Performance Horse Hacks: Get Grounded - nervous horses and nervous riders
Updated: Oct 9, 2019
This series is created for those in equine performance that are looking for an edge on the competition. Each article will be grounded in ONE skill, tweak or technique that will help your arena results. Make sure to subscribe to IntegratedEquine.net and download your free ebook before you begin! Sometimes the little things are actually the things that make a BIG difference. Paying attention to hooves, health, and horsemanship will be what buys you skills to change.
Performance Horse Hacks - Get Grounded
We always seem to need something to fix our problems. If it wasn’t the rodeo ground (like we already talked about here) it was our horse’s misunderstanding (like we talked about here). And if it wasn’t our horse’s problem is was definitely pilot error! If you are a good jockey you are probably also good at taking the blame at when things go wrong.
What is the latest gimmick you bought on to? Was is a philosophy? Tactic? Training aid?
We’ve all been round the track a few times when a certain product or person has promised certain results that have left us just as confused as when we started. Do I blame the ground? Do I blame my horse? Do I blame myself? So many questions!
How can we ever calm our nerves long enough to make a 16 second run, or clean ride around the ring? It’s easy - we just have to get grounded.
One of the biggest complaints I get when someone is disappointed in the way a run went is that someone either: A. doesn’t understand something well enough to get a result or B. doesn’t have enough money to invest in the resource that will yield the desired result.
What if I told you that you already have the tool you need to help not only your doubts, insecurities, and influences about riding? What if I told you already have what you need to help with every and all aspects of your horse’s inadequacies ?
It’s true, You have the power to tip the first domino to ‘All Systems Go’ ! Which happens to be Performance Horse Hack #4
The order of most things in life is that things happen in steps. And steps with action lead to a result. We are going think of this performance horse hack as the first domino we are tipping to start affecting our horses health and our own mentality in competing in a positive way. The systems we are trying to tip into a state of wellness are in fact ‘all systems’ of the horse. The physical, mental, and emotional.
Seem to crazy to be real? How can a tool you already have possess the power to tip the first domino in the line to wellness ? I promise it’s not crazy at all.
A case study that was done over a period of 20 years on 30,000 horses has something to say about getting grounded before you make a run. Dr. Thoresen observed that of 30,000 horses; 95% of those horses had at least one reactive ting point. And the more stressed the horse was the more reactive ting points would be.
So basically if we were to cut to the chase: Your horse has at least one reactive ting point. (yes you) And probably more than one.
WHAT IS A TING POINT?What you need to know is this: A ting point is a starting or ending point of an energetic meridian where blood flow circulates in the body. Ting points, also known as ‘acupoint’ can be seen microscopically as well as felt physically along the hair line of the hoof. There are 6 Ting points live along each of the hoof’s coronary bands. Ting points, also known as ‘acupoint’ can be seen microscopically under the hairline.
WHAT DOES A TING POINT DO?Everything. Since these tiny ting points are like tiny inlets starting or ending points of energy meridians it means they access the whole river. Traditional Chinese Medicine as well as recent discoveries in Modern Medicine both point to ting points as being a part of the 12 meridian channels of chi (energy) and blood flow in a horse. There are 6 points on the front feet and 6 points on the back feet - added together accounts for all 12 meridian systems in the horse.
WHAT DOES A MERIDIAN(mah-rid-dee-ann) DO? Everything. Science can only partially explain how energy works in the body and what exactly it connects to. A lot of acupoints are innervated and what the nerve connects to is often a specific place in the body like an organ. But just as the blood circulates everywhere in a body, so does the energy. And just like stepping on a lego - your brain can feel and react to a stimulation to an innervation!
Here is a very short and condensed list on what ting points have been studied in relieving:
soft tissue issues (tendon and muscles)
hoof issues (laminitis, abcess, founder)
So if your horse is a victim of one or more of these issues attacking his wellbeing (which statistics say he IS) then ting points could be something to try!
Sound to good to be true? Try it.
But first who this is probably not for:
A wiggle worm: If you or your horse are green, can’t hold still or stand square quietly and confidently for several minutes. Maybe work on safe hoof handling and polite standing before you go hanging out down by the feet for a spell.
A time cruncher: If you are in a mad dash to get this done (especially the first time) don’t expect colorful results. Deadlines often kill the results that will make you feel alive.
A nayser: If you think or say it won’t work - it probably won’t. So don’t waste your time.
Here is the good stuff - you don’t need a fancy piece of equipment to do this with. If you want to use a tool like a cold laser/red light/magnent wrap/ magnet machine/ sound wave machine/tuning forks/ acupuncture you totally can.
You can use your hands!
To find the ting points all you need to do is be good at telling - time on a clock. The points are located 12 o’clock, 6 o’clock, 2 o’clock, 4 o’clock, 8 o’clock, and 10 o’clock. 6 points along the hair line (coronet band) all equidistant (evenly spaced) from each other.
From there, given the reference point of a clock - you can feel for a ‘depression’ or ‘hole’ in the coronary band. It will be about the size of an index finger to fall straight into. You may or may not be able to outwardly see the hole but you will certainly be able to feel it.
After you have located all the points (6 on each hoof) you can now tip the domino! IE: stimulate the acupoint!
But wait - don’t you have to know what each acupoint is called and what it can do along with what charateristics it can aid with????
NO. You don’t need to know it all to make a difference. (But you could get the app.)
In order to stimulate an acupoint/ting point you simply need to rub or massage the area with light to moderate pressure. Massage each point for a few seconds and watch how your horse receives this new input to the nerves down in his feet. You can rub (with about the pressure you could tolerate your closed eyeball receiving) for about 60 seconds.
Typically a horse will do the following if you are being effective with ‘tipping the domino’ :
lick and chew
wiggle body around and then relax
want to lick something (like the rail)
want to chew something (like a stall door)
What if my horse does ‘nothing’. That’s okay - remember that case study we talked about? It can take up to 4 days for a ting point to yield results.
When doing ting point therapy its best to activate (massage all the points) every other day or once every 2 to 3 days. No need to do ting point therapy every single day. In fact TCM recommends not stimulating acupoints daily, but waiting a day or two before stimulating them again due to the circulation of chi (don’t ask me…ask the Chinese).
If you are introducing ting points to a horse for the first time be careful. Most horses enjoy it. And most horses are tolerant of getting sports medicine boots strapped on so they should be equally tolerant of getting their hair line massaged. But I have heard of horses getting antsy (remember we are stimulating blood flow) so pay attention when doing anything ‘underneath the hood’ or the hooves. I wouldn’t recommend cross tying, hard tying, or tying to a rail or trailer until you are sure of how your individual horse will act. After a horse knows what you are doing - you can incorporate ting point therapy into your pre-run routine at the trailer if you deem it safe.
On the clients and horses I have introduced ting point therapy to - both horse and human have shown incredible results. The biggest struggle for competitors or serious riders is being confident that they did the best they could, with what they knew, on that horse, on that day. Adding ting points to the mix can add faith that by tipping the first domino in the line (inlet of the river) that you ARE indeed doing the best thing for your horse. Grounding our confidence in well intended actions is better than guessing and taking no action at all. Investing our wellness regiment from the ground up, ON something literally (proprioceptively) grounding will ground our confidence!
Hey y’all! Are you starting to notice a theme and theory with all this ‘From the ground up’ stuff?
Subscriber Challenge: Performance Horse Hack #4: Tip the first domino for to all systems go!
Send me a picture or video of how YOU are going to apply this hack: “Tip the first domino for all systems go” to your individual horse or situation. How will you offer a side-effect free wellness boost to your program? This can be with or with out tools!