Continuing along the theme of mobilizing the ribs of the horse, we will discuss how using the Driving Game from Zone 3 can help to improve spinal mobility. This exercise is very similar to the exercise I covered in the previous segment. For the sake of redundancy, I will not be re-covering that material. You can refer back to the previous article “Freeing Up The Horse’s Ribs – Thoracic Mobility” for an expanded explanation of this particular topic.
As with the previous exercise for freeing up the ribs to improve spinal mobility, it can be used to improve both vertical and lateral flexion in the horse, strengthening the topline and increasing flexibility in the pelvis and hind limbs. The main difference between what this exercise accomplishes compared to the Sideways Game from Zone 1 exercise is that we are asking the horse to use its front end a little bit more by directing our energy toward Zone 3. In the previous exercise we discouraged forward travel by being in Zone 1 and focused the energy laterally. By moving to Zone 3, we encourage forward travel in addition to the lateral movement, creating a kind of traveling spiral outward. As we change the direction of travel we are not only asking the horse to stretch through the ribcage and pelvis, we are also asking the horse to reach farther across with the shoulder, foreleg and engage the pectoral muscles. This exercise provides the horse with a wide range of stretches to include abduction on the inside forelimb, adduction on the outside forelimb, and bilateral extension in addition to the benefits to the pelvis and topline which we discussed in the previous segment.
In the video segment below, 4-Star Parelli Natural Horsemanship Senior Instructor Christi Rains demonstrates how to drive your horse from Zone 3 on-line with her young National Show Horse “Sonny”. Christi has been a Parelli Natural Horsemanship Instructor since 1997 and offers natural horsemanship clinics at her ranch on the Brazos River near Glen Rose, Texas.
Lisa Carter is a Certified Equine Massage Therapist (CEMT), with multiple certifications from several different equine bodywork schools. She incorporates her knowledge and experience with Parelli Natural Horsemanship, equine bodywork and as a veterinary technician to provide her clients with the resources they need to make informed decisions for their horses. She encourages and facilitates network building between equine health care professionals, working together to find the best combination of therapies to meet the needs of the “whole horse”.
Are you ready to get better results with your horse? Put your equine health care team to work so you and your horse can be doing what you were meant to. Click here to get started!