36 Techniques to Relax the Horse & Rider

Have you ever rode on a horse? “Don't mention it. My first time was horrible. My horse had gone berserk.” “Are there any ways to relax a horse? I'm so done with it going so mad and all that!” “Ha! I haven't experienced horse riding. I haven't even seen a horse in real life! *insert Yao Ming meme here*” Well, pal, horseback riding is one of the experiences you'll never ever forget – whether good or bad. However, some of you here might have the not-so-quite-good encounters with our dear horses. The question you ask here is: what are the ways to relax your horse? Nancy Wesolek-Sterrett, the Head of Dressage Department in Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre, has shared with us some techniques on how to relax your horse… and you, the rider. Both of you should calm down, ok?

We will go through the horses first. When your horse is not-so-calm on the ground, use horse-logic heeding skills to catch and groom the horse in a soothing way. Also, concentrate on your house. “Once you are with the horse physically, stay with him mentally. Put the cell phone down and concentrate on your horse. Talking to someone and concentrating on the horse at the same time is a learned skill. Keep your concentration on the horse at all times,” says Nancy. Horses are just like humans too – they need attention, and this time, from us. When your horse is under the saddle, Nancy suggests, “Ask the horse to enlarge on a circle, relaxing the neck and jaw on that side.” You're not going to literally ask the horse of course! If you’re going to do that, you'll need to speak fluent horse. Also, “if a horse is fussy or resistant to your rein or leg aids, emphasize your core muscles to rate his speed and to stop. Use your hips to indicate direction while keeping your lower back muscles relaxed.”

Now is the rider’s time to relax. From the ground, it is recommended that you enter a yoga or tai chi class. This would help “develop strong core muscles and learn to feel the use and relaxation of different muscle groups.” Look for exercise that would enhance your balance and breathing techniques. “Develop better balance by adding exercises on a balance ball, balance beam, wobble board or similar exercise aids. Learn to keep your balance by alignment of the shoulders and hips,” Nancy recommends. Under the saddle part is quite ‘intense’ for the riders. You must first work on your seat. If your fearfulness blocks you from focusing or rhythmic breathing, “count in a rhythm or sing a nursery rhyme that has a steady beat.” Now who says nursery rhymes are for children only? Riders, you must take note of this.

For more relaxation tips for you and your horse, click on Meredith Manor website below. For now, have fun riding! *winks*

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