The Horse in Positive Tension

Harnessing Equine Kinetic Energy for Top Performance

Stefan Stammer



An illustrated study of the biomechanics of horse-and-rider movement like no other.

Everything you know about riding and the horse's movement isn't what you think it is! Did you know that:

  • On a functional level, traditional ways of teaching rider position and horse movement do not actually work with the biomechanical system that is horse and rider?
  • Use of the inside rein does not encourage the horse to bend to the inside?
  • Training exercises and lessons that claim to be simple cannot be as easily applied as it might seem?

In these pages, physical therapist and equine movement specialist Stefan Stammer uses a startlingly unique collection of color illustrations to make movement patterns in the horse visible to the human eye, in order to help riders better understand the principles of energy and motion happening within the horse. By forming new mental images for the rider, Stammer's goal is to profoundly impact the rider's daily work with her horse so that it is harder for her to make common mistakes or interfere with the horse's natural mechanisms.

With his hind end as his engine, the horse generates kinetic energy (the energy his body possesses due to its motion). For optimal movement and performance, this energy should flow through the horse's body to the horse's mouth, where it is fine-tuned with the rein aids before cycling back to the hind end. However, this movement flow is often unintentionally disrupted on its way through the horse by the rider. When, however, the cycle of kinetic energy within the horse is supported through the correct understanding and application of biomechanics—the mechanical laws relating to his and his rider's movement and structure—the outer shape of horse and rider together achieve “positive tension.” This is the rhythmic stimulation of all the neuromuscular functions necessary to perform harmoniously and at peak ability.

Most importantly, once the rider understands the basic principles of the biomechanics of a horse in movement, her “feeling” in the saddle will improve. Better “feel” is an integral building block for the small and subtle steps of progress, which should accompany a rider for her entire life with horses. This smart, fascinatingly composed book is for any horseperson looking to limit riding and training mistakes, grow an understanding of how the horse best functions, and optimize equineability and performance.

Additional Information

Author: Stefan Stammer

Format: Hardcover

Page Count: 192

Illustrations: 170 color photographs & 98 diagrams

ISBN: 9781646011292

By Stefan Stammer

Stefan Stammer focuses on the analysis of movement in both sport and pleasure horses, then applies physical therapy techniques suited to their individual requirements. He is trained in both human physical therapy, with early work based in rehabilitation centers that specialized in extended outpatient physical therapy for orthopedic diseases and sports injuries, and equine osteopathy. He has been working primarily with horses since 1999. Besides his clinical practice, Stammer is a popular speaker and has presented at numerous national and international events at prestigious venues that include the University of Veterinary Medicine in Zurich, Oregon State University, the DOKR (German Olympic Committee for Equestrianism), the FN (German National Equestrian Federation), the US Eventing Association, and the International Congress on Veterinary and Animal Sciences (ICVAS). He is actively developing physical therapy courses and programs in cooperation with veterinary clinics in Germany, Switzerland, and the United States, focusing on rehabilitation methods for horses.

Catskill Horse Magazine Says:

"Stammer does a brilliant job in this title of bringing a well-illustrated, well written and approachable means of understanding the topic of positive tension.... A must read for anyone that wants to do the best by their horse. I simply LOVE it."