Before I ever get on my horses, I go through this routine. It is fast, sometimes as fast as 15 minutes. It tells me how my horse is doing physically and emotionally and lays the foundation for a comfortable ride for both of us.
Step 1: Lay out equipment Besides getting out my grooming tools, I get out a leather or nylon halter and leadrope, TTEAM wand, 2 different neck ropes or cordeos (one stiff and one soft braid), a hackamore bridle or rope halter with side rings, a bitted open-face bridle (french link or double-jointed snaffle only), a saddle with pad (if I might use one) and possibly TTEAM bodywraps (if bodywraps could be on the agenda for the day). I lay these all out in the corner of the square pen, for later use (See Step 10)
Step 2: The Greeting I greet my horse. I move to the edge of my horse’s personal space. I wait politely to be recognized. Then I offer the back of my hand. If my horse does not come to me (usually, they do) I slowly walk to them, still offering my hand. After the horse greets me with a hand sniff, I invite the horse out of the corral and into the square pen. I do this at liberty. My horse has the right to say “no” and choose to remain in the corral, skipping the day’s session, or at least postponing it until later.
Step 3: Clear polarity
I clear my polarity and then my horse’s.
Step 4: Bladder meridian I sweep the bladder meridian on both sides 3 times.
Next Step: Energy Blocks This is not numbered or in bold. I feel for energy blocks. This is impossible to teach in videos or by verbal description. Skip this step until you can have a lesson with me or attend a clinic with Kelley Mills or Regan Golob.
Step 6: Check the bladder meridian tail points I check the points on either side of the tail. The tail should lift easily, and in alignment with the spine. I may use my favorite flower essence blend spray here too.
Step 7: Back and neck check I do the bum tuck/back up/belly lift/neck telescope exercise once. If it’s perfect, I stop at 1. If there is a block or lack of movement, I do it at least 3 times, and may add my favorite flower essence blend spray topically at the blockage. I seek out and clear all energy and body blocks until I get a full released bascule (engagement or roundness) from tail to nose. If I cannot get a bascule, I do not get on.
For this bum tuck or butt tuck, you are looking for the hip angle to increase as the pelvis tucks under. Additionally, you are looking for spinal straightness as you sight from the base of the tail to the withers. If the butt tucks off to one side, increase the pressure on the side the hips moved away from, to bring the hips back to center.
For the back lift, you are looking for the back to lift. Additionally, you are looking for spinal straightness as you sight from the base of the tail to the withers. If the back lifts off to one side, increase the pressure on the side the back curved away from, to bring the back into alignment. It is very important that you maintain the pelvic tuck during this move. If the pelvis flattens back out or tips forward, go back to the bum tuck, and make sure you are using your thumbs to hold that tuck in place while lifting the back. If the horse cocks a leg or ducks down, there are bigger issues going on and you should call your health practitioner before proceeding.
For the belly lift, you are looking for the back and withers to lift. If the horse fails to lift, there are bigger issues going on and you should call your health practitioner before proceeding.
For the neck telescope, you are looking for the base of the neck to lift, the muscles at the top of the neck to engage, and then for the neck to telescope forward and down. Additionally, you are looking for spinal straightness from the poll to the withers. If the neck curves off to one side, increase the pressure on the side the neck curved away from, to bring the neck into alignment. If the neck will not telescope, there are bigger issues going on and you should call your health practitioner before proceeding.
Step 8: Address any issues If any issues showed up in the steps above, I work through the reflex points and bodywork until everything is cleared. I skip asking to ride if anything remains an issue.
Step 9: Equipment choices By this step, I’ve gotten a pretty good feel for where my horse is that day. I sense the mood. My horse senses mine. We often have had a bit of a conversation. I have some sense what may be on the agenda. I offer the halter, bridles, and or saddle as appropriate and let my horse tell me the choice for the day. I offer the mounting block to get a decision about riding.
Always, the horse has the choice.
And off we go!
Copyright (c) 2015 Carrie Eastman Video copyright (c) 2015 C. Hair Animal Services
Credits: The body exercises above were first shown to me by Regan Golob and Kelley Mills (Willow Creek Animal Rehab in Washington state, USA). Please see Regan’s DVD “Where Have All The Horsemen Gone” for the original version of these exercises and check out the classes that they both offer.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or American Veterinary Medical Association, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinarian about any changes to your animal’s health program.