AS OUR HORSES GUARDIANS WE HAVE TO BE THEIR 'VOICE'- Sue Palmer Chartered Veterinary Physiotherapist and Equine Behavioural Consultant


 “Just give it a smack!”

Recently I was chatting to a top level event rider, explaining that I specialise in looking at performance or behavioural issues from both a physio and a behaviourists point of view. I mentioned that in my opinion, almost all ridden difficulties have an element of physical pain contributing to the problem. Her response was 'But I suppose a good rider can beat them through it'. Posting this on my Facebook page has caused uproar.
Sue palmer haed and shoulders
The trouble is that she's right, although I would say 'strong' rider rather than 'good'. If the rider inflicts more pain than the physical issue, then in most cases it's the rider the horse will respond to. 

Horses have, after all, evolved to mask their pain with adrenalin in order to survive. In reality, most of us have some aches and pains, and yet we still function effectively and often successfully. I suspect it’s similar for horses. The difference is that horses have far more limited options when it comes to saying 'That's enough now, that hurts too much'. And so it's up to us as their guardians to be their 'voice', and do our best to treat them as we would hope to be treated ourselves.

Read more related Horse Behaviour articles
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Massage for horses
Spook busting for horses
Is your horse a head shaker
Keep calm and have a calm horse
The only way your horse can 'speak' to you is through his behaviour.
Keep your horse's back healthy

Sue Palmer Chartered Veterinary Physiotherapist and Equine Behavioural Consultant
Tel: 07976 413488 Web: