I wonder, from the bio mechanics point of view, what is stressed more in upper level work, aka collection and canter pirouettes , the stifle or the hock?
I wonder, if let’s say a horse was of course not ready for collection/canter pirouettes, if one could “test” for this, by conditioning the horse first, and then teaching it piaffe in hand? In other words, if a horse could sit in piaffe and not come up sore and not have the stifles pop out, would that be a future harbinger for being able to hold up in future higher level demands?
The issue it would seem to me though is the circles, and small circles in canter. The circles are where it seems the stress is the most that brings out the stifle sticking, or slipping, as perhaps the more the joint is asked to support horse in a small radius, the more out it is likely to slip.
I doubt we’ll ever reach upper levels but I am encouraged from this thread to talk to my vet about the blistering. My horse has the most trouble holding a circle at canter, and the stifle literally slips out and he feels like he is falling down behind…he never ever fell, is very agile on his feet, but it understandably makes both him and me reluctant to do smaller or even 20 m canter circles and no way to escape that in dressage.
It is not popular in this country to teach advanced moves out of order, but in Spain and Portugal they teach even young horses to piaffe and passage. I wonder if teaching that in hand at least and then perhaps under saddle would strengthen the stifle joint, aka get the horse accustomed to sitting before the stress of asking to sit in collected canter circles?
A bit of a rambling post, but one has to look at how these horses are managed that might be different from others. I totally agree that daily work makes a huge difference and long trot sets and trail work helps…mine is on Adequan and the MSM seems make a difference as well.