Understanding Posture In the Working Frame

January 16, 2019


Pronunciation of muscles

  • (Trapezius) tra·​pe·​zi·​us | \trə-ˈpē-zē-əs

  • (Longissimus) lon·​gis·​si·​mus | \län-ˈjis-i-məs

  • (Psoas) pso·​as | \ˈsō-əs (silent “P”)

  • (External Abdominal Oblique) ex·​ter·​nal | \ek-ˈstər-nᵊl \ab-dom-uh-nl | \ō-ˈblēk

  • (Transverse Abdominal) trans·​verse | \tran(t)s-ˈvərs

  • (Semimembranosus) semi·​mem·​bra·​no·​sus | \ ˌsem-ē-ˌmem-brə-ˈnō-səs

  • (Biceps Femoris) bi·​ceps | \ ˈbī-ˌseps

  • (Latissimus Dorsi) la·​tis·​si·​mus dor·​si | \ lə-ˈti-sə-məs-ˈdȯr-sī

  • (Quadriceps Femoris) quadriceps fem·​o·​ris | \ -ˈfem-ə-rəs

  • (Tensor Fasciae Latae) tensor fas·​ci·​ae la·​tae | \ -ˈfash-ē-ē-ˈlā-tē






As the horse gains strength he will naturally hold himself in a working posture. However, the rider or trainer must be well educated in identifying the differences between a horse who comes up due to muscular strength and a horse who holds himself in a hollow frame for lack of strength. The two can look similar when unaware of the slight changes made in the horse’s posture, way of moving and attitude towards his work.




One can only train one’s eye through repetitious observation of the working horse with knowledge of his musculoskeletal structures and biomechanics of his body. Without this constant learning, the rider or trainer will overlook the horse’s signals of proper movement for developing his muscles fully and fall into the error of developing the horse into something difficult or impossible to ride.


The working frame is not unlike the stretch (or training) frame. Where it differs most is in the force with which the horse must use his already developing top line and haunches muscles so the muscles can further develop properly and provide greater strength for rider support.






When the horse is ready to come up, signs such as a reduction of asymmetry in the body, visible muscular strength over the top line and a relaxed attitude towards his work confirm that the horse is ready to begin developing his working frame muscles. The horse then requires support from the rider’s careful fitting of the side reins to a surcingle or saddle to assist the horse in maintaining the working frame posture. This prevents the horse from returning to his hollow posture which at first feels easier to him. The side reins help him maintain the engagement of his muscles over his top line without a constant reminder from the trainer.


The design of the side reins is to provide the horse with the most consistent and careful rider contact without the error of a riders hands on the young horse’s mouth. This preserves the sensitive tissues in the horse’s mouth and provides the horse with a very accurate and consistent contact. It’s important to note that the side reins must be fitted properly without restricting the horse’s head to accomplish this otherwise the trainer will be training the horse precisely in the opposite way.




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