There is a Secret spot that every horse
has that he is not sure he trusts you to know about.
When I first began my apprenticeship,
I was starting a lot of horses, but they were
not young and curious 2 & 3 year olds,
they were old, smart and seasoned 5 year olds.
They were established in their horse-ness, had never even had a halter on, and I was of minor importance.
I started to discover something that has really helped me get through to a lot of scared or troubled horses and I have later learned in my journey from the Greats of Horsemanship that there is in fact a spot that every horse has that he doesn’t trust you to know about!
A Trust Spot
A Trust Spot is a place on the horse where they are not comfortable having you touch them because it is their most “sacred” or sensitive spot.
Have you ever noticed your horse doesn’t want you to touch his ears?
Does your mare go nuts if something touches her back legs?
Does your gelding panic when something gets between his tail and his bum?
Does your mare lift her head in the air when you go to touch her muzzle?
These are all examples of trust spots.
Identifying and working quietly with your horse’s trust spot can help improve your relationship with your horse and inadvertently help you with other issues you may be having.
Some Exercises to Help:
Mindy Bower has people sit on the fence and have their horse come up to the fence for the rider to mount. First, you must be able to get the horse up to the fence in each direction. This helps tremendously with the nervous horse and the horse that doesn’t like his ears, face or poll touched. Not only do you get to work on switching eyes (VERY important!) and getting your horse handier from an awkward position, you get to work on touching him from above, both of which take a tremendous amount of trust from the horse.
Recently, at a clinic with Buster McLaury, he talked about using a rope to work with your horse. This a great and safe way to work with a horse that doesn’t like you to touch her hind end and/or kicks out a lot. You don’t have to be a skilled roper and it gives you a good opportunity to practice a new skill! There was a mare at the clinic whom the rider was having a tough time with, so Buster just worked on quietly tossing the rope over her rump. She was vey upset, but they were in the round pen so she was able to freely move around to work through her discomfort and get it sorted out. Now, even though she wasn’t 100% OK afterwards, there was a very small change towards improvement. That small change GREATLY improved how she responded to the rider once he was on her. He said she was like “butter”. 😉
Don’t make a big deal out of your horse’s trust spot….. Just work on it every day a little.
I have a mare whose trust spot was under her belly. At first, when I would go to run my hand under her belly, she would pin her ears and snap her teeth. Everyday, I would just run my hand softly under her belly. Each day she got better. Every time I saw her, I would quickly run my hand from her side to under her belly. Pretty soon, she was just raising her head and putting her ears slightly back. One day, I did it and she stood perfectly still with her ears forward as I slid my hand under. She let me do it several times and even took a big deep breath and started to lick and chew. I made a big deal about it and rubbed her all over. Now, her favorite spot for me to scratch is under her belly.
Find your horse’s trust spot! Share below what you find out about your horse. I am curious to hear what you discover!