My approach to anything with horses is to mimic nature as much as possible. Horses have been around for thousands of years and evolved and adapted as necessary. In their natural environment, they are hearty and thriving breed. They forage for their own food, do not have their teeth floated or feet trimmed, are never blanketed or put in a barn, and they certainly don't have anyone come out and give them bodywork. That Mother Nature sure is one smart gal!
So why as humans do we feel the need to provide all these services to our horses when they can clearly flourish in nature just fine without them? Well, we have domesticated our horses for starters. They don't travel dozens of miles a day naturally trimming their own feet, we select their lineage, and we typically confine them to an area less than a few thousand acres where they are not able to meet their own needs.
With the willingness of our amazing horses, we are able to ride them - to perform athletic movements in perfect unison all while be seated on their backs. While that may seem about as unnatural as it gets, I am pretty sure God knew what he was doing when he gifted us with these great creatures.
I became increasingly curious of how horses provide their own bodywork in nature - and do they need it? They don't have these two legged humans constantly sitting on them... So how necessary is this therapy that we are doing?
With much observation, I noticed horses in their natural habitat are constantly performing bodywork, either on themselves or on each other. In a herd, horses are able to groom and stretch each other, they are able to roll on varied terrain and in various types of sand and soil. They are reaching and bending for food that isn't tossed in a pile in front of them. Without giving our horses these important ways of meeting their bodies demands, I find the application of bodywork to be all the more important, especially after the hours of enjoyment they give us in the saddle:)