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Relaxing your Horse
Article contributed by HJL
A lot of people have 'nervous aggressors' for horses. This includes horses who move around a lot in the cross-ties and horses who bite and horses who immediately go into the trot(or faster) when you get on. These are exercises you are supposed to do to your horse when it is in the cross-ties and when you're on, to relax them. First stretch your horses head to the ground. Put your hands where their forelock starts gently ease their head to the ground allowing them to stretch down. This relaxes all the muscles in the body. (This is what you can do when you're on by pulling the rein gently towards your opposite hip: stand on one side of their body by their shoulder. Take your hand closest to them and put it around the bridge of their nose and 'bend' your horses head into their shoulder, but don't over do it!! When they give you can let them have their head back. Do this on both sides of their body. The last one is to take a soft lead rope and to rub it across the bow of their nose very GENTLY!! The horse will drop his head about an inch or so. When he does this pet his neck on tell him he's good. Then continue grooming. Talk softly to him trying to keep him in the relaxed state, but if he's starts to get fidgity start over on the relaxation process. This takes a long time, but it's really worth it!! This is a tonne better than lunging your horse to get him relaxed. This also allows bonding time between you and your horse/pony and will help to build trust!!
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