The Athletic Rider: Farrier Fitness, Part III

Hoof care professionals have incredibly demanding jobs, requiring the physicality of weightlifters, the skill of craftsmen and the patience of saints. All that hard work takes its toll and is the focus of a new series by equestrian personal trainer Leah Hinnefeld.

If you missed Part I and Part II, be sure to check each out for an overview of the series and a discussion on one of the most common postural distortions, Pronation Distortion Syndrome. The second of the three most common postural distortions is Lower Crossed Syndrome, easily identified by an arched lower back. Lower crossed syndrome is commonly caused from tight hip flexors and weak hip extensors. The reason the syndrome has become so common in the majority of the population is because most people spend a lot of timing sitting at a desk or in a chair. 

Low back pain, hamstring strain and achy knees are just a few of the issues that can result from Lower Crossed Syndrome that remains unaddressed.


In HCPs, sitting is of course not the common cause of the syndrome-however the traditional farrier stance with a semi-squatted position is certainly a contributor. In a traditional farrier stance, the HCP will have a closed hip position. If he or she does not have sufficient core strength to hold a flat back position, the distortion will be present. Most people think that weak back muscles are the cause of low back pain. In fact an arch in the low back (without resulting pain) can be the result of tight quadriceps, tight hip flexors or a tight erector spinae (a group of muscles that extends the vertebral column) combined with a weak core (specifically the internal obliques).


The 3 part solution to correcting the distortion, improving correct joint function and reducing the risk of injury and the accompanying pain is to foam roll to release muscle adhesions, stretch to restore muscular balance and strengthen to prevent future imbalances.


If you would be interested in an individual postural assessment (via Skype or YouTube) with an accompanying flexibility program that you can use daily (especially before and after the work day), please contact The Athletic Rider for pricing information and instructions for your assessment. 

*postural distortion image courtesy of Clark, Michael A., Sutton, Brian G., Lucett, Scott C., NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, 4th Ed., 2014. Jones & Bartless Learning. p. 134-136.

Leah Hinnefeld is a lifelong equestrian who spent over a decade studying hoof health and metabolism in horses before turning her attention to rider fitness. Leah is a personal trainer certified by the National Academy of Sports Fitness and offers Virtual Fitness Training for riders and horse lovers. You can learn more about how to get fit to ride at Please contact Leah if you are interested in learning more about the Rider Fitness Boot Camps offered by The Athletic Rider.


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