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”?
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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