She has also developed what she calls the Sure Foot Equine Stability Program. The program centers on the use of stability pads that the horse stands on. Here's part of what the program website says about the how the program works, "The pads give under the horse’s weight bringing his attention to where he is placing his feet and providing new information to the balancing part of his nervous system. With this awareness the horse explores, shifts and alters his habitual patterns of standing and moving by himself, ultimately choosing a more secure and effective way to stand and move. The horse retrains himself to stand better without human interference."
It goes on to say, "In addition to reprogramming the balancing portion of the brain there is obviously an affect on the instinctive part of the brain. While it cannot be fully explained there is a calming effect, shifting the horse from the fight & flight reaction or sympathetic autonomic nervous system (ANS) response to the grazing or parasympathetic (ANS) response. Some horses experience an even deeper level of relaxation believed to be caused by a release of endorphins somehow triggered by standing on the pads."
I learned about the program during the clinic and Nimo got to try out the stability pads during our session. I remember that he saw them laying on the ground and he was desperate to check them out. When he finally got the chance to stand on them, I had to use my whip to encourage him to get off of them because he loved standing on them so much. I've been meaning to buy the pads since that clinic so Nimo could try them out some more, but somehow a year went by before I got around to ordering the pads (they cost $75 for a set of two).
Well, they came about a week ago, and I found time to try them out last night. (By the way, there is a DVD that provides some instruction for using the pads, which I absolutely own and have never watched. You might want to watch it before experimenting with these pads if you haven't had a clinic session with Wendy first.)
I set the pads out in the round pen and turned Nimo out there to see what he would do. There was a lot of checking things out because I think I've had him in that round pen about twice in as many years, but eventually, he wandered over to sniff the pads.
|Dear God! Is that a bear out there?|
|Look, woman! THERE IS A BEAR OUT THERE!|
|OMG! How many pictures do you need?|
|Close-up of the pads|
I'm planning on working with him some more on the pads tonight, so I'll plan to post tomorrow about how things go.