How to optimize horses straightness, balance and performance… A symposium with Manolo Mendez and Dr. Ridgway!

Journal N°13 -
A unique two-day Symposium featuring Dr. Kerry Ridgway & Manolo Mendez, Dressage Expert will take place on Saturday and Sunday, July 4th & 5th, 2015 in Germany. It has been developed specifically for veterinarians, osteopaths, bodyworkers, and other equine wellness professionals, trainers and interested amateur riders and horse owners. It is designed to optimize horse straightness, balance & performance through fascia retraining and postural réhabilitation.

Equine Integrative Medicine and Training for WellnessTM Based Assessment. Rehabilitation and Training Strategies for Crooked, Uneven & Restricted horses. The symposium is optimized to :

Dr. Ridgway showing the acupressure zone. © Dr. Ridgway and Manolo Mendez 2013
The audience will learn the importance of assessing horses statically and dynamically to develop a “whole horse” perspective of equine issues

The audience will gain an understanding of how to assess horses and develop a better understanding of how to straighten and rebalance hors- es using Integrative Medicine in tandem with in-hand and ridden Train- ing for WellnessTM corrective work.

Particular attention will be paid to the equine fascial, CNS and muscu- loskeletal systems, three systems often overlooked in the well being of the horse.

Dr. Kerry Ridgway will Dr. Ridgway will demonstrate and explain his evaluation procès.
© Dr. Ridgway and Manolo Mendez 2013

Dr. Ridgway will demonstrate and explain his evaluation process and the unique acupoints diagnostic and treatment protocol he has devel- oped to treat musculoskeletal pain and ulcers, as well as the advanced soft tissue mobilization techniques he uses to investigate musculoskele- tal issues on horses, especially the performance horse.

Dressage and Training for TM expert Manolo Mendez will demonstrate his whole body check-up process and in-hand, hands-on and ridden re- habilitation techniques. Dr. Ridgway and Mr. Mendez will collaborate throughout the symposium, examining horses together and consulting with one another to offer a much needed, blended veterinary and training perspective on horses health.
The audience will learn the importance of assessing horses statically and dynamically to develop a “whole horse” perspective of equine issues.

When the Symposium concludes, audience members should be able to:

The Symposium will be divided between:

Who should attend?

This symposium is designed for equine wellness professionals such as veterinarians, osteopaths, acupuncturists, vet techs, farriers and massage practitioners, trainers, riders and horse owners interested in:? ?

Why should you come?

Every horse is born with a degree of laterality, which can be lessened or worsened through training and management. Crooked, asymmetric, and uneven are also terms used to describe laterality. The consequences of uncorrected crookedness include impaired performance, lameness, training and behavioral issues.

Dressage and training expert Manolo Mendez and Dr. Ridgway working together.
© Dr. Ridgway and Manolo Mendez 2013

Most of the musculoskeletal issues (including lameness) that veterinari- ans treat every day in their practice have their roots in the issue of crookedness. From a training standpoint, crookedness unaddressed, leads to horses with un-pure gaits, straightness, suppleness, bend and balance issues. This can translate into lowered performance and career- interrupting or ending lamenesses.

Most hoof growth patterns and asymmetric heel height patterns that are seen daily by farriers result from a specific forelimb dominance.

The muscle patterns seen by equine bodyworkers are over 90 percent related to crookedness. Many performance issues seen by trainers are related to unidentified and unaddressed laterality. In short, anybody dealing with horses will benefit from understanding laterality.

A beautiful picture of Manolo Mendez perforing in-hand work. © Dr. Ridgway and Manolo Mendez 2013

Without understanding the causes and biomechanics of asymmetric heel heights that are a serious compromise to the long term use and sound- ness of the horse, the problem will likely not be addressed. Veterinarians will only treat the symptoms and consequences.
The inherent biomechanics of the natural horse are created and con- trolled by fascia. This symposium will demonstrate the techniques of re- training fascia to achieve the biomechanics necessary for the ridden horse. Fascia learns! It is all about postural rehabilitation.

Through understanding the causes and biomechanics, equine wellness professionals, owners, trainers and farriers can work as a TEAM to cor- rect, or at the very least, manage the condition to keep the horses more comfortable and sound.

Lectures : Dr. Ridgway? ?

Laterality: The Crooked Horse Syndrome

An examination and explanation of the biomechanics of the “natural horse” and how the biomechanics must be changed for the horse that is to be ridden. Dr. Ridgway will discuss show how “laterality,” i.e. right or left forelimb dominance is the source of the “crooked horse syndrome.” The human biped (right or left “handed”) will be contrasted with the forelimb dominance of the quadruped horse. The examination will show the owner/trainer/veterinarian can identify the dominance and the asso- ciated problems.

The Causes and Biomechanics of Asymmetric Heel Heights

Any horse with a high/low heel problem is by definition a crooked horse and his performance and soundness will be compromised. Over 70 per- cent of horses show front foot heel height asymmetry. The most common cause is associated with laterality, but this is not the only source. This course will cover both causes and correction.
Asymmetry changes joint angles from the ground up, causing a marked asymmetry of the shoulder and muscles behind the shoulder. This results in serious problems with saddle fit and the ability of the rider to sit straight and properly in the saddle.


Evaluations : Dr. Ridgway & Manolo Mendez

Practical Equine Locomotion Evaluations and Equine Musculoskeletal Evaluation Techniques

Using chalk and dots, Dr. Ridgway and Manolo Mendez will demonstrate how to evaluate horses gaits for symmetry, regularity, scope and straightness. At a halt and in movement, particular attention will be placed on healthy diagonal pairing, whole body placement, head and tail position, and how the pectoral and gluteus muscles move in contrast to one another and more. Horses will be evaluated in-hand at walk, trot and canter.

In addition, Dr. Ridgway and Mr. Mendez will demonstrate how to eval- uate horses for laterality patterns (crookedness & unevenness) from a musculoskeletal perspective and how to “scan” horses bodies for exist- ing and future issues, paying special attention to how to recognize irreg- ular hoof alignment, detrimental postures, poor or good neck, back, and croup muscle development, tone and shape, coat texture and patterns and more.

Using the six case horses, Dr. Ridgway and Mr. Mendez will demonstrate how to:

  • Identify key bony and muscular landmarks, and discuss the impor- tance of each landmark
  • Recognize healthy muscle tonus and discuss why tonus matters.
  • Compare and contrast both halves of the horse, defining and demon-strating symmetry and explaining why it matters.
  • Execute range-of-motion exercises and help the audience evaluate horses strong and weak points in order to develop a muscular rebalanc- ing and straightening training program accordingly.
  • Use in-hand or ridden exercises designed to straighten and rebalance horses according to their specific needs.

Dr. Ridgway will review acupoints indicating musculo- skeletal issues and cover:

  • Theory of acupoints for assessment Contraindications (and common sense)
  • Related pathologies of thoracolumbar region/pelvis
  • Related pathologies of the cervical region
  • Related pathologies of the forelimb and the hindlimb

Gait Assessments in regards to clinical reasoning and applications Soft tissue techniques used by both Dr. Ridgway and Manolo Mendez to address musculoskeletal, CNS and fascial issues include:

  • Massage techniques
  • Myofascial techniques
  • Soft tissue mobilization and releases
  • Range of motion exercises targeting regions of the spine, pelvis and limbs !


Kerry J. Ridgway, DVM? ?

Dr. Ridgway is a US based “Integrative Medicine” specialized veterinar- ian, competitor, author, judge, and instructor who lectures around the world teaching veterinarians, trainers, and riders about issues that com- promise equine health such as laterality, high and low heel syndrome and ulcers. Dr. Ridgway’s “whole horse health” approach marries con- ventional medicine and alternative treatment modalities such as acu- puncture, chiropractic, hoof care, saddle fit, kinesiology, neuromuscular and myofascial therapies, as well as dental health and nutrition.

Most recently Dr. Ridgway contributed chapters to Pete Ramey’s new book “Care and Rehabilitation of the Equine Foot,” and has in his pro- fessional work, not only adapted principles developed by Klaus Schone- ich, author of “Correct Movement in Horses”, but also researched fur- ther into the root and consequences of laterality. ? ?

In 1990, Dr. Ridgway was elected to the Endurance Hall of Fame for his contributions to the sport, and for his development of the \"Cardiac Re- covery Index,” a standard adopted internationally. He became the first approved FEI Judge when the sport of endurance riding was officially recognized as a discipline by the FEI. ? ?

Dr. Ridgway is also a founding member of the \"International Association for Equine Sports Medicine,\" and served many years as the chairman of the American Veterinarian Advisory Committee for the American En- durance Ride Conference.
Dr. Ridgway is also the author of two DVDs on Saddle Fitting and Ulcer identification and treatment through acupressure. For more information visit:

Manolo Mendez

At 18, Manolo Mendez was one of six founding members of the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art and its very first Head Rider, work- ing closely with School Director Don Domecq. Based in Jerez, Spain, the school is one of the four classical schools of riding, which include the Cadre Noir in Saumur, the Spanish Riding School in Vienna and the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art in Lisbon.

An expert horseman with over forty years of experience spanning classi- cal dressage, Doma Vaquera and jumping, Manolo Mendez is consid- ered one of the world’s leading expert on piaffe, passage and pirouettes. However, it is not this facility with the 3Ps that sets Manolo apart but his ability to rehabilitate horses.

Always a considerate rider and trainer, Manolo became increasingly passionate about the intersection of equine soundness, wellbeing, wel- fare and training in the early seventies and began experimenting with bodywork, in-hand and riding to develop, enhance or repair the horses that were entrusted to him.

To this day, Manolo uses his custom three prong approach daily. He will dismount and use in-hand or bodywork to unblock a horse or facilitate its learning. His work is characterized by an ability to inspire trust and confidence in horses, feel and create spinal alignment - including under saddle - and create and restore rhythm, balance and straightness. One could say Manolo works within what Dr. Bennett calls “the envelop of release” and what Dr. Denoix speaks off when he notes the relationship between muscular tonus and emotional equilibrium.

\"The horse\'s muscles provide the earliest indications of anxiety. Muscular tonus is closely involved with variations in its psychological state.
It is important to recognize that emotional equilibrium is as vital to op- timum sporting performance as the physiological readiness of the under- lying mechanical structures, which will not perform on command unless the horse is comfortable and confident.\"

~ Denoix & Pailloux, Physical Therapy and Massage for the Horse

In all his work, Manolo is dedicated to a soft, sympathetic and thorough training method, which prepares horses physically and psychologically for each stage of training, from Training Level to Grand Prix. He uses the same approach while working with horses from every discipline includ- ing western, jumping, eventing, working equitation, hacking and even... driving.

Over the years, Manolo has become sought after by riders, veterinarians, chiropractors and other equine wellness practitioners for his holistic ap- proach to training, developing and rehabbing horses, which incorpo- rates his unique brand of bodywork, in-hand work and riding.

Equine Integrative Medicine and Training for WellnessTM Based Assessment, ! Rehabilitation and Training Strategies for Crooked, Uneven & Restricted horses.

Featuring Dr. Kerry Ridgway & Manolo Mendez, Dressage Expert! \"?
Saturday and Sunday, July 4th & 5th, 2015? Haupt-und Landesgestüt Schwaiganger? Schwaiganger 1, 82441 Ohlsatdt, Germany

For more information visit:
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