“What if’s” and other questions on the Bladder Meridian/Search-Response-Stay-Release.
Now you’ve had time to practice some of the Techniques described in earlier Educational Fridays, and I’m sure you ALL have. (I know some of you haven’t because I have an app that can tell that!).
You may have some questions about things that have come up so far. Here are answers to some common questions (Sorry I can’t answer specific questions about your particular horse. I don’t have an app for that yet).
What if I get a response and stop, and then get no release?
Firstly, be patient and allow the horse time to feel what is going on, and time to be comfortable releasing it. You are on the horse’s agenda, not yours.
Secondly, keep your hand soft. If you feel nothing is happening, try softening your hand even more, or even taking your hand or fingertips off of the hair (see previous article). No matter how light you think your pressure is, lighten it even more. The horse’s first response when you find something will often be to try to block out what you are doing. But, if you stay long enough and lightly enough, the horse’s nervous system will HAVE to release.
After holding for 30 or 40 seconds if the horse doesn’t respond, then move on. It doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong. The horse may have released without telling you, or it may release after you move on. The effects are cumulative.
Sometimes I can’t tell if the horse is blinking at something else, or at me.
If you’re not sure that the horse has blinked at a spot in response to your touch, move your finger back a few inches before that spot and slowly go over it again. If he blinks on the same spot, there is a correlation between what you’re doing and what the horse is doing. It’s a response. If not, move on.
Note: Horses lick, chew, yawn, blink and twitch all the time. With this exercise you are looking for the correlation between your touch, and the horse’s behavior or response to it.
What if my horse starts to fuss or walk away?
Fidgeting is a sign that something is happening. If your horse is standing quietly and then he starts to fidget or take a step away, stay with him and continue what you were doing, but soften your hand just a little. Some horse’s will fidget more than others when they are about to release.
Note: When you see or feel the horse start to shift hos weight to walk away, move with him. If you get left behind and your hand comes off, he will know that this works and will continue to walk away if what you’re uncovering us uncomfortable. So move with him and don’t let your hand come off of the horse (unless you want to follow him around the stall all day).
What if he is “mouthy” or is constantly messing with the lead rope?
Continue with what you are doing, and watch to see what happens. Often the horse will stop fussing after he releases a little bit, but some horses are just mouthy and fidgety. You will get good at reading blinks and releases through the fussing with a little practice. Sometimes the response you’re looking for is when the horse stops fidgeting. Often this is when he will release.
If you have a horse-handler on the other end of the lead rope, the horse will often fuss with the handler. It’s important that the handler not interact with the horse while you’re doing this technique as it makes it difficult for you to read the horse.
Can I tie the horse while doing this?
Yes, especially if the horse is mouthy, won’t leave you or the handler alone, or continually walks away. I like to leave enough slack so that the horse can bend his neck or reach around a little bit. For safety’s sake it’s a good idea to tie the lead rope to a piece of baling twine or something that will break if the horse pulls back and starts to panic. The twine will break, the horse will calm down, and the stall will still be in one piece. You may tie or cross-tie a horse who will not stand or who is mouthy.
What if my horse bends his head away?
First, give the horse a little room to bend away so that he doesn’t feel trapped, but don’t pull back on his head. If you soften your hand, or back it away a few more inches it will help him to relax a little. If he still doesn’t want your hand on his poll then start down the neck a little ways until he is comfortable and go from there. You can come back up to the poll after he has relaxed a little bit.
Take your time with head-shy horses. This is what they need the most. Most head-shy horses are telling you they have discomfort or pain in the poll.
How often should I do the Bladder Meridian Technique?
You may do this technique as regularly and as often as the horse continues to give responses. You can do a little bit of this every day if your horse continues to respond. You don’t need to do the whole meridian every time. If you do it too frequently and the horse stop responding, then take a few days off and start up again later.
If I’m not right on the meridian will it still work?
Don’t worry about being exactly on the meridian. He will tell you where to work. You are learning to follow the horse’s responses. The bladder meridian is an energy pathway and doesn’t run in precisely the same place on every horse. You may, in fact, use this technique anywhere on the horse’s body, not just the meridians.
Do I have to do the whole meridian, or both sides?
No, you can do it partially, or just for a few minutes, or the whole horse.
One of the main goals of this technique is to connect with the horse, and get you both on the same page, so that he get that you’re not going to hurt him as you find and release his stuff, and you get to know how to read this particular horse.
Don’t worry; if you don’t get both sides of the horse done he won’t walk in circles for the rest of his life.
Will all horse’s respond and release the same?
After doing only a couple of horses you will notice that all horses are different. Depending on the horse, and your individual sensitivity, the length of time you spend on the entire Bladder Meridian will vary. Some horses are very stoic and will take longer to respond and release. On these horses you will have to go slower and pay very close attention to see the subtlest responses. Some will show responses but won’t release until you move past a spot, or step back away from them. Others will start responding immediately.