Helping Others With Equines

Dee Howe

Educational Posts

Introduction to Body Work

Posted by Dee Howe on May 9, 2018 at 4:40 PM

Horses are a great example of what you put out is what you get back. I encourage a person to consciously Breathe! If they are extremely sore and stiff when stretching, loosen the muscles up slowly and never force the horse's body into positions it doesn't easily go. If you exercise on a regular basis, you know about the good days and hard days. If you exercise very little then you know what it's like to jog a mile! And we expect our horses to carry us! Without conditioning we can strain a horse's back to the point that they get swayed back at an early age. Take the time to brush, rub stretch, & exercise your horses. You will not only have a better ride but you will gain a FRIEND!

When doing these exercises remember that if the horse moves into you, you must reprimand it by kneeing the belly till it moves away. This is how another horse would react so the horse will understand your message. Safety first., above and beyond the call of duty!

Pressure points open up the circulatory system of the horse. When the blood starts flowing a horse will start to react to the feeling coming back to parts of the body as they relax. These are called "releases". They show up in many forms.

Look for signs of relaxation: Breathing heavy, blowing, sighing, yawning, shaking their heads & body, licking & chewing, rolling the tongue, lifting their tail and passing gas, consecutive blinking of the eyes, sweating without work & dropping of the head are a few. These signs mean you are literally getting blood to the brain!

Give the horse a moment to let these releases pass before attempting another step, whether you are doing ground work, massage or riding. A horse usually thinks of one thing at a time so bodily awareness will come before they can concentrate on what you are trying to teach them at that moment.

Areas of Stress:


Will affect a horse's balance, make the rest of the body numb, can't stand still, holds head crooked sometimes white of the eyes show, seem unattentive & tends to run over the handler.


Has a hard time balancing, can't turn the head the same both ways, sometimes won't let a person on a certain side, may pull back, effects leads, can't eat properly, sometimes spooky at things behind it & turns on front end not the haunches.


Horse will turn one way better than the other, hate being saddled especially to have the cinch tightened, sometimes will rear or flip over, hard to pick up feet, prance, try to bit, buck & have cranky attitude.

Rib Out-

Very cinchy, can't turn one way, pulls back when cinching, fails to pick up proper leads, attitude towards other horses, holds breath & cranky when ridden.

Lower Back-

Bucks, runs off, spooky of things behind him, can't keep the proper lead, kicks, sometimes is unsound in the rear, prancy, has a scared or tough attitude depending on the horse.

Categories: Body Work