Thursday, December 19, 2013

Book Announcement: Jean-Marie Denoix's Biomechanics and Physical Training of the Horse Published December 2013

Stop the world, Jean-Marie Denoix's new book is out. The first advance copies of Biomechanics and Physical Training of the Horse by Professor Jean-Marie Denoix are hitting US shores. The official publication date was December 30, 2013.

Biomechanics and Physical Training of the Horse is an expansion of Professor Denoix's landmark earlier and highly recommended earlier textbook, Physical Therapy and Massage for the Horse. The production has been upgraded to a full color format and the author's trademark illustrations are supplemented by copious photographs of leading French equestrians caught in sometimes less than graceful segments of strides, lateral movements, and jumps.

How shoes get "lost": It all happens so quickly that we can't see these graceless moments when a show jumper lands, but the close contact between front and hind limbs is all part of the coordinated sequence of foot landing patterns.
Think: the photos that professional photographers instantly delete from their cameras. Those off-balance moments when it looks like the legs are tangled, shoes are being stepped on and pulled off, and horses just might topple over. Denoix is attempting to show the relationship of front and hind limbs on the takeoff and landing from jumps and kinesiological analysis of the lateral movements of dressage.

As only Professor Denoix can, he labels in a single snapshot which tendons and joins are under compression or extension or weightbearing or protraction or rotation. When is there propulsion, adduction, abduction? If words like these sound like a biomechanics soup to you, this book could be the transition point that sorts it all out for you.

One point to make: I believe that Professor Denoix left out the word "sport" from the title. This book applies strictly to FEI-type sport horses, i.e. dressage and jumping horses. This makes a lot of sense, since the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games will be held near his CIRALE equine imaging clinic in Normandy.

For now, racehorses, driving horses, western horses and other sports will have to be in the back seat. Of course, many of the principles described can be overlaid over sports but the examples are strictly sport horses.

A quick sketch by Professor Denoix, who is a talented artist, demonstrates the role of the hind limb's muscle groups in the phases of landing from a jump.

Nor is this a "foot" book, although the foot does certainly figure into the biomechanics and Professor Denoix is a leading expert on the biomechanics of the foot. However, in this book he speaks of the biomechanics of the horse as it relates to a compulsory movement in sport. The foot is discussed in terms of weightbearing or where it is during a phase of a stride or what sort of compression the distal interphalangeal joint (coffin joint) might be under. The foot is only separated from the limb when there are specific stresses upon it or when the position of the foot in a phase of the stride is relevant.

Professor Denoix gives considerable space to discussing asymmetrical loading of the foot during lateral movements in dressage and, of course, explains the combination of pressures that might lead to collateral ligament injuries in dressage horses. He stresses the importance of warmup for the collateral ligaments before riders attempt movements like the canter pirouette, which combines asymmetric loading with rotational movement.
Those awkward shots that make photographers cringe show limb timing and landing patterns after a jump. Denoix carefully explains how the neck and back work on landing, as well as the front and hind trailing and leading limbs.

Specifications: Hardcover (laminated) approximate 8x11"; 192 pages; 270 color illustrations, photos and diagrams; indexed

Ordering Information: Phone 978 281 3222 or email (, or direct order via PayPal. Mail orders with checks or money orders in US dollars drawn on US banks to Hoofcare Publishing, 19 Harbor Loop, Gloucester, MA 01930.

Price: US $47.95 plus $6 post in USA, $20 to Canada, $25 post elsewhere. US orders shipped via USPS Priority Mail. Foreign orders shipped via International Priority Mail (estimated 6-10 days).

Just click on the drop-down menu to choose your shipping destination (USA, Canada, or elsewhere) so the correct postage will be calculated. Then click "buy bow" and a PayPal page will open with the correct information.

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