I once had a passerby suggest that horses don’t need massages – she said that if she gave her horse a stimulating curry every day, she could achieve the same result. Of course, I am all for the benefits of a stimulating curry. A good grooming session is definitely relaxing and can stimulate circulation. However, there are additional benefits to a holistic bodywork program with a professional. I thought I’d take a minute in a blog post here to respond.
My goal as a professional is to support both you and your horse – When I work with your horse, I am happy to share observations with you, and hope that you will take an active interest in what you can do to promote soft tissue health for your horse. I often provide suggestions of key areas you may want to work on between sessions, stretches to try, etc. Massage can be an effective way to create an improved connection with your horse, and there are some good techniques I’m happy to share with you to get you started massaging your horse.
However, there are some specific advantages that I offer that you and your horse may appreciate:
- I am trained in a variety of massage and other therapeutic techniques. Additionally, I have training in anatomy and functional anatomy. As a result, when I palpate specific muscles, and note some trigger point, or other dysfunction I can identify what it is and what impact it may have. I might note a tight area in a muscle, and when I describe the area and the function of that muscle to the trainer will often concur …”ahhh, that makes perfect sense given his (fill in the blank… resistance – left lead to right lead change, or whatever)”.
Additionally, I actively and continually pursue training, knowledge and experience in my spare time to stay up to date with new techniques for your horse.
- I have cool tools: When I find restrictions, I may apply specific manual techniques to release them, or I may recommend additional modalities. I am trained in techniques such as cold laser, PEMF / Magna Wave, Kinesiology tape, Core muscle stim, etc that can help mitigate or resolve a specific issue. I can also use these tools to help address soft tissue injuries and expedite healing.
- I feel a lot of horses. Having spent many hundreds of hours touching and feeling horse’s muscles, fascia, soft tissues, I’ve developed a sense for things that are typical… or not. I might find an area of tension that many horses in heavy work carry. I also may note that something is anomalously tight or reactive. In some cases, I might find something unexpected and suggest a follow up with a vet.
For example, one of my clients has a pony who developed such a tight /painful neck that it became scary for the child to handle the pony — he was becoming quite grumpy and reactive. He was also moving slightly off behind, and the vet was out several times and focused his work on the hind end, with a series of joint injections. This pony was in regular bodywork sessions with me, and I went out to work on him during this time. As I worked on the anomalously tight neck muscles, I noticed a specific and unusual lump hidden out of normal palpation areas, which was quite sore. I consulted with the owner and her vet and when the vet re-examined the pony, he determined the lump I noticed was related to a torn ligament and all the tension and perhaps even the slight nebulous “offness” was related to the ligament and associated muscle tension. The vet provided an initial injection to help address some of the muscle spasms. I worked in conjunction with the vet, providing an extended course of massage and cold laser treatments, and now the pony is cheerful and sound again.
In short, please take advantage of my knowledge, tools and experience to help you and your horse be your best together!