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[RC] [Guest] affecting horses - Ridecamp Guest

Jan Mutchler jmutchler@xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Barbara - I have been bringing along a new horse who can throw a pretty good
spook at me.  I ride alone all the time and am at the stage in my life where
coming off is a very unpleasant option.  I started using a tactic that I
used to use over 30 years ago when I was in the business of starting lots of
young horses.  As I ride along, I reach down and massage the crestline of my
horse's neck.  It's a more firm massage - sqeezing and rubbing along the
crestline - about at the halfway point between the poll and the withers.  I
press and release like I am trying to push his neck down lower while doing
the squeezing and rubbing.  While I am doing this I am talking to him and
really breathing out when I say the words - breathe out so much that your
words sound real "breathy".  This encourages my horse to lower his head,
which helps him to relax and the deep breathing helps keep me relaxed.  You
should see a lowering of his head/neck, if not, try
squeezing/massaging/pushing on his crestline a little harder until you start
to see the lowering -keep your legs in contact with his sides.  Consistency
is the key to making this work.  Its harder to do at the trot, but can be
done.  I have long arms, so its not so hard for me to do.  Each time he goes
past something he is leery of, I do lots of strokes and use the same good
boy words.  He is now getting to the point where when I feel him start to
tighten because he is fearful, I put a hand on his neck and use the good boy
words and he relaxes and keeps moving.  I used this same method on my
previous horse who was a horrendous spooker, and she became very brave and
solid.  Takes time.  Good luck.

Jan Mutchler



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