Hey everyone! At the moment I’m looking around for a new horse here in Germany – gender doesn’t matter, should be at least 1,50 tall and between 1.5-5 years old. If you hear of anything good let me know!
Speaking of young horses, I’ve played around with a neat concept with the young Arabians I’m starting. So if you know about Parelli’s method or you practice some form of Horsemanship, you’re familiar with the idea that your horse should learn to release to the slightest amount of pressure.
To ask a horse to lower his head while you’re on the ground, the Parelli Program would have you put pressure behind the horse’s ears on the poll. When the horse puts his head down even the tiniest bit, you release (remove your hand).
With some horses this can take a while, and you’re standing with them out in the pasture or arena with a sore arm thinking… When is he just going to lower his head??? It is negative reinforcement.
And I thought to myself, how could I cause my horse to lower his head because he wants to feel even better? I’m not putting pressure on him, which doesn’t feel good, so he would move his head down to get “away from me”. Instead I make him feel good and relaxed so that he practically can’t keep his head up.
And what makes people and horse’s muscles relax? Massage!
I tried it out and massaged this gelding’s poll and his head just dropped to the ground (this was a horse that I could rarely get to lower his head with a light feel). So… that worked! I moved my fingers in deep, slow and soothing circular motions. His muscles were so stiff from having his head high constantly that he physically couldn’t stay stiff when I gave him a kind of neck massage.
The second time I tried it I hadn’t even touched his head and he lowered it on his own. Now I’m playing around to see what other techniques I could alter a bit to make the horse more comfortable.