Yesterday we talked about the importance of restarting a horse after time off and learned about the Top-Line release and relax exercises, which I like to suggest become a part of every horse care givers routine. Today we'll have a look at exercises for the body and legs. It's important to note, always do these ground tied or in a stall so the horse is free to move. Have no hay or grass in your exercise area, you want them focused on you and their release. Do not discipline during exercises as that will short circuit any release. Be sure to watch for and allow sighs, licks and chews. Your horse may ask for a little walk to absorb these new feelings, walk them if they ask for a minute, then begin again.
After I do the Top-Line I move to the front legs with the Armpit Release. This exercise will begin to release the tension in the chest muscles, and helps with girthy horses, and begins the reconnection to their feet. Remember, do both sides.
Next the Shoulder Delineation. This exercise will release the tension along the base of the neck, the withers, and forehand, and begin to correct the inversion muscles, and help maintain proper soft posture. Remember do both sides.
Next Pretty Neck, or Inversion Muscle Release. This exercise will release the tension in the neck muscles and bones and poll. It also begins to correct the inverted neck and tight chest muscles, and allows for free flowing movement and aids in getting horses off their forehand. (As you might guess, I'm very anti tie-down, and these exercises mentioned so far today will help eliminate the need for them.) Remember to do both sides.Next Withers Rock. This exercise releases the shoulders, neck and spine and aids in free flowing movement and balance.
Next Shoulder Circles. This exercise releases tension in the shoulders, chest, neck and withers, and creates soft fluid strides and increases body awareness, balance and posture.
These relax, release and body, foot and posture awareness exercises I learned while working with my mentor Diane Sept for nearly a decade. From Diane, a "Senior Certified Connected Riding Instructor ®," I learned the techniques of Peggy Cummings, Connected Riding and Ground Work® and Linda Tellington Jones, Tellington TTouch Training ™. I highly recommend their training and books. In their books you'll find these and many more excellent exercises.
Tomorrow, in Pt 3 we'll look at a few exercises for the hind legs and body posture and correct soft carriage.
Gitty Up, Dutch Henry
You can read Pt 1 HERE
You can read Pt 3 HERE
You can read Pt 4 HERE