1. The first exercise targets the vertebrae of the poll, atlas and neck. Stand at your horse’s head on the near side with the fingers of your left hand resting softly on his nose. Place two fingertips of your other hand gently on his neck about a hand’s width behind and below his ear. Soften both arms and hands so that you are barely touching the hair. With the left hand, gently wiggle the nose about half an inch from side to side. Do four wiggles and stop. This is to check that the movement is still relaxed. Wiggle again and then stop. Repeat this a few times. If the horse finds this uncomfortable, then he is feeling tension in the postural muscles of the spine in this area. Don’t try to stop him from fussing or tossing his head. Instead, soften your hands even more and wiggle with even tinier movements. This will give him the opportunity to release the tension more comfortably. Do both sides in small increments, a little every day. “The reason a wiggle works is that it’s a tiny movement in a relaxed state that the horse cannot brace against,” said Masterson.
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