STOP and RELAX
– Always think about emotional tension first.
I often see people who are riding very tense horses, and they try to relax them by making them move even faster and busy with a series of exercises.
A physical tension is always a reflection of deep emotional tension. Relaxation of the horse through movement makes emotional tensions do not disappear, but descend deeper under the surface where they are still present, but are not as visible as they were before. That’s why so many horses “rear out of the blue” or “spook out of the blue” – cause they were taught to HIDE THEIR EMOTIONS by their riders addressing physical tension without thinking about emotional state of the horse. After some time, emotional knot hidden in your horse is so hard and big, that the only thing your horse can do to release this stress is to go crazy.
Making your horse’s feet move when he’s tense, doesn’t make him any more relaxed. By doing so, you only teach him new, tense movement patterns and you risk that the emotional tension will be transferred to all other exercises you do. Even to those exercises, during which your horse was not emotionally tensed before.
You literally destroy the good work you have done before.
From my experience the best way to relax your horse is to stop, and give him time.
This applies to riding in the woods or in the countryside as well. Stop your horse every few steps, totally relax yourself. Give yourself some time. See how soon your horse relaxes, pat him. And start again.
I love taking my horse Charlie for a nice relaxing walk in the veld. You wont find much woodlands here. There is always something he likes to explore more closely, or stop and just look around for a while. I enjoy looking around as well, there are lots of birds hiding in the grass and suddenly shooting up to the sky or a mass of butterflies hovering close to the ground I purposly lead my horse through. fields of tall maize plants create a labyrinth type pattern and I get lost sometimes in, but Charlie always knows the way home… Read more »
Your senses are right, Beata :)
I love this philosophy but there have been times when my horse can’t stand quietly. I try deep calming breathing,stroking etc. It is as if he is ready to explode. Suggestions?
Deep stress is always connected with being unable to stand still and enjoy being calm and grounded. It can take up to several weeks to introduce your horse to true calmness but it’s always worth trying. Make the pauses longer each time, but never too long if it’s too stressful for your horse, keep making them longer..second by second. And what is most important – don’t wait for anything to happen yourself. If you wait for your horse to relax or you wait for the break to finish to proceed to any other exercise there is always a “waiting for… Read more »
I believe Ellie and I will have considerable work to do on this. I believe thus far she has very deep emotional stress that shows itself in almost any exercise we do. As soon as I even move the rein to do something, she is tense. If I move to a trot, she is tense. If I attempt a canter, again, tense and crooked and shoulder in. Occasionally, still unknown to me why, she is relaxed. And in these moments, we enjoy life. But it is more often not the case. I can’t wait to patiently work with her and… Read more »
Laura, don’t worry we will address calmness and relaxation during our Online Workshop :) you will be amazed to see how soon Ellie changes when you change :) I will provide you techniques, know how, practical experience and theoretical knowledge and of course my constant support and then it will be only up to you if you decide to implement them in your everyday life with Ellie and invite changes to come :)
I am so happy.