constructive criticism. The rider in this case is me, so feel free to critique if you like.)

7 thoughts on “ManeStream Quiz: The Horse’s Self-carriage at the Walk

  1. Nice boy!

    And I prefer his walk in A, I believe – though it is always hard to truly judge from a static moment. But he looks to be more relaxed, to have a real energy and impulsion coming from behind. there is a looseness, a sense that the stride is starting with the inside hind (oh god, sorry about the jargon!!) and that the energy carries up and through the nice level back, through the head, and back to restart the stride at the back end. Most importantly, the horse seems relaxed and in comfortable movement.

    It’s not, by the way, that he looks awful in B!! But there is a sense of restriction in the movement — a sense that the elevation in the stride is coming because of restriction from up front instead of from the energy behind. There is also less circularity and a tiny bit more inversion over his back/profile.

    (And I’ll be honest, I have a sneaking suspicion you dropped your heels on purpose in B, or if not on purpose, that it is because of the way that this would block your hips/pelvic girdle, which is evident in the slight restriction that seems to show in your back in B. But as I said, these photos are of a moment in time, and my eye is far from expert. I still tend to end up reciting things taught to me by others, and to look for specific things.)

  2. um, I meant to add that the restrictions created by the dropped heels in B are likely why the quality of the walk in B isn’t what it is in A.

  3. Um. A. You’re a wee bit straighter in that one, and the horse looks like he’s lifted his belly a bit more and has more extension. Also in B it looks like you’re thinking “down” and “slouch” and the horse is reflecting that.

  4. I like B better. There’s just a *little* more horse in front of the saddle in B and it looks like the horse is stretching into the rider’s hand just a bit there. More importantly, I like the deeper engagement of the right hind in B compared to A: that’s impulsion beginning to happen. And in B, the horse appears to have engaged the abdominal muscles more, as well, judging by the shape of the belly. It’s a smallish difference, except for the engagement of the hind leg. The rider could stand to look ahead, though! ;-)

  5. I like B. Lighter and more open in the shoulder and neck (in A, neck looks ‘held’), hindquarters more engaged looking. Rider’s hip angle is more open in B, and rider’s back looks more fluid and mobile in B. JR looks great, he’s such a sweetie.

  6. I like the walk in photo B better. In A the horse looks more on the forehand and the hind end is not engaged as well as it is in photo B. In photo B the right hind is more engaged and under the belly and although the right fore is still in the air, it looks as though the stride will be longer based on the placement of the right hind. The horse looks relaxed and happy in both pictures!!! gotta love Jr!!

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