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Somatics (Horse + Rider)

3 Somatic Exercises for Hoof Care Practitioners

Hoof trimmers, farriers and riders alike all experience tension, soreness and fatigue in our hands, wrists and forearms… and this significantly limits our ability to work with as many horses as we would like on a daily basis. In this article, I’m going to teach you how to begin unwinding the tension that is responsible for so much of the chronic pain reported by Hoof Care Practitioners around the globe.

Using Pandiculation for Unwinding Muscle Tension

The method I use to help clients rapidly release and recover from muscle over-use, fatigue and chronic tension is called Hanna Somatics. It’s a safe, simple, science-based and time-tested method for changing the way your brain organizes and controls your muscles for movement, using a natural reflex called Pandiculation.

Somatic Exercises for Relaxing the Muscles of your Hands, Wrists, Arms & Shoulders

Let’s jump right in, shall we? Real quick, when you do the Somatic Exercises in the videos below, keep these guidelines in mind:

• Move slowly and gently to give your brain time to absorb feedback and make adjustments.
• Stay within your comfortable Range-Of-Motion, even if that is very small today!
• Avoid stretching, forcing, or pushing through resistance as you do these movements – keep it small and easy.
• The SLOW RELEASE is the most important part of each Somatic Exercise, so no rushing!

This first video is one of 8 video lessons you will find in my 7-Day Somatics for Riders FREE Challenge on Finding Your Soft Hands:

In this next video, meet one of my wonderful Hanna Somatics instructors, Susan Koenig! She teaches another great Somatic Exercise for the forearms that is a HUGE help for hoof-trimming muscles:

Hanna Somatics is not just for humans…

Help your client horses relax some of the same muscles in the forelimbs to ease tension on the deep digital flexor tendon, help a horse stand quietly while trimming and increase length of stride with this Equine Hanna Somatics exercise:

What is Hanna Somatics?

Hanna Somatic Education is a method created by Thomas Hanna and Eleanor Criswell, who also co-founded The Novato Institute for Somatic Research and Training – the original school teaching Clinical Somatic Education. Practitioners of Hanna Somatic Education and Equine Hanna Somatics (like me) use a series of specific protocols to address the most common postural patterns of chronic tension that affect humans and horses. Working with a certified HSE or EHSE is the fastest way to learn to overcome your specific tension patterns, but there are also a ton of online resources at your fingertips!

Getting the maximum benefits from Somatic Exercises

Depending on your learning style and preferences, you have several options to continue your somatics practice. You can search through YouTube for more videos posted by students and practitioners of Hanna Somatic Education or from one of the similar schools of Somatics that have popped up (usually started by graduates of The Novato Institute).

You can read the original book on the method written by Thomas Hanna, called Somatics – Reawakening the Mind’s Control of Muscles and Movement. (I highly recommend it!)

Or I can walk you through the process of starting the Somatic Exercises for your whole body, in my new online course called Somatics for Riders, The Intro Course (CLICK here to learn more and get started TODAY).

What’s most important to me is that you get this essential information into your hands ASAP, literally! I don’t want you to spend even one more day working with that burning in your forearms, or feeling that you grip on the nippers is failing you… the horses of the world need you!

Drop a comment below if you found this article helpful!

By Alissa Mayer

I’m a horse-girl obsessed with Hanna Somatics and behavioral science, which led me to develop a whole new approach to Horsemanship, Riding and Fitness. Find me in riding tights, eating pumpernickel bagels and working from home with my twins playing nearby and my horses out the window. My mission? To help horses and riders (and mama’s!) to unleash their inner athletes and feel great every day!

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