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 how much the trust between you and your horse has grown and if he 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 and we have also found the favorite spots of the horse we give out a strong message to our horse, that we’re his friend and partner.
But it can also be that a horse just doesn’t feel like grooming and just leaves when you start it. That is not a problem, the horse is free to express his opinion.
How do you do the exercise “Greet & Groom”?
You build up this exercise on the same way as “Greet & Go”. That means: first taking 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 shortly. 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 horse enjoys it!
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