It’s hot here right now. Like really, really hot.
I know, I know, you’re thinking to yourself, “But how hot can it really be? You’re in Canada! You live in permafrost with ice castles!”
Ha! For the next week we have a forecast of daytime high of 38 to 43 degrees Celsius! (100 to 110 for those living with Fahrenheit, so Americans, basically :), so I think it is safe to describe the weather situation as hot.
As a general rule, we do not ride or ask our horses to exert themselves when the weather is much above 30 degrees C. Everyone will have their own individual threshold about when it is too hot or humid to ride and that will depend on the horse and what they are acclimatized to.
During the summer, this can mean some stretches of time when it is just too hot to comfortably ride. While this can seem like limitation it can actually be an opportunity to make a different kind of connection with your horse and gain a deeper awareness of their physical and mental balance. Obviously HOT weather is not the only time you can seize this opportunity.
Spending a few quiet minutes practicing some mindful TTouches are a great way to connect and listen to your horse on all levels, even by just adding a few minutes a day o0r week into your routine.
While there are literally dozens of ways we can “TTouch” a being, “Lick of the Cow’s Tongue” and “Inch Worm” are a couple of nice options for horses who may not initially feel initially comfortable with focused work.
The Lick of the Cow’s Tongue is a gentle, light pressure TTouch that provides a wonderful feeling of connection between the abdominal muscles and the back, as well as through the Thorasic Sling.
Horses who are defensive about their girth area or concerned about their flank often relaxed if this TTouch is approached incrementally and “chunked down”. Examples of “chunking down” this would be using the back of the hand, wearing a sheepskin mitt, or making the movement without actually making contact.
The “Inch Worm” is an extremely relaxing TTouch that can be done all along the horse’s topline. It is a wonderful way to support relaxation and release tension while gently moving the tissue in an inward and outward motion (LESS is ALWAYS more in this case).
Cresty horses or horses with back tension seem to have improved circulation and awareness through otherwise “woody” areas of tissue.
The Inch Worm is also a fan favorite at clinics because it feels REALLY good on people’s shoulders!
In this video, Robyn demonstrates “Lick of the Cow’s Tongue” and the “Inch Worm” on her senior gelding named “Randver” – a willing participant if there ever was one.
As with all TTouch work there is no “one size fits all”. Listen to your horse and adapt your approach to your horse’s feedback. In our experience, the more you listen to a horse’s whispers, the less they feel the need to shout!