Horses are masters at hiding pain. In the wild, if any weakness is exhibited, the horse risks being exiled out of the herd or becoming a victim from predators. They learn to hide, ignore and manage pain. They have the inability to tell us verbally. They instead, may act out in behaviors. This is overwhelmingly a misunderstanding. The horse needs us to listen...on a deeper level...to what they are saying.
"The part of the horse's autonomous nervous system that blocks out pain is called the sympathetic nervous system. This is the "fight, flight, or freeze" part of the nervous system. This is what kicks in and saves the horse's life when it senses, or feels danger.
The parasympathetic part of the nervous system is the part in charge of healing, resting, digesting and restoring.
The natural flight, fight or freeze response in the horse is very strong. As the owners, we work with this every day. This survival response does such a good job of blocking out pain or discomfort from a past incident that it doesn't easily allow the body to completely let tension associated with it go. The horse is in a sense, internally, always on the alert.
When you learn how to by-pass the horse's natural bracing and blocking response (sympathetic), then that part of the nervous system (parasympathetic), which allows the horse to release the tension it's been holding kicks in." -Jim Masterson (Founder)
In this relaxed state, a horse's joints are taken through a range of motion below the horse's natural bracing response. The horse then allows itself to release tension throughout the body. This allows improved athletic function, decreased pain and restores balance to the horse's body.