In her book CONNECT WITH YOUR HORSE FROM THE GROUND UP, Connected Riding Founder Peggy Cummings provides a thorough introduction to her Connected Groundwork techniques, easy ways to radically improve how your horse moves. Check out this sample exercise:
The Chin Rest relieves tension in the horse’s poll and upper regions of his neck. It also helps reeducate horses that tend to go behind the vertical by encouraging them to open their throatlatch and stretch into contact. Here’s how you do it:
1 Stand on the left side of your horse at his head, facing forward. Gently cup your right hand under the horse’s chin groove and “meet” the weight of his head in your hand. Support the weight of the head for 10 to 90 seconds—longer if the horse shows signs of relaxation by closing his eyes and “giving you” his head to hold. Make sure you support the head, but do not lift it, as that would hollow the horse’s neck.
2 Slowly release the weight of the head from your hand. Allow the horse time to process what just happened before repeating the exercise two to four times. Watch for signs of relaxation: closed eyes, “sleepiness,” a deep breath, flaring nostrils, a good snort, or shaking of the neck or entire body. When you slowly release the horse’s head, it often lowers farther than it was before, and frequently the horse stretches it all the way to the ground.
Here’s a short video demonstration of Peggy Cummings performing the Chin Rest:
You can find more of these terrific exercises in Peggy’s book CONNECT WITH YOUR HORSE FROM THE GROUND UP and her DVD CONNECTED RIDING & GROUNDWORK, available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.
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