What if My Horse Tries to Kick me?
If he’s tries to kick you, it’s because you’re finding something with your hand that he’s been covering up and blocking out, but now that you’ve found it it’s bothering him. He’s now letting you know you’ve found something uncomfortable. You don’t even have to know what it is, just that he’s feeling it. Your job now is to help him release whatever it is. The best thing to do is soften and back your hand away to the point where he’s comfortable with that distance, and wait. That’s the Stay part of Search Response Stay Release. This will allow the horse to start releasing in a more comfortable manner.
Once he lets you know he’s uncomfortable by kicking out, you can start a little farther forward of the hind leg where it’s safer, and slowly and more softly (maybe even with your hand a little farther away) start retracing your way back again. If you go slowly enough and pay close attention to his eyes and ears, you’ll probably get some sign of when he’s getting uncomfortable before he starts to pick up his foot. When that happens, just keep your hand where it is and wait for him to release some there before going on.
Also consider this; If he had really wanted to kick you, he would have kicked you. What he did was let you know that you found something uncomfortable. Since we’re paying attention to what the horse is telling us, and we’re respond by changing something and making it a little more comfortable for the horse, then the he will start to recognize that we’re listening to us, and he’ll start trusting us more. And when he releases, then he’ll trust us even more.
Some other things
It’s important that you not do any techniques with a hard hand. If you use a hard hand, or use too much pressure, the horse is going to tense up internally and brace and it won’t work. If you’re not getting any Responses, then soften your hand, and your intention:), and see what happens.
If you’re doing it so softly you couldn’t believe it would work, that’s probably the way you should be doing it. It’s a little counter-intuitive for humans as we feel like we always have to be mechanically doing something to make things happen.
With this method all we’re doing is bringing the horse’s awareness to something it’s been blocking out in order to survive, sending a signal to the horse’s nervous system that it’s ok to release it, and waiting for it to happen.
Doing Light To the Core bodywork can help you see what’s going on with your horse’s body and how he’s using it, as well as helping him to release the tension.