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Greet & Groom

Hors training Greet & Groom

The third connection exercise is the exercise “Greet & Groom”.

Horses who are best friends regularly scratch and rub each other lovingly with teeth and lips. Research has already shown that calming substances are released and the heart rate of horses drops during grooming.  So the third connection exercise consists of imitating this loving scratching and rubbing.

What’s the purpose of “Greet & Groom”?

The first objective is to check if your horses trusts you enough to let you touch him. Sometimes the bond appears to be very good after doing the first two connection exercises, but as soon as the human brings his hand up to the body of the horse, the horse becomes fearful, frightened or defensive.

When the horse lets himself be touched and groomed without any problems, you can start to look for his favorite spots to be groomed. This all sends the horse the message that we are his friend and partner.

Sometimes it might be the case that your horse simply does not feel like grooming, and leaves when you try to initiate it. Try not to take it personally, and allow your horse the freedom to express his opinions.

How do you do the exercise “Greet & Groom”?

horse training grooming

You build up this exercise on the same way as Greet & Go. That means: first take your time for Bonding Time, and after that you calmly step towards the horse. If you can meet your horse, then try to pet or groom your horse briefly. And after that you step away again.

If the horse signals that you are going too far, don’t try to go further. You are supposed to show respect to the horse by not forcing your touch on him. Turn around and step away again.

The goal is that after a while you are able to “groom” your horse and that your he enjoys it!

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    6 thoughts on “Greet & Groom

    By Lira on 5 April 2017

    What do I do if my horse doesn’t like grooming naturally- she never grooms other horses and other horses never groom her?

    By Karine-vandenBorre on 10 January 2018

    You don’t impose it on her, but you keep trying once in a while, and most horses then eventually change their mind. It could be that the connection is not strong enough yet, or it could just be how she is. It can also be you need to find her favorite spot or maybe your body language is not correct.

    By Lira on 5 April 2017

    Do these connection exercises work with wild horses that need to be gentled?

    By Jayden on 29 July 2017

    I would imagine that these exercises would be the best first contact because these horses have never seen people before.

    By Karine-vandenBorre on 10 January 2018

    Yes, of course!

    By Sophie on 17 April 2019

    Could you just comment about the basic signs that you’re going too far or that the horse doesn’t like what you’re doing? Moving away is an obvious one of course, but what are the others? (for example, turning the head towards your hands can mean different things…)

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