Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Here it is. Finally. Steen in his wug:

Today I headed to the barn alone for the first time in quite a while. My leg is mending and I was itching to head out and see my buddy. I found him doing his usual thing and brought him indoors, trying my best to stay relaxed while I groomed him in hopes he would do the same.

I came across an interesting tidbit in some horse-reading not too long ago. The author emphasized the importance of smiling at nervous horses, saying equines are smart enough to understand human expressions, and also smiling relaxes your own body. Given Steen's capacity for coming unglued indoors lately, I thought it couldn't hurt to try. I chatted with him while I groomed him like usual, but I also made a point to smile at him every chance I got.

I got him tacked up with only a little swiveling and fidgeting. The ride was mostly good. I kept things largely at the walk due to the soreness of my stitches, and concentrated on subtle steering exercises with seat-bones and leg. Steen did well with these, and seemed to enjoy waiting to see what I would ask next.

Towards the end of the ride, a few weird thumps sounded outside the arena and Steen started getting nervous. I made him stop and stand for a moment, then dismounted. He was looking around anxiously, so I stretched and yawned and smiled at him. He seemed to calm down. I took him back to the grooming area and praised him and scratched his neck in the place he likes best. The nerviness seemed to pass instead of escalate. I put his blanket on and he was patient as I fumbled with the buckles. So, who knows? I'm curious to see how this plays out over time. Certainly, smiling at my horse doesn't cost me anything and if it helps, all the better.


  1. I think smiling at your horse is likely to simply make you feel happy which your horse picks up on. Either way tho, I agree with you. Even, if the only thing smiling at your horse does is make you feel happy, it's worth it.

  2. Yeah, I think it's just a good way of remembering to relax and enjoy horse-time. :)


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