Breeds and Disciplines: Overview Copy
Horses have evolved to do two things well — eat and run. Man saw in horses the ability to do so much more—to carry the rider, to bear packs, to pull transport and provide companionship. We admire them for their nobility, their swiftness and their beauty.
Out of our admiration, we have developed specific ways to measure their talents, such as jumping, racing or showing. We talk about these activities as different disciplines and select horses based on their suitability. We breed those horses that excel in a specific activity or to obtain a particular appearance, and the result is a variety of breeds. On the following pages, we will briefly describe just a few of these disciplines and the breeds typically represented within them. We examine each discipline in greater depth in LEVEL 200.
As a massage therapist, it is important to be able to evaluate a horse in terms of the task he is being asked to do. If the breeding is inappropriate for his discipline, our massage may alleviate some of his discomfort but, it will not make him more suitable for the task. Likewise, to help optimize the performance of a horse well suited to his discipline, the massage therapist must know as much as possible about the discipline and its demands on the anatomy.
As a professional, you may wish to choose an area of concentration for your practice. At the lower levels of competition and in the case of pleasure mounts, there is a broader range of acceptable conformation types. At the highest level of competition, however, the horse must use every advantage possible to succeed, and the therapist working at this level must understand thoroughly how to access the full potential of that body. In addition, within each discipline, common patterns of tension arise. Knowledge of the discipline and these patterns can help the practitioner formulate an appropriate plan.