By Missy Wryn
By the time Hero came to me he was shouting in the only way he knew how BUCKING! He was a six-year-old Quarter horse who had been team penning and trail riding but bucked his owner off numerous times and had now become completely unruly and dangerous. In the hopes of getting Hero back under control Angela, his owner, sent him to a natural horsemanship trainer with promises made that he could fix Hero and get him trained well in thirty days. After three weeks with the trainer, he told Angela “You need to sell this horse, he’s worthless”. The comment took Angela’s breath away. Devastated and heartbroken, Angela had to face the decision of trying to sell him or possibly have him euthanized since he was so dangerous “who would want to buy him” she wondered.
Angela phoned me one afternoon explaining she had seen my website specializing in problem and dangerous horses and felt I was her last resort. She explained that she no longer believed training could be of any help after her experience with the former trainer, but I convinced her to give me an opportunity to work with Hero since I believe there was a source to Hero’s behavior, and we simply needed to identify and treat the source. We agreed on thirty days with Hero at my training center and weekly lessons for Angela to learn herd leadership and my holistic horse training techniques.
The horse arrived frightened, freaked out and completely soaked in sweat and trembling. It had been six months since his experience with the other trainer, so he was pretty fresh off the pasture and wild eyed. Within the first twenty-four hours I did a W-Holistic Joining to establish my leadership so he would settle down and know he was within a herd that had a competent leader, me. Horses are genetically wired to require a herd leader at all times no matter the size of the herd and especially in a herd of two, you and your horse. Without a herd leader horses continue to be stressed and can act dangerous and recklessly harming themselves and anyone in their way.
Once Hero recognized me as his herd leader, I was able to assess physical and emotional wellbeing as well as his training knowledge – who he is, what he knows and how he does it. I learned he could back up, move forward and stop, drop his head, and lunge fairly well. Since Angela told me that “he bucks for no reason” I checked his body for pain and soreness. Sure enough at the withers on the right side he ducked and muscles quivered under my thumb pressure of only 2 lbs. I further noted that his right and left hip and sacrum area were very sore too. I contacted Angela and explained that I would not ride Hero until he was seen by my equine chiropractor who was scheduled for a visit the following week. So, for the next week, while awaiting the chiropractic appointment, I worked with Hero on ground manners using bonding, compassion and my Training the WHOLE Horse® techniques allowing him to come up with the correct answer without using fear, pain or food. During that week I built a trusting companionship with Hero as he learned that I was a kind and consistent herd leader he liked to be with.
The following week the chiropractor arrived and met the now lovely but concerned Hero “who is this, is he taking me away and is he going to hurt me”. All these thoughts you could see running through Hero’s mind at warp speed. The chiropractor offered his hands to Hero’s muzzle filling his nostrils with the scent of lavender helping him to relax and giving Hero a first good impression. The doc started at the head feeling in the poll and atlas area along sown to the TMJ. He reached around and pulled Hero’s head to his side giving him a hug and POP – the doc let go and Hero stood there “what just happened. Oohh I feel good” as Hero licked his lips. The doc made a couple more moves on his head with his fist in his neck and pulling on the halter, BANG went C5 and C6 (cervical 5 and 6). We stood back and waited, and then Hero took a deep breath and a long sigh blowing out his nostrils and licking his lips.
Now to the shoulders, the doc gently picked up the right leg and WHOA Hero came off the ground with both feet explosively. The doc got out of the way and exclaimed “man he is really hurting!” He gently lifted the leg and again Hero came off the ground, but the doc was prepared holding him in the adjusting position and BOOM went the shoulder. We stood back, waiting for the lick and chew, but nothing. The doc and I looked at each other; we both heard it, but nothing. So, he picked up the leg again and tried a different position, but again nothing. He tried another position, yet again nothing. We knew he got it, but something else was in the way of the full release of pain. The doc stuck his fist low in Hero’s neck and pulled on the halter and POP went T1, and “blaaaaahhhhh” went the horse through his nostrils with a full body shake while dropping his head licking and chewing. He got it!! T1 was holding up the progress.The doc palpated the area and no signs of pain, no quivering skin or ducking under pressure, phew. He completed the horse’s adjustments with hip and sacrum, tail, and whorl bone along with both floating ribs. By the time he was done Hero was completely relaxed; I hardly recognized him with contentment and softness in his eyes.
After two days off due to Hero’s adjustments he was ready to resume training. By the end of the week, I was riding Hero without incident. We danced around the arena over poles and tarps, trotting and cantering with delight. By addressing Hero’s pain, I now had his full attention and focus along with his undying loyalty and companionship.
Consider the WHOLE horse before you reprimand or start “training” the behavior. Think about acting within your horse instead of acting upon your horse. Simply training the behavior is “allopathic training” which means you are only treating the symptom, training the behavior, not addressing the source or the reason for the behavior. There are reasons your horse acts the way he does. Think about how your horse may have been telling you something was wrong long before he started shouting with hurtful or dangerous behavior.
Missy Wryn is a Holistic Natural Horse trainer working with the WHOLE horse. Specializing in problem and dangerous horses, Missy has developed a unique, pain free, fear free and no treats approach to training horses. No more running around in a round pen scaring and exhausting the horse and exhausting you. Truly a new and easier approach to understanding herd language and effective communication that your horse will honor and respect while having fun and being safer. Visit HolisticHorseAcademy.com for information about Missy, her Training the WHOLE Horse® program. Call 888-406-7689 to schedule Missy for your event or clinic in your area, or email Info@HolisticHorseAcademy.com.