Horses are prey animals; animals of flight. We all know that and yet sometimes we forget this important factor when we are looking after our horses especially when it comes to detecting pain.
Masking pain is a defense mechanism developed from when they were in the wild, and any weakness would end their life or put them in great danger. This instinct is still within them, sometimes meaning that they will hide discomfort and pain. By the time we are seeing an issue it could have been causing our horses pain for a while.
I have been treating horses for over ten years and one of the most common things that I find is where we think the horse is in pain is not the area that the problem really is or originated from. Sometimes because of masking, re-balancing and over compensation we are looking in completely the wrong place to help our horses.
How can you be more in tune with your horse and know if there is an issue?
One of the important things is to be 'present' when you are with you horse. This means really being with them and not filling your mind with other things when you are around them. Being in the moment with them will help you to be more connected to them.
Notice the difference between being naughty and trying to tell you something. Assuming your horse is trying to get one up on you or annoying you on purpose will not create the right bond for them to express themselves to you. Try putting aside what you have been told by other people; listen to what your horse is trying to tell you or show you.
Learn some basic scanning. Everyone has the ability to 'feel' where there are issues with your horse. Move your hand over your horses body a few inches away from their skin. Do it slowly at first and you will feel any imbalances. This might feel like static, tingles, heat or even cold patches. Move your hand over where you get any of these sensations helping to smooth out and balance your horses energy. This means that you are promoting your horses ability to self heal.
I love my horses; which means I want to know if they are in pain, to help them to be pain free, healthy and happy. I hear so many people saying they love their horses, yet their horses are in pain so that their owner can compete or ride them. I am not pointing the finger of blame at anyone; only saying we can do better.
There are so many tools we have; free tools to use in order to ensure that our horses are not in pain. Taking the time to know your horses and understand them so you know as soon as there is a change or something wrong is little to ask when our horses give us so much. By doing this your horse will love you all the more and respect the fact that you are trying to give them the best life possible.
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