Bluebird Lane Blog
Bluebird Lane Blog

Rider Biomechanics Clinic with Russell Guire

by Lori Albrough

Russell with Lori and Ooruk

Russell with Lori and Ooruk

I must say, we are really lucky to live in this area where we can take advantage of so many opportunities to train, learn, and improve!

I just came back from riding in a clinic with Russell Guire of Centaur Biomechanics. It was held at Whitaker Stables near Orangeville, Ontario.

Russell has an interesting and impressive background. After graduating from Equine Sport Science at University in England, Russell started his own company which focuses on the biomechanics of the performance horse and rider.

Warming up in the Visualise jacket

Warming up in the Visualise jacket

Russell has been involved with a lot of advanced scientific research into improving the performance of equine athletes, including Great Britain’s Gold Medal Dressage Team. Russell is also the designer of Visualise Sportswear, a line of jackets which allow you and your trainer to see and correct problems and weaknesses in your position.

Ooruk and I started off with a short warm-up during the last fifteen minutes of the previous rider’s lesson. Then Russell asked me about my horse and my goals with him, what I saw as our weaknesses, and what I would like to wave a magic wand at and have fixed. 🙂 The Visualise jacket was there to show the alignment of my position relative to the horse, and to assist with this, Russell fixed white dots onto the middle of the back of the saddle and Ooruk’s croup.

Alignment stripes and dots

Alignment stripes, and the dots on Mr. Big Bum
(I’m very proud of how his muscling is developing)

We then immediately dove in to our lesson with riding canter half-passes left and right while Russell videoed us with the high-speed camera. This camera shoots 300 frames per second, versus a normal video camera which does 60 frames per second. As as result it captures every nuance and shows it to you in slow motion, and afterwards we all headed over to the big computer screens set up in the corner, to watch and analyze what we were seeing.

Then it was back out for more exercises, video them, analyze, and repeat. There was an audience of auditors, to whom I was pleased to be able to show the capabilities of a well-trained Fjordhorse.

Russell gave me fine-tuning tips related to the carriage of my horse and the way in which I needed to have him react to my aids. In one way it was all a rephrasing of what my regular coach and clinician have been saying, but in slightly different words and from a slightly different perspective with slightly different exercises. So although the magic wand never exactly waved for me, it was all quite helpful once I had processed it through in my head.

Click on any image in the gallery to see it larger.

Here’s a video clip showing the output of the high speed camera. The three and a half minute clip was about 45 seconds in real time, and shows us doing a canter-trot transition on the 20 m circle as we check my alignment and the effectiveness of my aids on the horse’s way of going.

I am keen to put my new knowledge into action, and to carry on my training with some new ideas. I also love my Visualise jacket! Thank you to the clinic host for making us welcome, and the organizer Allison Pezzack for making this opportunity available!


7 Responses to “Rider Biomechanics Clinic with Russell Guire”

  1. Inge Burr wrote:

    Beautiful Lori, it´s amazing to see what your efforts and your love did to Ooruk to make him such a wonderful (and happy) horse.


  2. Lori Albrough wrote:

    Thanks Inge!

  3. allison pezzack wrote:

    It was great to meet you and the lovely Ooruk. He is beautiful and I am pleased to here that enjoyed your session with Russell!

  4. Brandon Hall wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your Russell Guire experience with us. I can now better relay Russell’s teachings/research to the staff at the O.E.F. office.

    You are an exceptional rider and Ooruk is a great example of how the Fjordhorse can be a great performance athlete!

  5. Karen Boba wrote:

    Thanks for sharing the information and video. I live in an area of NYS where Dressage is not very common so I go on-line for all the extra info. I can get. Ooruk is simply beautiful. What a tribute to what Fjords can accomplish in this discipline.

    One question, do you recommend any particular brand or type of saddle? I’m having a difficult time finding something for my short backed Fjord.

  6. Lori Albrough wrote:

    Thanks Karen! I think most important is to work with a trusted saddle fitter – as opposed to a saddle salesperson. A fitter can ensure the saddle is correct for the horse’s conformation, because as you say the Fjord can have a short saddle support area as well as wide shoulders.

  7. Elsie Johnson wrote:

    You are good at horse riding Lori. But I’ll really appreciate it if you share the tips that Russel gave you related to the carriage of horses.

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