19 Aug 2020 Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours!
Three-quarters through the COVID year and our horses are in better mental shape than humans!
Online yoga, drinking coffee alone in a parking lot with WiFi, and catching up on horse magazines under a ceiling fan were my happy places.
My horse, Darcy, and his field buddy, Ripley, preferred daily doses of mutual grooming. These two committed to their comfort routine!
Mutual grooming fascinates me. Nose to tail. Rotation of head under the neck to change position. A mini-herd within a herd is born.
Mutual grooming reduces tension allowing another horse to reach those difficult places requiring attention—unspoken personal space rules on hold.
According to researchers at Michigan State University, mutual grooming is considered one of the eleven most important horse behaviors related to herd dynamics.
Human grooming of the withers, neck, back, and flank areas mimic the spots horses choose to reduce tension, too. Weather and season play a part in a horse’s enthusiasm for mutual grooming, especially when thick winter coats are itching and ready to shed.
Practical reasons aside, mutual grooming for horses equates with humans enjoying a massage.
Maybe we should re-think our own happy places?!