As we mentioned above, the horse's posture and locomotion will influence the feet, and vice-versa. If you want to help your horse be in great shape from head to toes, it can be interesting to combine hoof care with bodywork.
For example, if a horse has a weak hind end, it will not push off its hind toes; they will not wear normally. Of course we will shorten the toes, but if we also use massage to release the muscular tension preventing full range of motion, kinesiotape to improve their posture and muscle tone, and also strengthen the hindquarters through remedial training, your entire horse will be much better balanced.
Muscular problems usually occur because the horse isn't using its body properly. For this reason, we offer remedial training sessions to help your horse move correctly when you ride them. We will use exercises to supple, relax or reinforce muscle groups, as well as proprioception work, depending on your horse's needs.
We have a preference for ground work - in hand, long-lining and lungeing. We like working on the training plan with the owner, their coach and the rest of the horse's care team.
We can also combine remedial training with private lessons for maximal efficiency and consistency.
Here is some scientific information on therapeutic exercising of the horse.
You will find more detailed information on bodywork, its benefits and the techniques we use below.
Every bodywork session includes a posture and gait assessment before and after the session, a progress plan that includes specific exercises and stretches, as well as post-bodywork stretching.
As explained above, there are many contraindications to bodywork. We will not work your horse if your veterinarian recommended against it, or if we think that your horse should first be examined by a veterinarian.
Here is some research on the effects of massage on athlete horses.
Equine Kinesiology taping is an amazing, non-invasive tool that can help equines in a variety of situations, such as:
- assist muscles when they are under-developed (for example, when returning to work after a period of rest)
- release muscles that are too tight, sore or stressed
- support joints and ligaments after an injury or when the area is weak due to conformation
- remove restrictions in the fascia
- decrease swelling and inflammation
- improve posture and proprioception
We will assess your horse and work on a plan to bring them back into balance. When the tape needs to be applied for an extended period of time, we will show you how to apply it.
Anne holds two different certifications for equine kinesiotaping and takes every opportunity to learn more about the modality. For an example of the use of tape post-surgery, click here.
Animal Neuro-Myofascial Release: ‘’myo’’ means ‘’muscle’’ and the fascia are thin layers of connective tissue enveloping the muscles. Any fascial blockage will affect the musculo-skeletal system and impair proper locomotion. And any dysfunctional area along the spinal cord can lead to decreased nervous and vascular flows to the organs.
ANMR is a combination of instrument stimulation and release (using an Activator Adjusting Instrument), manual adjustments, stretches, and stimulation of specific acupuncture points utilizing a cold laser. It allows the body to balance itself by re-establishing neurological communication within the vertebral segments.
It is particularly useful with horses that have become uneven for no apparent reason. We use a light body massage before the treatment to assess tension and to facilitate the adjustment. For research on the efficiency of the activator, click here.
Craniosacral therapy aims at restoring balance in the horse. It is a very safe, light touch technique that releases tensions and restrictions along the head, spine and fascia.
Horses with behaviour issues, anxiety, trauma or who just don't like being touched tend to enjoy craniosacral therapy as it is less invasive than massage.
It's also a good alternative when massage is contra-indicated for the horse.
Here is an article on the use of craniosacral therapy for equine cancer patients.
Swedish massage was created by Per Henrik Ling, a Swedish fencing master and physiologist. He put together a system of massage based on physiology around 1812. It is a combination of the techniques of the ancient and modern civilizations.
Swedish massage is a full body massage that lasts around 1.5 hours. It is the standard massage, the one we will usually perform at the first visit. It allows us to work in depth and better assess your horse's situation.
It’s a very versatile technique as we adapt the type and intensity of the strokes to your horse’s specific needs.
Another study on the efficiency of massage for the improvement of locomotion.
The goals of sports massage are to reduce warm-up time, ensure optimal performance and minimize the risk of injury. It is geared towards sports horses – no matter the discipline.
In order to warm up the muscles without inducing a state of relaxation in the animal athlete, we use stimulating strokes that increase circulation, muscle tone and readiness and stimulate the nervous system.
This type of massage can be too stimulating for some horses, which is why we will ensure that they can tolerate it before including it in your warm-up routine.
Study on some of the effects of sports massage.
MANUAL LYMPH DRAINAGE
Manual lymphatic drainage is a massage focused on the moving and draining of the lymph from the extremities into the nodes for processing and ultimately elimination. It is ideal for horses recovering from disease, injury, surgery or chemical overload.
It promotes recovery as it boosts:
The body’s detoxification ability by accelerating the flow of lymph helping to rid the body of toxins and waste materials.
The immune system by increasing the production of lymphocytes and macrophages.
Regenerative processes by normalizing the functions of the organs.
A series of three lymphatic drainage massages is recommended (within 7-9 days) in order to speed recovery and accelerate cleansing.
Here is a study on the benefits of manual lymphatic drainage on the recovery of laminitic horses.
Musculoskeletal Unwinding is the process through which tight muscles and fascia are released to realign the skeletal structure enabling proper form and function.
It is a systematic approach to the horse’s body that blends the concepts of Ortho-bionomy, Bio-energy therapy, Acupressure, Applied Kinesiology, Massage, and Intuitive listening. What makes this program unique is we address the whole horse, nose to tail and hoof to withers, in just one session.
Equine Musculoskeletal Unwinding is a unique program that blends many different modalities with deep skeletal releases for lasting effects.
Another important aspect of our Balanced Hoof Care approach is education. We believe in educating ourselves continuously, but we also believe that well-informed owners take better care of their equine friends.
Here are some great resources if you want to further your education:
SUPERIOR EQUINE THERAPY