• Summer Nicole Terry

Let's Talk... Handling a Horse in the Aquatred

💁‍ Let's Talk... Handling a Horse in the Aquatred...

I've posted our handling protocols in the past, but thought it was time for another post. This is my opinion on why we handle horses a certain way in the aquatred. Meet my intern, Hope.⬇️ Notice in the first picture the horse wants to tilt his head and arc his body. She's using her hand and helping him balance while he works. The second picture shows him looking ahead with and being totally balanced. This is a correct frame.

I teach my workers to hold close to the halter and to pay attention to how the horse is moving in the water. I want these horses looking ahead, breaking at the poll, lifting their core, and moving balanced.

I want them to have the same frame they would have if you were riding them. I don't want their neck flattened out dragging them. I don't want their head bobbing or bouncing. I don't want them looking around and not paying attention. When you pick up your reins and ask your horse to collect up and do work... You expect proper frame and balance. If you're trail riding or just standing around for leisure, it doesn't really matter unless you have 10 foot of rein chunked out there and they decide to spook on the trail. 🤷‍

That brings me to my next point... Safety. If you've ever had one freak out on 6 foot of lead rope, I bet you learned real quick that the closer you are to the head, the more control you have of the situation... Same in our equipment. It's rare we have an accident, but the handler's feel of the situation is so much better closer to that horse. This is why we don't tie in or crosstie in the tread. I have racehorses that go 4 mph at a walk and I have to be on top of that situation at all times. Occasionally, you'll see me do a video of a horse walking loose in the tread. They are seasoned horses that know their job in the water and usually it's like a 30 sec clip and I'm back in my position. My goal is to get every horse were I can give them more rope and test their ability to hold the head placement I've taught them. Like a good reining horse looking effortless on a long rein, but that takes time and training. I'm training muscle and body condition, just like a trainer teaches a horse to control their body for an event.

It's not about just putting your horse in water... It's not that my equipment is magical, equipment is only as good as the therapist running it. It's about watching movements, paying attention to every step, looking for weakness and inconsistencies in gait. It's about retraining that muscle memory to create a better working ATHLETE.

— at Superior Therapy LLC.

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