The entire horse
When I see a horse with any type of chronic behavior or health issue, I like to take a look at the entire horse. What is the big picture with the animal; Are they frustrated with saddle fit? Bored with their daily routine? On an improper feeding regiment? The list is can have many possibilities as to why your equine friend may be less than happy. When I teach bodywork, I like to not only look at the muscular areas of the horse, but also think about what else in that animals life is going to promote the sustainability of the bodywork and encourage successful healing.
In a horse that sees daily heavy use, the equipment being used plays a huge part in their overall well being. Improper saddle fit, a pinching bit, poorly placed saddle pad are all reasons for your horse to dread work and for bodywork to become a short term fix.
A horse that is in a light working program but spends hours in the stall can build negative behavior issues, pent up aggression, and an unwillingness to bond with their handler.
While bodywork is helpful in both cases, it is only putting a band aid on the bigger issue. Allowing yourself to step back and evaluate the entire horse gives you the ability to better treat your horse with the solution they require so the results are seen and felt on a long term basis.
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Paula Stirewalt is a Certified Equine Sports Massage Therapist and has 25+ years in the horse industry