Basic Biomechanics: Understanding Horse Movement


This is a beginning course in equine biomechanics, understanding how horses move.  The textbooks present information on the gaits of horses, the gaits unique to different breeds, as well as information on how the rider impacts the movement of the horse and what we can do to help the horse carry us in a manner that is healthy for its body.

Basic Biomechanics Courses Syllabus

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Biomechanics is the study of the mechanics of a living body and the forces exerted by muscles and gravity on the skeletal structure.  In horses this can get very technical and is often a study in physics heavily laden with mathematical formulas and force diagrams.

This introductory course focuses not on the physics of movement, but on developing a proper understanding of the muscular actions that produce movement, the gaits of the horse, and how movement in the horse is affected both positively and negatively by its development program.

The textbooks for this course are Horse Gaits, Balance, and Movement by Susan Harris and Muscles in Motion by Sara Wyche, both of whom are considered experts in their fields.  There are additional online written resources and videos that bring a greater depth of understanding to help integrate written materials with visual helps.

Videos include the normal gaits of the horse so the student can learn the patterns of footfalls for each gait, in both gaited and ungaited horses.  Additional videos include a look at the traveling pattern of horses with conformation challenges in the lower limbs and differing lameness conditions.

Required Books:

  • Horse Gaits, Balance, and Movement. Susan Harris
  • The Horse’s Muscles in Motion. Sara Wyche