All horse owners know that a fearful or too-excited horse can be dangerous, or even deadly. Being able to calm your horse can be the difference between a safe, fun ride and a serious accident. Recently, the ClickRyder mailing list discussed techniques for calming a horse.
The most commonly recommended technique is "head down." Alexandra Kurland says that the horse's nose should actually touch the ground. Duration is also important. This is a behavior on which some list members recommend using the "300 Peck Pigeon" technique in order to add not just a few seconds, but several minutes, of duration.
Another technique discussed was bringing the horse's head around to the side. This technique received mixed reviews. Some liked the results, believing the neck stretch helps relieve tension. Alexandra, however, cautions that bringing a horse's head far back can trigger the shut-down effect horses experience when being taken down by a predator.