Help Your Horse Relax 30+ Muscles with 1 Move
Learn to do the EHS Initial Pick-Up
Equine Hanna Somatics®(EHS) is beneficial for horses in every discipline, at any age and any size…. even a mini pasture buddy!
In this video, watch as I introduce the Initial Pick-ups of EHS for the first time to a skeptical mini-horse.
Note that I am asking/inviting the horse to pick up his own feet, rather than using stimulation or a conditioned response to get the limb to pick up reflexively. I want a willing and mindful pick-up!
I allow the horse to choose how high to lift his hoof, and I do not help or ask him to go any higher – this is respecting his comfortable range of motion, which is essential in this process.
Using gentle feel and soft hands, I invite the horse to begin to slowly lower his little leg back down toward neutral, allowing him to choose where to place his hoof. If the limb moves more quickly than I want, jerks around or stomps to the ground, I WILL NOT BLOCK HIM. I do not offer any resistance or force at any point.
If I resist or “help” him, then MY BRAIN is doing some or most of the work, and my target is to GET THE HORSE TO USE HIS BRAIN TO DO THE WHOLE MOVEMENT MINDFULLY.
EHS is “brain-work” rather than “body-work.”
Lastly, each time the hoof comes to the ground, if he doesn’t automatically put his weight back on the leg, I ask him to shift his weight over and stand on that leg – otherwise we risk leaving a bit of tension in Deep Digital Flexor muscle and tendon. This small bit of tension can accumulate over time and predispose the DDF tendon to injury if there is trauma or impact to the body in the future.
Are you ready to try the Initial Pick-ups of Equine Hanna Somatics with your horse?
Begin with the left front leg, and repeat each pick-up and slow put-down three times in a row before moving on to the next leg, inviting a total of 3x with each leg.
– The horse must do the work!
– Invite the pick-up and slow put-down without using force or providing resistance, only a gentle feel for direction.
– The horse chooses how high to pick up the limb.
– The SLOW return to neutral during the put-down is the MOST IMPORTANT PART!
– Do your best to avoid stretching or pulling on the horse.
– Don’t pet the horse much in between (in this video I pet the horse much more than usual, only because he is unsure of me and not familiar with EHS.)
I recommend that everyone do these Initial Pick-ups 3x with each leg every day with every horse! It just takes a few minutes, and makes a nice addition to your grooming routine that prepares your horse to feel and perform at his best, whether that means frolicking in the pasture or competing in a 3-Day Event with you on his back!
If you are eager to learn more, get the complete instructional video Equine Hanna Somatics Session 1 (CLICK HERE FOR ACCESS) and help your horse release even more muscles.
– Alissa Mayer
PS – Comments or questions? I invite you to leave them below – I love feedback and to hear about your experience using Equine Hanna Somatics with your horse.