Lay Down

Wylene has been laying down horses for over 20 years and is passionate about the method she's developed. Horses are who taught her how to do it, not humans. She looks at the lay down as a lie detector test. She knows it's advantageous to find out what a horse is thinking and how he is going to react when put into a pressure or vulnerable situation. Being prey animals, every horse has a defense mechanism, however, like personalities they are all different. Say you need to saddle your horse for the first time, or your horse is spooked by something, or you need to use clippers before a show, wouldn't it be great to know how your horse will react to new situations? Will he buck, bite, kick, rear, strike or bolt? Maybe do nothing at all? The laydown shows you just what mechanism he chooses in pressure situations so you can be prepared for them. It's preparing them for an accident that could potentially show up

 

Through the laydown, you help him learn how to handle himself through new situations in new environments with a better chance of success for both handler and horse. It helps him develop confidence, patience, trust, and respect. 

 

Time and again she has seen how beneficial it is to laydown a horse, and believes all horses should experience it. It's transformative on a psychological level, and like a therapy session, the horses are able to let go of the anxieties and emotions they've been holding onto. This is not about trying to muscle a horse to the ground or hurt him, it's about allowing them to choose his own laydown. No one lay down is alike, they are different. 

There is a series of events that unfold once the horse is down on the ground which is exactly the crucial portion of the lay down that I seek to find when they are one the ground. Wylene is looking for three things: first, the horses eyes will soften which indicates his mind is softening, second, his breath will change indicating more of a physical softening, and third the tail will soften and open up. These are all things I look for on the ground as I am laying on their body so I can feel them and they can feel me. I go from predator to partner. 

"I attended my first clinic with Wylene in Cheyenne, WY. I brought my horse, a 15 year old gelding I've owned for four years. When I first got Hawkeye he was ridden with anxiety. Whoever he was with before I got him, must have handled him really heavy. He would get locked up in the bridle easily, was typically ridged in his body. Although we had grown tremendously together throughout my time with him, I knew he was still holding on to a lot of anxiety. The lay down literally changed his life. It was like it switched gears in his brain. He has changed COMPLETELY. He's softer than he's ever been. He handles himself with ease when put in high pressure situations. I would HIGHLY recommend doing it with any of your horses. It will translate into so many things you try and do, not only on the ground but under saddle. It's incredible!" - Lauren P.

© 2023 by Wild West Horsemanship. Images by Charles E. Brooks or Wylene Davis.

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