Saturday, January 9, 2016

Riding in Posture vs Frame

One of the most common, and in my opinion cringe-worthy, phrases in the horse world is to "frame up your horse." This phrase, unfortunately brings to mind (at least to my mind) a horse in restricted carriage. When I think of framing a horse, I picture draw reins, cranked flash nosebands and lots of tension.

If you were simply given the word "frame" out of context, what would first come to mind? Most people would say a picture frame. Four solid sides, bordering a picture or piece of art. The purpose of a frame is to provide a static border in which to put something.

In fact, the word's official definition is:

frame
frām/
noun
  1. 1.
    a rigid structure that surrounds or encloses something such as a door or window.

    "a picture frame"
  2. 2.
    a basic structure that underlies or supports a system, concept, or text.
    "the establishment of conditions provides a frame for interpretation"



True, the second definition implies a conceptual structure, but even in this definition there is still a feeling of stationary placement - a lack of movement.

I propose that we begin to use the word "posture" instead of frame. I recently read a facebook post about how posture is not a static thing, regardless of if you're speaking of humans or horses. The word "posture" actually encompasses the body's mechanical ability to produce balance and stability.  

Posture is a dynamic.

When a horse is in a "correct posture" the phrase reflects lifting abdominals, stabilized spine, suppleness in the poll, et cetera. Conversely, you can use the description "slouching posture" or "hollow posture" to describe a horse who is resisting, under educated, or not using their core effectively. Either way, you are allowing the phrase to describe the engagement and balance of the horse's body, not the "shape" as you would imply with the word "frame."

Posture relates directly to the body's ability to maintain tone and flexibility in correct amounts to produce a biomechanically sound dynamic between the various parts of the horse's body. 

So how about it, horse world? Can we ditch the restrictive phrasing and introduce something more likely to invoke thoughts of swinging gaits and balance? 

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Can anyone else think of words that we could change to add empathy and flow to our equestrian language? 

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