It’s 7th day since Falcao’s arrival. On the 31st of December 2017 we brought home 7yo stallion, who joined OneHorseLife gang for trainings.
Looking at Falcao, one could recognize most of the problems caused by anxiety, stress, improper diet, discomfort, and too quick training: under the saddle he did not lengthen the frame, did not seek the bit, worked in a behind the vertical position, with artificially shortened frame & tensed back. Instead of lengthening the steps – he was quickening them, had no idea about moving within his natural rhythm, and the lunging meant running away scared with the speed of the light… (the list could continue)
Falcao’s general condition was also expressed through the shape of his body. From big details, like:
– tensed body,
– enlarged parotid glands area,
– skin very tightly attached to the body,
– tensed muscles that did not bounce & felt like play-doh in plastic bags…
Down to the subtle ones, like:
– the shape of the eye-lids above his eyes,
– size of the poo,
– smell of his skin,
– condition of the hair and skin, etc.
Now, I know that analyzing emotional condition of horses is something very HOT right now, and this is very good. However, from my practice & when I teach, I see that MOST of the facial and body expressions of horses do not relate to the actual emotional states as we understand them as humans, but to the physical condition of the horse’s body.
Let me illustrate it with the below example:
When Falcao came to me, we could say that his wrinkled eyes say that he was concerned, sad, disturbed, etc. And we could easily stick with it, trying to MAKE HIM HAPPIER by “cheering him up”: putting the whip aside, not using spurs, building up connection, giving him a lot of time to un-stress, etc.
This would not work, or would work only to some level, as the expressions of his body were pointing towards his health.
After having the teeth done, removing the shoes, and change of his environment to the one that promotes Calmness more effectively, you can see how his body expressions changed. This includes his openness, how he is affectionate & responsive to humans, and one would say how he’s intelligent (or as much he now “appears” as intelligent, because he was intelligent always – it’s just hard to focus on showing off your intelligence, character and humor, when you are in the physical pain!)
For me this is very important message that I wish to pass to all of you:
DO NOT NEGLECT YOUR HORSE’S HEALTH ‼️
– Regularly take care of the teeth,
– Regularly take care of the hooves,
– Take care of your horse’s diet,
– Make sure your horse moves as much as possible,
– Consult with body-work specialist whenever you see any kind of changes in the behavior or in the body expressions of your horse,
– Invest in a good saddle, that fits your horse!
– Invest in good training programs that promote development of the muscles through relaxation of the body and better nutrition distributed to the muscles by blood (possible when the body works in relaxation, and when the workload is not too big),
– Invest in learning relaxation techniques for yourself, and your horse,
– Do BodyMarc :-)
Do not focus on making your horse happier. Focus on making your horse healthier, and on Calmness. The happiness will follow.
Happiness is a state of a calm & healthy body & mind.