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What is your horse telling you?

Recently my feed has been flooded with images and films of unhappy horses. Iโ€™m not sure why ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ and tbh itโ€™s not been a fun place to be, but itโ€™s got me thinking as Iโ€™ve seen riders force and push and laugh and call the horse names, โ€œ๐’˜๐’‰๐’‚๐’• ๐’…๐’ ๐’‘๐’†๐’๐’‘๐’๐’† ๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’๐’Œ ๐’Š๐’” ๐’‰๐’‚๐’‘๐’‘๐’†๐’๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’˜๐’‰๐’†๐’ ๐’‚ ๐’‰๐’๐’“๐’”๐’† ๐’”๐’‰๐’๐’˜๐’” ๐’”๐’Š๐’ˆ๐’๐’” ๐’๐’‡ ๐’•๐’Š๐’ˆ๐’‰๐’•๐’๐’†๐’”๐’”, ๐’“๐’†๐’”๐’Š๐’”๐’•๐’‚๐’๐’„๐’† ๐’๐’“ ๐’ˆ๐’†๐’๐’†๐’“๐’‚๐’ ๐’…๐’Š๐’”๐’๐’Š๐’Œ๐’† ๐’‡๐’๐’“ ๐’˜๐’‰๐’‚๐’• ๐’˜๐’†โ€™๐’“๐’† ๐’‚๐’”๐’Œ๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’๐’‡ ๐’•๐’‰๐’†๐’Ž?โ€

So firstly, if your horse shows these signs it could be a sign of discomfort or pain; your first priority is to get there thoroughly checked over by a vet, a body worker and by a good saddler, never discount this behaviour as โ€œjust naughtyโ€.

Once you know that they are clear and in their own body happy, what could it be?



For me as a coach when I see a horse not following the pattern of โ€œhappy behaviour and movementโ€ the next place I will ALWAYS look is the rider. What is happening with the rider that may be creating this pattern.

Letโ€™s think logically, if a badly fitting saddle can create this behaviour and movement, a badly fitting rider most certainly can, and although itโ€™s a tough one to swallow, as riders we donโ€™t always fit great on our horses.

Resistance within the horses movement or behaviour is commonly linked to a rider that holds resistance in their own movement patterning, if we are unable to allow the flow of movement to travel through our body and place our selves into self carriage we become a clamp ๐Ÿ—œ๏ธ around our horses that stops the flow of movement through their body too, and this shows up in behaviours and movements such as:

โ€ข tight neck and jaw

โ€ข hallowing their back

โ€ข roaching, bronking, bucks

โ€ข rearing, resistance to moving forwards

โ€ข twisting, curling, over bending one way

โ€ข resistance to correct lead leg, correct bend

โ€ข lack of forward movement from hind legs

โ€ข pulling, rushing, falling forwards

โ€ข resistance or ignoring the leg aid

โ€ข running too fast, not moving at all

+ a lot more

As you can see the list is endless when it comes to how our bodies affect our horses way of movement, for some riders these responses can be โ€œ๐’˜๐’๐’“๐’Œ๐’†๐’… ๐’•๐’‰๐’“๐’๐’–๐’ˆ๐’‰โ€ by using more aids elsewhere, if their horse bends more to the left, use more right leg and hand, if their horse hollows and resists โ€œ๐’‘๐’๐’‚๐’š ๐’๐’ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’“๐’†๐’Š๐’๐’” ๐’Ž๐’๐’“๐’† ๐’•๐’ ๐’”๐’๐’‡๐’•๐’†๐’โ€, the patterns are then hidden under these aids until they move up a level or ask for more and their horse then says โ€œ๐ง๐จโ€ a little louder.


โ€œ๐‘จ ๐’‰๐’๐’“๐’”๐’† ๐’„๐’‚๐’ ๐’๐’๐’๐’š ๐’ˆ๐’ ๐’Š๐’ ๐’‚ ๐’ƒ๐’‚๐’๐’‚๐’๐’„๐’†๐’… ๐’˜๐’‚๐’š ๐’Š๐’ ๐’•๐’“๐’–๐’† ๐’”๐’†๐’๐’‡ ๐’„๐’‚๐’“๐’“๐’Š๐’‚๐’ˆ๐’† ๐’Š๐’‡ ๐’•๐’‰๐’†๐’Š๐’“ ๐’“๐’Š๐’…๐’†๐’“ ๐’Š๐’” ๐’ƒ๐’‚๐’๐’‚๐’๐’„๐’†๐’… ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’Š๐’ ๐’•๐’“๐’–๐’† ๐’”๐’†๐’๐’‡ ๐’„๐’‚๐’“๐’“๐’Š๐’‚๐’ˆ๐’†โ€


โ€œ๐’€๐’๐’– ๐’„๐’‚๐’๐’๐’๐’• ๐’‰๐’‚๐’—๐’† ๐’‚ ๐’”๐’•๐’“๐’‚๐’Š๐’ˆ๐’‰๐’• ๐’‰๐’๐’“๐’”๐’† ๐’–๐’๐’…๐’†๐’“ ๐’‚ ๐’„๐’“๐’๐’๐’Œ๐’†๐’… ๐’“๐’Š๐’…๐’†๐’“โ€


These words should be in every school and every tack room in the world in my opinion, along with


โ€œ๐’€๐’๐’– ๐’„๐’‚๐’๐’๐’๐’• ๐’๐’๐’• ๐’‚๐’‡๐’‡๐’†๐’„๐’• ๐’š๐’๐’–๐’“ ๐’‰๐’๐’“๐’”๐’†, ๐’†๐’—๐’†๐’“๐’š๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’š๐’๐’– ๐’…๐’ ๐’ˆ๐’๐’๐’… ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’ƒ๐’‚๐’…, ๐’„๐’๐’๐’”๐’„๐’Š๐’๐’–๐’”๐’๐’š ๐’๐’“ ๐’–๐’๐’„๐’๐’๐’”๐’„๐’Š๐’๐’–๐’”๐’๐’š ๐’˜๐’Š๐’๐’ ๐’‰๐’‚๐’—๐’† ๐’‚๐’ ๐’‚๐’‡๐’‡๐’†๐’„๐’•โ€


So what do we need to do when our horse shows even the smallest sign that we may be making it hard for them to achieve what we are asking?

Again we must get them and their tack check thoroughly, and once that is cleared we need to pause and start to work on ourselves, On & off our horses.


Having a coach with a deep understanding of human movement is key ๐Ÿ”‘ to unlocking what may be causing the resistance. BUT, you also need a deep understanding of how your body feels and moves, you need to be able to know what straight feels like, what muscles love to be strong ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป and what muscles of yours love to be lazy ๐Ÿซฃ, you need to understand how to create balance in your body off your horse, know the feeling of what true stability in your pelvis and spine feels like, and how to then take this onto your horse.


You also need to understand your bodies โ€œtrip wiresโ€, when it gets tough what does your body do to counter balance that, do you grab with your hands, shorten your left side, grip with your calves, if you have video footage of your horse resisting whilst youโ€™re riding them, watch you ๐ŸŽฅ, watch what happens to your position, your legs, your hands, your hips, where gets โ€œstuckโ€, where grips, where collapses.


Then when you feel the resistance you will have knowledge of how to re-balance yourself to help your horse, how to not just โ€œpush them through itโ€ but how to ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฐ them to ๐š๐œ๐ก๐ข๐ž๐ฏ๐ž what is being asked of them through correct body balance and alignment.


Donโ€™t get me wrong, this does take work, it takes a small amount of time each day off your horse to work on yourself, DM me if you want to know how you do this, hint โ€œI teach this stuffโ€ ๐Ÿ˜‰, but the improvement in your horse will be HUGE, not only will they be happier but they will move better.


โ€œBecause if we move better our horses move betterโ€


So next time your horse shows anything that needs โ€œmoreโ€ of something to correct it, pause and have a think โ€œwhat could I be doing to create thisโ€.


Some Monday Motovation for you

Megs



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