Integrative Horsemanship

foundation workshop

Remove Your Roadblocks

Assess, Address, Re-assess and progress

Andrea palpation.jpg
alice boots.jpg

Applying Assess, Reassess and progress to working with horses:

There are distinct phases of development in how I build a mutually beneficial partnership with a horse. Creating a definition for each phase helps me find clarity and purpose in my interactions with each horse, focusing on the specific needs that relate to the phase of their development, my development, and our relationship. A logical progression arises.

The larger progression is through the phases:

  • Phase 1 – Establish our connection and build a fundamental body language dialogue.

  • Phase 2 – Identify and address any physical, mental or emotional stuck areas in myself and my horse that interfere with our ability to connect, communicate or progress.

  • Phase 3 – Well balanced horse and human ready to begin physical training.

  • Phase 4 – Dancing Tango together in our chosen discipline.

  • And so on. You can break your own process down into phases that make sense given the priorities in your relationship with your horse.

Developing our side of the conversation entails doing what we need to take care of ourselves. In my work, Tango with Horses, I prioritize a conversation based in body language. I found it essential for me to build my own fitness and maximize my movement capability (hence our introduction to the obstacle course!). Before you head out to see your horse check:

  • Are you hydrated?

  • Did you have something to eat?

  • Have you gotten enough rest?

  • Do you need to move your own energy before you ask your horse to move?

  • Are you in your midline?

  • Did you let your own dust settle?

  • Can you feel your feet on the ground?

  • Have you set a clear intention and gathered all the things you’ll need to implement your plan?

Initial Interactions that are good phase 1 explorations:

Once my horse and I have established our connection and he is willingly following me around, then I can begin discovering anything that might need addressing in his body before we begin getting in shape for whatever activities we have in mind. In the video above you’ll see me to through a basic round of assessing by walking Kastani in a figure 8 pattern, addressing what comes up and then re-assessing with the figure 8 pattern again. Below are a host of video clips that illustrate these concepts with other horses. Bottom line, we have loads of ways to gather information about things that are going on with our horses so let’s learn how to use them.

Visual assessment can give us many clues about what’s going on with our horses.

Touch can be a powerful therapeutic tool. Here’s a bit of an introduction to using touch.

Using the figure 8 pattern to assess Huey’s movement

Here is a demonstration of palpation points I’ve worked with for many years. This covers the entire body.

Since the reflexes to stand, walk and turn originate from the first 3 cervical vertebra, palpation around the head and neck is a good starting point

Sometimes it helps to see someone else get coached in these concepts. This was the first time Justine did these things and it was also Rivaldo’s first time working with the figure 8 pattern and postural reflexes.