05-18-2009, 03:34 AM
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Be careful with aroma therapy. Some horses can be very sensitive to certain smells and can have allergic reactions.
As for T Touch...it's basically massage. And that's good. But I don't think it's enough. (also, the videos I've seen of Linda Tellington Jones...she uses a stud chain and doesn't address a lot of training steps....and that to me is using unnecessary things...like chains. You never need a chain, you just need baby steps in your lessons). I'd stick to other types of NH instructors like Clinton Anderson, John Lyons, Chris Cox,...
And I'd add desensitizing with "scary objects" like plastic bags on a stick, tarps, balls, things that makes noise, etc.... using approach and retreat....a lot of it....you can teach your horse to be more relaxed.
Also...if your horse is very nervous....what kind of diet does he have? If he's getting lots of feed with grain and not being handled much or kept in a stall most of the time...he's got pent up energy and nothing to do with it...and that can easily turn a horse spooky. Cut out grain and anything other than plain ol' quality grass hay if you're not working him much.
Alfalfa can make a horse feel jumpy as can certain grains even if you are working him close to daily.
Also...how confident a rider are you? If you're nervous and react to him, this will add to his anxiety.
If you're not active, meaning, you don't ask much of him, this can cause him to be spooky, too. Some horses need to put that nervous energy to good use...he can relax. So for a young barely green broke horse....if he's closer to 4-5 years of age (I don't believe in hard work for anything under the age of 4)....I'd do lots of bending exercises....that require him to disengage his hip....cross those back feet....that is more work than going straight ahead. I'd do a trotting session of serpentines for a few minutes at a time, building up to 20 steady minutes at a time.
If the horse is 3 years old, I'd still do serpentines but more of a brisk walk and some trot, but I'd keep the riding "light" but still emphasis on Bending exercises. Flexing and hip overs. A lot of em. Backing up. One Rein Stops...all One Rein Exercises.
It's like if a person who's naturall hyper....is asked to just go for a walk, it's not going to drain that nervous energy as well as telling that same person to go for a jog or a run.
Also....before anything else:
1) teeth. If his teeth have not been checked by a vet in over a year, sharp points or other teeth issues can cause spookiness
2) saddles that pinch or if you overcinch, or if he's "out" somewhere....pain is a spook motivator
3) wrong bit...too much bit in the sensitive mouth of a nervous horse can cause spooks. Simple is always better. Unless you're showing, you can stick with a simple snaffle bit (no shanks) that gives the horse mild and simple cues
4) be sure that you're not rushing him through training/riding. He's barely green broke...and he's scared? Be sure you're not using two hands if you've not done enough one rein work. Two rein pressure can scare young horses easily. Be sure that you aren't rushing him through the basics of go forward at all gaits and stop and giving to the bit....keep it simple....and don't progress til he's got each lesson down.