Table of Contents

Table of Contents for “The Science of Riding with Feel: Horse Biomechanics and You”

A brief summary of each chapter is available here.

All material on this page, with the exception of the figure, is Copyright 2014 Dawn Hill Adams, Ph.D. and Jo Belasco, Esq. Understanding the Horse LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Copyright information for each figure shown here is provided through the full citations at the bottom of the page. The images should not be reproduced without crediting the original authors and publications in full.

5.2 measurements

Full citations for these images, which are from research publications, are at the bottom of the page. These illustrations exemplify ones that we will need to secure permissions to reproduce, possibly paying royalties.

Chapter 1. The Gravity of a Horse’s Situation: The importance of gravity to how a horse stands and moves; the relationship between gravity and “lightness” in a horse

Chapter 2. Resistance is Vital: How joints and muscles provide motion and support at the same time; the powerful sensitivity of muscles and bones; balance and lead changes

Chapter 3. The Rise and Fall of the Gallop: The extreme speed and endurance of horses; how horses run; gait footfall patterns; experiential knowledge of motion and feel

Chapter 4. Getting a Lift: The importance of simple machines within living bodies;  how a horse supports itself while it’s moving; down transitions, self-carriage, and impulsion

Chapter 5. Putting a Foot Down: How hard a horse’s foot hits the ground at different gaits; the tendons and ligaments that protect the foot and lower leg from impact damage; the biomechanics of “softness” and “suppleness”

Chapter 6. A Change of Pace: How gaits are classified; the role of the nervous system in gaits; the biological reasons why horses change gaits; what happens when a rider takes control of a horse’s gait transitions

Chapter 7. Collected Works: The biomechanics and biology of the two major types of collection; types of “false collection” and why they don’t make a horse lighter or more responsive; how to tell whether a horse is collected or not, in either system

Chapter 8. Bone Deep: Bone as living tissue that responds to the environment by changing its shape and structure; the consequences of use, training methods, and inheritance on the soundness of a horse’s back, legs, and feet

Chapter 9. The Poetry of Motion: How to use your understanding of horse biomechanics to free both you and your horse; how to look at horses with new eyes


This mock-up illustration from the Workbook shows you how to mark a photograph of you and your horse so you can more easily see how your horse is standing and moving. Once you understand what’s going on, it’s easier to feel it.

There will also be a free companion Workbook to “The Science of Riding with Feel: Horse Biomechanics and You.” Feel involves the rider’s body and the horse’s movement. Exercises keyed to each chapter of the book help develop better motion in your horse, perception in yourself, and communication between the two of you. Instructions on how to record and measure your horse’s movements allow you to better understand what is happening when you ride.  This Workbook will be available online as a PDF for FREE download once the main book is published, with additional online videos posted to support and clarify the text and images.





Citation informaton for the images shown in the figure on this page: The group of three images at the top is from Henry Chateau et al. 2009. Design and validation of a dynamometric horseshoe for the measurement of three-dimensional ground reaction force on a moving horse. Journal of Biomechanics 42:336-340. Bottom left is from T. H. Witte et al. 2004. Determination of peak vertical ground reaction force from duty factor in the horse (Equus caballus). The Journal of Experimental Biology 207:3639-3648. Bottom right is from K.J. Parsons et al. 2008. High-speed gallop locomotion in the Thoroughbred racehorse. I. The effect of incline on stride parameters. The Journal of Experimental Biology 211:935-944.