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 ARTICLES > TTouch > Groom’s Course – Swaziland 7 & 8 June 2003
  TTouch  Article:
Article By: Lindy Dekker       

Here in the southern end of Africa we have a unique situation. Most people who own horses have grooms employed to look after the horses , prepare them for riding and cool them down after work. In short – the grooms very often do everything with the horse except ride it. This means that the horses very often have very little connection with their owners and a far greater rapport with the grooms. It seems a pity then , that the owners/riders come on a TTEAM course , but have little opportunity to use these skills – when the grooms have all the opportunities. With this in mind , Robin Roth – owner of Hawane Stables in Swaziland asked if we could do a groom’s course – to empower the grooms to get a better connection with the horses they work with , as well as the satisfaction of having happy horses and hence happy employers.

Having recently qualified as TTEAM practitioner – I accepted the challenge and went to give this course over the weekend of 7th and 8th June 2003.

There were 8 grooms attending – all of them really keen to see what they could do to make their horses happy.

Day One:

We started with basic leading. No one had thought about why we traditionally lead next to the left shoulder with the halter clipped at the bottom. The grooms were really pleased to discover how much easier it was to lead from further forward – especially with pushy horses … they could stop the horse instead of going skiing !

After practicing leading and putting on the chain lead (it took me two 5 day courses to get that right – they got it after one showing !) – we did some basic TTOUCHes. Clouded Leopard, Raccoon and Python lifts. The grooms also learnt the Octopus – which they all thought was rather fun – and the horses really enjoyed them.

To end the first day we got out the grooming kits. The dreaded metal curry comb and other assorted instruments of torture were brought out and the grooms were asked to clean their own arms with the enthusiastic vigour that they use on the horses. This was a nasty surprise to many of them and for “homework” they had to find out from their horses which brushes they preferred !

Day Two:

The report back showed that most horses really didn’t like the metal curry comb (surprise !) and actually stopped being “naughty” when they were brushed with a softer brush.
We started our session with doing some “homing pigeon” leading work . It was great for the grooms to discover that it was often a whole lot easier for them and the horse to have two people leading , and they don’t really have to be “macho” and lead a difficult horse on their own. They also discovered that stroking the legs with the wand helped jumpy horses become grounded – which can be very useful when trying to keep a horse quiet for the farrier or at shows. There was a foal at the stables who had been giving difficulties with having his feet cleaned by kicking. After one session with some TTOUCHes and stroking with the wand – he was much better and the groom was happy that he could pick up the feet and clean them without being sent flying.
Later we tackled the belly lift , leg circles, ear work and mouth work. The groom is usually the first to know if one of the horses is ill and now at least they can do something while they wait for the vet to come. This is particularly important in remote areas – where it is often quite a long time before the vet gets there.

The horses really seemed to enjoy the practice sessions and the grooms were really pleased to have some more tools at their disposal to make their work easier and their horses happier.
It was a real privilege to help these people and I really applaud Robin for her enthusiasm and initiative to organize this.

Lindy Dekker

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