How to calm an upset horse – ForTheHorse

How to calm an upset horse

Dealing with an upset horse can be very discouraging, especially when a rider just doesn't know what to do to help the situation.

And, there can be many reasons why a horse gets upset too.

One of those reasons is that the activity at hand is challenging for your horse.  By challenging I mean not to overface the horse with something that is just not possible, or not learned yet...but rather a pattern that a horse may have that is slowing down progress.  

In this article, I'm going to show you one way to approach this.

So what do some horses find challenging?

What some horses find challenging is dealing with change.

My mare has trouble with change and one example of this is accepting the change that I presented to her from a fast, quick activity that needed immediate responses and fast movement to switching over, to going slow and calm.

This is what I asked my horse to do:

I was on the lunge and I wanted her to do trot/canter transitions on a circle around me. I wanted her to jump into the canter and then have a graceful, downward transition into the trot.

She's very good at it. She does it very well, but what happens with her, and this may happen with your horse, is as timing escalates, as tasks get more and more closer together, as there starts to be an escalation, she started to get tense, and then to get emotional.

She gets a little worked up and uptight, her eyes get bigger and she starts to get tense.

Now, you could choose to avoid that situation completely, or you can choose to think through it, evaluate what's going on and make a decision upon your next step.

And that's what this is about today...

Do you have a next step that's in your mind, put it below for me as a note.

My next step was to come to a halt.

Before I show you what I did next, I'll tell you what the exact task was after the transitions...it was to then come within an arm length of me. My arm was on her wither and I wanted her to walk in a square and be in rhythm with me, in sync with me.

So not faster than I was. I wanted her to come down and be with me, dancing with me in that task as well.

When I came to a halt I evaluated parts in her body that I know she holds tension.

We all have, even as humans, we have parts in our body that we hold tension. She holds tension typically in her TMJ and in her poll.

I went to those two areas. I did some tasks, some small activities with her, just rotating her head left and right, very slowly, very carefully with careful observation to how it was done to the quality of it.

And I did that for perhaps 10 seconds. Then I went back to my task, which was on the small square, staying in rhythm with me, not faster with me, dancing with me on the square.

But at the same time, also carrying herself, pushing with her hind legs and not rushing which is what she had built herself up to do with the previous exercise.

She did it perfectly. She did her square around me. She did the corners, she kept her hind legs coming and pushing. She relaxed, but not relaxing completely without tone.

She carried herself and she became elastic. Elastic in her ability to move her body and therefore elastic in her mind.

She got focused, she released her TMJ. She released her poll, but yet she knew that she had to carry her body when she's working with me and not just slop around and fall around on that little square which is not an easy task to do.

So within seconds, she was back with me. She was moving with ease. She was soft but strong and she had peace in her mind.

I wanted to let you know that because there are so many ways that we can approach a "problem" or an incident that comes up with your horse.

How we make our decisions is the important thing. So if this is value for you, let me know, feel free to put notes for me below.

If you'd like to work with me, I'm opening up an exciting program, a step by step process that will help you with this and so much more...just CLICK here to see if you qualify.

It will help you with your body showing you to how to have elasticity and ease in your movement and therefore ... your mind.

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About the Author Chris Adderson

Chris Adderson teaches riders and horses how to move with ease and grace to create astounding results and lifelong relationships of their dreams. She teaches valuable skills and educational strategies to get more results, quicker and faster.

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