stimming around horses




infiniteandsmall askedrealsocialskills: 
Hi! I love your blog, and I had a question. I work as a groom at a barn with a thearaputic riding program, and when the people who sidewalk don’t show up I have to step in.

Several of the riders have stim by moving their hands which pulls on the horse’s mouth painfully and could possibly make the horse do something dangerous like bucking or rearing. I am non-neurotypical so I know how much stimming helps but I don’t want to tell them my solution (kicking/nudging with my legs which has the added benefit of steering the horse and helping it collect and balance itself) because I would be outed and would lose my job and because if the kicks were too hard too frequently it could also spook the horse.

I don’t know anything about horses or your specific program, but:

Would it be possible to tell the kids you work with the solution without telling them it’s something you use personally?

For instance, could you say something like, “Hey, I’ve noticed that you need to move a lot. When you wave your hands like that, it pulls on the horse and that hurts. Can you try swinging your legs instead?”

Does anyone with experience with horses and stimming want to weigh in?

Uh. It sort of depends on how a horse is trained, but what my aunt always did when she let me take out her horse (a gelding who was trained for circus) for a ride, was that she used a different bridle for him.

Usually, a bridle involves a bit, a piece of metal that goes between a horse’s teeth, and pulling the reins will pull on that metal, which hurts the horse. But if a horse is well-trained and calm, using a bridle without bit works just as well, and if you use soft rope or a nylon halter, then pulling the reins will not impress the horse much.

I’m not quite sure whether I used the correct words, since I’m not a rider and English is not my native language, but I hope this is understandable and at least somewhat helpful.

Thank you! We do have reins that clip to halters, but we also lead the horses and so I know they like to have a bit in the horses’ mouth just for safety. The lesson have around five riders each, so they like to make sure that someone with experience has control of the horse in case something goes wrong. Especially in a smaller space, one horse getting spooked kind of leads to a pile-up. 

And now I’m kind of headdesking because *why didn’t I think of just putting it in more abstract terms* I’m pretty sure that would work.