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  • Writer's pictureKristie Cotton

All We hear is Horsey Ga Ga

” The best thing I try to do for myself is to try to listen to the horse. ” – Tom Dorrance

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Incredible thoughts from an incredible Horseman. This man began an entire ” cult ” with horse whispering. A label He did not like at all ,  He wanted the human to present himself and his request to the horse in a way that the horse could understand and respond to appropriately. This means that the human needs to understand the horse enough to ask only for what the horse is prepared to do. – Excerpt from ”  Beef magazine ”

Using the word ” prepared, ” Tom referred to not only the mental state of the horse, but the physical coordination as well. In relationships, if we are always wondering what the other person is thinking about, this creates anxiety in any situation…Many times I read a horses likes, dislikes of what I am introducing. We can’t just leave it at the horse doesn’t like that. We need to think on a deeper level of the horses physique.

Bucking horses have never been that big of a deal to me.  ( I will be releasing a blog on a buck that was a big deal! ) It is usually a simple answer to why they buck. Discomfort from a tooth, saddle, improperly balanced gait or even a learned reaction that was never addressed. Then there is the bucking that is from extreme physical pain or emotional trauma.

I have had great success with re educating behavior issues. There is one horse I think about quite often now that I have completed a therapy in motion class. A woman had chosen a beautiful Thoroughbred from a rescue. She wasn’t sure of his history with training. She knew she could sit on him but if she asked him to go forward one step, He would violently buck her off. Great, I will start over as if I am starting a colt…


What a sweetheart he was. Sure enough, no matter if I had saddle or just a bareback pad, he bucked. As I sat in the dirt, I remember watching him and thinking how odd it was that he continued bucking violently although he had successfully got rid of me. We had the veterinarian do a thorough exam, spinal x rays, check for ulcers, etc. There was no medical reason for his behavior. We tried massage, chiropractic. Finally, we both agreed that there was some deep rooted reason He did not want to be ridden.


I wish I knew then what I know now…kissing spine, where the spinous processes are touching or rubbing against each other.

     It is sometimes difficult to diagnose as with some horses, they only move and touch when horse is in motion. x- rays are done at a standstill.

Turner, of Anoka Equine Veterinary Services, in Elk River, Minn. Quotes-                            

“It’s not hard to understand why back pain or anything that interferes with a horse’s back will interfere with its movement,” said Turner. “Any contraction in the (back) muscles causes ventral (toward the abdomen) flexion of the spine, which makes it impossible for the horse to engage its hind end and meet its athletic potential.”

Addressing back muscle imbalance is an important part of ” listening to your horse ” Massage and chiropractic will only have positive results if the horse physique is being re educated in motion. Equine surgeon Bruce Bladon points out that a colleague in Sweden who has operated on a lot of kissing spines cases has more recently had excellent results — without surgery — with horses sent to a rider experienced in equine rehabilitation and re-schooling.

Bone masses are adjusted to control the strains produced by mechanical load and muscular activity. My daughter has a deformed spine. She was fused at the thoracic, leaving the lumbar for mobility. Unfortunately, the mechanical stresses placed on her lumbar caused a vertebrae to completely rotate forward, an attempt to accommodate the muscular imbalance. No one knew this was happening as she had learned to accept pain. This wreaked havoc on her emotional and physical well being. The focus was not on her back, it had been fused. Everyone focused on the symptom, suggesting core exercises, special shoe inserts, etc. This led a path of focusing on everything, except the root cause.

Accommodating muscle imbalance with blow up saddle pads, extra padding, or restraints to place the horse in a ” frame ” are only creating more problems. You are ignoring the horses discomfort altogether, when focusing on ” Horses thoughts.”

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. – Quote by Wayne Dyer  

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