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I’m back!

January 27, 2010

It’s taken a while, but it looks like I am ready to get my practice going again. My baby is now 6 months old, we’re both starting to get more sleep, and I miss working with the horses and riders!

“Yeager”

October 20, 2009

Every horse needs a barn name- short, affectionate. “Sound Barrier” is a great name (esp for Jockey Club) but just didn’t do the trick. So after much deliberation, we’ve decided on “Yeager”. As in, Chuck Yeager- the first American to break the “Sound Barrier”.

The past three days Yeager has been getting short turn out periods in the arena. Despite some snorting and prancing, he’s been relatively settled. Today he had a vet work up (passed with flying colors) and a farrier visit. The farrier pulled off his aluminum racing shoes to check out the condition of his feet. We were very impressed with what we found. His toes were a little long and heels a little low and the foot flat for my liking, but that’s typical for a racing TB. His hoof wall was in great shape and strong enough to support him being barefoot while not in work, at least. Hopefully, we’ll be able to maintain him barefoot to get a little more concavity in the foot before he goes into work in the spring. His manners were great for both farrier and vet.

Yeager is proving to be quite the diamond in the rough.

Sound Barrier is home…

October 17, 2009

He is all settled in and happily eating everything he can reach. It was quite chilly here today and I didn’t get a chance to get unsheeted pictures. He is quite affectionate, and really took a shine to Kevin (husband). Like many TBs, he’s a bit ticklish about getting groomed but loves a good scratch. He unloaded like a champ, was a little restive standing around in a new area, and after a good look at his new stall, began to relax quickly.

I noticed already that he’s bigger than he looks! Lots of leg and I’m pretty sure he’s going to go up at least a blanket size when I get some muscle and condition on him 🙂

Figuring out the auto-waterer

Figuring out the auto-waterer

yeeesssss?

yeeesssss?

Look at those ears!!

Look at those ears!!

I’m really excited about this guy’s future.  Now just gotta figure out a barn name.

BodyWork and the Pleasure Horse

October 14, 2009

The benefits of manual therapies like massage are not limited to the high performance equine athlete. In fact, the pleasure/trail horse enjoys a more direct benefit than the horse in active training.

Like the human weekend warrior, the trail or pleasure horse has periods of inactivity interspersed with periods of exertion- for example, if an owner rides primarily on the weekends or even 2-3 times per week. While turnout can account for some physical activity, it does not aid in developing suppleness or even muscle tone. This makes the pleasure horse uniquely vulnerable to muscle imbalance.

Muscle imbalance occurs between tonic and phasic muscles. Tonic muscles are those responsible for postural control, balance and coordination. Phasic muscles are those responsible for creating movement. Inactivity frequently results in a decrease of suppleness and flexibility. Just like with people, a horse without an exercise routine becomes stiff and out of shape. This initiates a vicious cycle where the tonic muscles experience overload becoming tight and shortened. The resulting stiffness increases weakness in the phasic muscles, putting even more stress on the tonic muscles.

While many horses will never experience a catastrophic injury as a result of muscle imbalance, it contributes significantly to the risk of lameness and joint inflammation, especially as a horse ages. Preventing and minimizing muscle imbalance can assist in extending a horse’s working life.

For the pleasure horse, muscle imbalance sets up an increased risk of injury. When a relatively inactive horse is asked to exercise (whether in an arena or on a trail ride), the weakened phasic muscles are easily overloaded. Shortened, tight tonic muscles are more quickly fatigued, reducing coordination and balance. This can be particularly hazardous when trail riding over uneven terrain as the horse is less able to correct or catch itself in the case of a trip or stumble. Even without a stumble, a horse exercised once or twice a week is vulnerable to the intermittently overloaded phasic muscles causing inflammation of the joints they move.

Bodywork can be a powerful tool in minimizing the effects of muscle imbalance for the pleasure horse. Massage and stretching can reduce the tightness in the tonic muscles and stimulate circulation in the in the weaker phasic muscles. In relieving the tightness of the shortened tonic muscles, bodywork prevents the protective, guarded movements that result in short strides, a hollow back and inverted head carriage. Regular bodywork can assist the pleasure horse owner in preserving the health, soundness and comfort of an important partner. Owners can be proactive in this process by committing to a regular program of stretching both on the ground and under saddle to preserve suppleness and minimize muscle imbalance.

A new track for an OTTB

October 14, 2009

Last week, my interest was peaked by a giveaway post on the COTH forums

about a young, sound gelding looking for a new career. I emailed the contact person and things progressed from there. Despite a snafu with a shipper who didn’t show up (Paty Transport out of Tennessee), Sound Barrier was picked up from the track on Sunday, Oct 11. He is spending a week at a COTH friend’s farm and we will pick him up on Sat and move him home.

I have always loved and admired thoroughbreds. While I’m not a huge racing fans, these guys are incredible athletes with unbelievable hearts. What happens to racehorses after their track is over is currently a subject of intense debate within the horse industry. With the economic climate restricting discrectionary spending of all kinds, the market for riding horses is glutted and rescues are stretched to their limits.

I am hopeful that Sound Barrier will make a fun, pleasant, and possibly talented sporthorse. At the very least, my goal is to give him a skill that gives him a value to riding community to protect him.

Sound Barrier being walked before his last race

Sound Barrier being walked before his last race

What We Do…

October 13, 2009
Massage therapy is a comprehensive system of non-invasive soft-tissue manipulation techniques that can reduce or eliminate acute or chronic myofascial damage, muscular pain or discomfort while encouraging recovery. A therapy session may include soft tissue manipulations, myofascial release, positional release, cranial manipulation and trigger point therapy.

Regular bodywork enhances the function of joints, muscles, and the general movement of the body, and can improve healing by facilitating the return of appropriate core (lumbo-pelvic-hip) muscle function throughout the entire kinetic chain. IBW offers a special focus on the treatment of trigger points, postural and biomechanical dysfunctions, and nutritional factors.
Integrative BodyWork offers massage treatment and personal training services designed to the fill the specific needs of the amateur equestrian. Chair and sports massage for the rider and personal training are available at your location. We offer Equine Sports Massage, specializing in creating a customized treatment plan for both horse and rider.
IBW prides itself in creating a unique experience for each individual, respecting the wide range of applications massage and fitness can have to your health. Please contact us with any questions.