Jean Luc Cornille

Analysis of lameness or movement and progress plan from Jean Luc Cornille, Science of Motion

Jean Luc is an FEI level trainer, instructor and international competitor and has medal winning expertise in dressage, show-jumping, three-day eventing, steeplechase and also work in hand.

Through years of research and experience, Jean Luc developed the Science of Motion, a new approach to lameness therapy, which, instead of treating the damage caused, begins by addressing the abnormalities in the characteristics of the horse’s motion that cause the pathological changes which lead to lameness in the first place. The approach has been used to successfully prevent and rehabilitate lameness, where other therapies have been ineffective, underlining the capacity of the horse’s physique to heal efficiently, so long as the source of the abnormal stress has been corrected.

Jean Luc Cornille has gained worldwide recognition by applying practical science to the training of the equine athlete and deeply understands how equine training can be enhanced by contemporary scientific research. A unique combination of riding skill, training experience and extensive knowledge of equine physiology enables Jean Luc to translate scientific insights into a language comprehensible to both horse and rider. This approach has been the trademark of his training.

The Science of Motion approach works based on the scientifically proven fact that the abnormality is there first and it is the repetition of abnormal kinematics that causes injury. By correcting the abnormality early enough, it is possible to prevent pathological changes. Likewise, once the damage has already altered the integrity of the muscle, ligament or bone structure, correcting the kinematic abnormality is imperative for recovery and soundness.

The Science of Motion approach has been successfully utilised to rehabilitate many different chronic disabilities including severe cases of navicular disease and kissing spines.

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Examples

Two short examples of what your report and progress plan will look like…

Example 1

We have published on the Kissing Spine Forum 3 a video that explains your horse’s problems. He is kind and protests gently. The canter is difficult for him, especially on the left rein. He travels bent to the left with a transversal rotation shifting the dorsal spines to the right. This is an inverted rotation. It is referred to as left rotation because the scientific world names the rotation by the direction faced by the lower part of the vertebral bodies. When the ventral part faces left, the the dorsal spine shifts right. This is probably the reason for the short stride of the left hind leg. As the spine is bent left, the left hind leg should be more forward, but due to the transversal rotation lifting the left hip, the hind leg impacts earlier. It would be good if you have x-rays of the thoracolumbar spine, to forward them to me.

The reaction at the canter suggests a problem in the caudal thoracic or lumbar area but the horse could be protecting the cranial thoracic and still react the same way. The horse carries too much weight on his front limbs and there are several adaptations that can create intermittent contact of the dorsal spine. Probably due to the rotation and consequently increased load on the left front leg, there is a small jerking of the right knee before the push off. The forelegs impact too far back and they vault the body from one foreleg over the other without propelling the body upward as it should be. There is probably a combination of problems that cause contact with the dorsal spines and pain reactions. The combination of inverted rotation and opposition of forces, with the forelegs braking more than pushing, would be the two points that I would place in priority for the rehabilitation.

In order to improve the horse’s balance you need to place your body in neutral balance. As on the video, your body weight is pushing the horse on the forehand. Our DVD, ‘The New Seat’ explains neutral balance in detail. You need to advance the axis of your pelvis forwards, between the forearms. In order to do that without arching the lumbar vertebrae, you need to limit the arching with your back and abdominal muscles and open your chest. There is too much contact on the lower part of your thigh, above the knees. This will hamper the proper placement of the pelvis. Try to transfer the contact to the upper thighs. The best way to learn is by teaching your horse to improve his balance, slowing the walk in response to the slight increase in muscle tone of your body achieved by opening the chest and advancing the pelvis forward. This demands practice as too much or too little tone, or changing the tone too fast will not work. When the horse slows down without using your hands you are doing it right. While you teach him proper coordination of his back muscles allowing him to slow down without pushing on the bit, you will probably have better success correcting the inverted rotation through the right shoulder in. You will have to find the angle where the where the horse will consider bending the thoracic vertebrae. He will resist at first because in order to bend he will have to change the rotation of his dorsal spines due to the inverted rotation as they are too far to the right. He will have to reduce the rotation. Proper rotation coupled with right lateral bending is a very little shift of the dorsal spines to the right. 

Practice at the walk. and when he feels soft and round, ask for the trot. He should gradually gain some spring in the trot. It is not going to be easy and will demand diligent practice. This is also only the beginning. When you start to feel some lift of the horse’s back, you will need to send another video for the continuation of his rehabilitation. Don’t be afraid of all the details that I explain at the beginning. It is through these precise observations that it is possible to isolate the root cause. All the problems can be resolved with proper education. Take your time and don’t be afraid to go very slowly. This is necessary at first. Once he understands how to properly coordinate his thoracolumbar spine you will be able to increase the forward motion. He is a horse protesting kindly and you will help him to become comfortable.

 

Example 2

Riding the collection improved after the first half pass. The intensity and frequency of the movements that you did yesterday need to be the norm. She reacts well when you challenge her. She started a little passive and you used adequate pressure, asking for better half passes and pirouettes. Then for example at 15.20 after the right half pass, she resists more balance but you can insist on dialogue in the tone of your body. Good back coordination at 17.20, but then she tries to push on the bit. The right pirouette is the right move. She still tries to put weight on the bit afterwards but with an intensity that you can control with your body. Then she tries a lot of lateral motion through the shoulders and croup and you recreate the corridor in a few strides. This is a good ride. She still is a little bit in escape mode but without yesterday’s intensity. The trot needed more balance but your decision to ask for the canter must have been because you felt it would create a better situation for the following trot. The canter was was good but the trot after still didn’t have enough balance and was big at the transition. 

The collection at the walk was good but she became tense at the trot departure. Then you did well as she gained balance and suspension. The trot was still a little fast, but you used half pass and it worked to regain suspension. With the movement that you have around 29.20, the search for more balance and slower motion can continue to improve. After the canter at 30.27 the trot improves in balance and suspension. The next canter was a rush and on the wrong lead. It took several strides at the trot to come back but is good at 31.42 and after. The left half pass starts well, but then got heavy before finishing well. The last half pass to the right is a good conversation about balance and variations of contact on the bit. This is a positive conversation. The balance improves with more power. The spring of the forelegs is coming back. It will be different than before the stiffening as it is now with more power. The slowing down of your lumbar vertebrae is going to be a great way to channel the power. The slower cadence is going to result from more suspension in the trot. Nice work. Very different from yesterday, but you adapted to the horse you had today very well. Bravo.