There are times when you cannot ride. Like last week when I got a call to reschedule the lesson we had planned. The horse was lame and the rider wanted to reschedule because riding was not an option. My question was if she was familiar how to give a massage to a horse. Since she was not, I explained the benefits especially now he was stabled 24/7 and had a sore foot. She was willing to give it a try but thought she might not have the “feel” for it.
So the appointment stayed and when I got there we found a quite spot for us to work. First some basic anatomy needs to be in place before you can start. Next to be able to do any bodywork you need to focus on yourself. Quiet your mind, your breathing and find your centre. Only than do I approach the horse. I will be firm and clear in my work but also will I listen to what he tells me. If someone indicates they think they might not “feel” I point out that the horse will tell them everything they need to know. The challenge for most people is to have clear intent for what they want to do and at the same moment stay open for what the horse tells them. How the horse tells you something depends on the character of the horse, how he has been handled and what the problem is.
The session flowed from lots of action from the horse to him relaxing deeply. His eyes where almost shut, his lower lip slightly trembled. When he erupted into action I told him to stay here but waited till he got quiet again before going further. Everything a horse does is information. So I listen. The rider was pleasantly surprised how much she could do and how she could really give her horse some quality time in this way. It also gave us insight in his reactions patterns she would also see when riding. The benefit of time spent is this way is so worthwhile.