Monday, January 16, 2012

Rebuilding Connections

Today I just gave each horse a thorough grooming - it was in the 40sF with wind and the footing was terrible - packed snow and ice.  I've been feeling that I've lost that close connection with the horses, and I though that some slow grooming would be one way to start to get that back.  With each horse, I took my gloves off while I was grooming so I could use my hands to touch and feel them - that horse/human/horse touch is very important to our connection and it's easy to lose that in the winter.

Dawn has been distracted and overly alert, so I tried to be calm and slow with her.  She's often crabby or restless for grooming, but she was pretty relaxed - I didn't get a head rest but she was paying attention to me.  Pie has been very crabby - lots of ear pinning - for grooming lately, so for a change I took him out of his stall and put him on cross ties.  He was very sweet and responsive - the crabbiness must be food-related - and seemed to enjoy his grooming, and his ears never went back once.  Drifter has been very lively lately - he even tried to play bitey face (with my face) with me today when he was in his paddock - not OK (I was very clear with him about that) but I understand his restlessless as he's on solo turnout and has no one else to play with.  He was very happy and relaxed on cross ties today and really seemed to enjoy his grooming.

At the end of each grooming session, I had each horse back a step or two for a click and treat - a nice way to end our sessions.  It felt good to groom and run my hands over each horse, taking my time and not being in a hurry, and they seemed to enjoy it as well.  Slow steps to regain connections . . .

16 comments:

  1. There really is nothing like a good grooming session to help connect with your horse. I just had one with Shy and I think it did wonders for both of us.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lovely post about reconnecting and grooming - glove free. So true about winter and our need to really touch them. You are very smart, Kate. Your horses appreciate your insight, too, I am sure, because it gave them relaxing time with their person.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Kate, Your grooming sessions sound wonderfully therapeutic! So much so that I want to do it with my horse! That sense of "this is what we'll do, this is how we'll interact today, it's not always about riding" sounds peaceful and serene. What a good way to connect with your horses.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Winter is a good time for connection of this type because we can't ride as much as we would like. Betty and I often do just 10 minutes of ground work when the weather is not that great. I think it's a good use of our time.

    Dan

    ReplyDelete
  5. You're so right about how winter kind of holds us at arm's length. We get so focused on just getting them fed and getting out of the cold that we miss out on socializing!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love taking slow grooming time with my guy and horses before him. My boy right now melts right on the spot as you groom him. no matter how tense and alert he is the minute you start to groom him his ears flop down and he gets twitchy lips.
    Its so relaxing working with them in this state!

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's not always about riding, is it? Just spending time with them in a loving manner builds trust and helps our inner peace.

    ReplyDelete
  8. If anyone can regain connections, it would be you, Kate.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thats great to hear Kate ....time to simply 'be' with your horses is good for the soul and certainly does help that bonding. Sorry to hear the weather doesn't allow for riding out and about though

    ReplyDelete
  10. Just standing in their closeness. Being one with them. Dont need to ride some times, just be.

    ReplyDelete
  11. You're making me feel a bit guilty here as I too have fallen into the winter routine. But I do cuddle everyone when I get the chance.

    Being close to a horse is good for the soul too, not just a way of establishing a bond.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I completely agree with you that a good relaxing grooming session does wonders. It not only reconnects us with our furry friends it makes both of us feel good. Nice post.

    ReplyDelete
  13. so nice to just reconnect that way. I will wander out to the pasture and just run my hands all over whichever horse I choose , they enjoy the contact as do I . I try to be hands on or at least eyes on every horse every day

    ReplyDelete
  14. and a BONUS; they are so warm and it's felt best with bare hands :)
    I've noticed too that Laz is UP UP UP lately. I am wondering if it's weather or related to some of his diet changes (Chia seed, J herb) so it's a bit reassuring to hear that other equines are a bit up too.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I also think that grooming is helpful to maintaining communication. One of the bad parts about winter in upstate NY is that they have blankets on much of the time, so grooming is limited to face, neck, mane and tail. It was 5 degrees here this morning, so I tend to rush things a bit when it's so cold!
    Forunately, they don't seem mind as long as there's a big pile of hay waiting for them.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love grooming too and I try to do it every time I see my horse, even if I am not riding. It is a nice opportuunity for both horse and human to experience each other in a loving way. After a ride I do the grooming all over again. The only time my horse has seemed cranky at grooming time was when she had Lyme. Don't you love a fuzzy, wintry horse?

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for commenting - we appreciate it. No spam or marketing comments will be published.