Trust in Horses

As a bodyworker I have to often build trust with horses in quite a short space of time to allow me to give a more effective treatment. This can be challenging as some horses have not always had the best of times. So trusting a stranger to touch you all over is not always that easy for them. Especially if they are sore.

Building trust with a horse can be one of the most rewarding parts of my job. The results gained from taking the time to build that relationship can bring about calmness, peace and a happy horse, which is just amazing to see and feel. It also results in a better treatment for your horse.

I use various ways to build trust with horses and it is hugely dependent on the horse. I often ask owners if their horse has any areas that they don’t like being touch such as the ears or inner thigh. This allows me to avoid those areas to start with. As the treatment progresses then these areas maybe looked at or left until their next appointment.

Before I start a treatment or hands on assessment I will let your horse smell me while I talk to them. I then might make a soft physical contact checking that they are okay with this. I may even verbally check with them. Throughout the treatment I check by looking at their facial and body expressions. I acknowledge and often back off if they need a bit of space. Often for horses to fully relax and release you need to take a step back and let them process what is happening to them. This again builds that trust and allows your horse to be more relaxed.

A relaxed horse is key to a successful treatment. So what can you do as an owner

  • Inform your therapist of any areas that your horse doesn’t like to be touched
  • Tell your therapist if their is any previous history from past treatments, injuries or anything else that might make your horse unsettled such as a bad experience
  • Make sure they are being treated in a safe and quite space for the horse. This maybe being close to field companions or away from other horses. This is very dependant on each individual

As an owner don’t be concerned if your therapist takes your horses first treatment very slow and gentle. This is building the foundations for trust in future sessions and often less is more. The other reason a therapist may not go as deep is because we don’t know how your horse will respond. We want to create a positive experience and if your horse feels sore the next day due to treatment they maybe less inclined to relax for future treatments.

A treatment shouldn’t be considered as a one off but a series of treatments building trust and effectiveness into each session. Ideally most horses should be receiving treatment every 2-3 months for general maintenance. If they are competing regularly and training hard then this should be every month. While this might seem quite frequent it will help to prevent injuries or identify anything that might be brewing before it becomes something major.

Trust is a major aspect of my treatment process. This does mean on occasion I spend quite a bit of time on the first treatment but in the long run this helps with future treatment success. As a therapist I am more than happy to discuss the treatment process with you before booking an appointment to help you as an owner be more relaxed and content, which is turn helps your horse to relax.

Relaxation to the extreme!

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