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"Nervous tension, excitability, fear and unruliness distract him from appropriate training."
"Tense muscles can only be made soft through 'giving' (the reins), and not through force and 'taking' in with tighter reins or more collection."
"It is one of the most important tasks of good riding to avoid tension when training and when retraining, to encourage its release!"
"The constant focus on the horse's outline (round poll, round neck) contributes to a rider's mental and physical tenseness to maintain her horse's posture in this way."
"The large muscles of every young horse are strained when the horse is started under saddle as muscles tense in the effort to balance the unfamiliar weight of tack and rider: The body part that is directly loaded, the back, reacts with protective tensing, which affects the neck, the poll, and natural motion."
"Tight/tense back muscles increase the pull on ligaments and tendons; the horse's trunk stiffens as a result. A tense trunk increases the load on the legs, which can cause damage to them."
"It is obvious that horses in extreme hyperflexion (Rollkur) or a long, deep round posture (LDR) have a tight back and belly."
"...a tense back creates a tense abdomen with all the resultant issues."
"Forward riding has nothing to do with strength and squeezing legs or a continually tense rider's back."
"Dropping of the back behind the withers, or tightness in the lower neck region, builds up so much negative tension that the front legs fly out almost horizontally."
"It contradicts every principal of classical teachings that horses should receive the highest scores despite being obviously tense with a swishing tail, grinding teeth, open mouth, resistant facial expression, and exhibiting hover trot steps."
"The narrow line between positive tension and negative tension poses a challenge."
"There is a fundamental difference between 'made' expressiveness, which arises from tension, and natural expressiveness that arises from contentment, Rhythm, Suppleness and true Impulsion from the hind legs."
"Rhythm disturbances attributable to lameness issues are frequently caused by muscular tension in the poll, neck and trunk."
"When the rider pulls backward consistently, she starts pulling her stomach in, her legs go up, she squeezes with the thighs and then tenses her back."
"When the rider's back is tense, the horse's back is tense."
"A forceful pull against one or several muscle groups leads to the back tensing up."
"There is muscle tension as appropriate for the work, but it isn't constant: It is on/off according to the demand. This is 'positive' tension."
Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, Balancing Act
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"...a tense rider squeezing with her thighs cannot create a loosening effect in her horse — regardless of the exercise!"
"The haunches can only flex when the back of the horse is supple and through. A horse that is too young and not horizontally balanced, or a tense horse in retraining to resolve a tight back, is not able to bend his haunches in this way."
"Physical and psychological tension in the rider always leads to tension in the horse."
"...when poor riding causes the horse's body to tighten, the flight animal will always respond with psychological tension."
"The nervous tension in the horse grows as the physical tension increases in rider and horse."
"High negative tension in the upper muscle chain hinders the bending of the haunches."
"Tension that has long manifested in the poll and back of a horse can reduce the suitability of this animal to zero for an average rider. The well-trained horse distinguishes himself in that he can be ridden without a problem by anyone."
"...anyone who has experienced lower back pain understands the painful tension that results."
"Tension is the enemy of every sport! Tension affects health and also adversely affects harmony and aesthetics in riding."
"Whether it is liberty work or mounted, the essential element for both is that there should be no tension."
"When there is tension during an exercise, repetition only repeats the negative quality, which is then reinforced."
"If a muscle has tension then the horse will inevitably develop 'short' muscles....Horses with short muscles can have frequent physical problems and suffer from niggling complaints."
"Horses working in tension do not develop harmonious muscles."
"...when I am in the saddle I can feel the slightest tension in almost any muscle in the horse's body."