Have you ever been treated by a healer for a sore muscle?
Healers are what I like to call people that have the ability to assist someone through a physical or mental issue, for example an injured muscle.
Going to work has it's own physical demands whether it is sitting at a desk and developing carpal tunnel or working on a construction site and spraining your back. Everyone can cause big impacts on their body from continuing to put the same stress on them everyday. Muscle fibres being exercised are constantly tearing and rebuilding when we ask them to move. Working in the horse industry means that I am constantly moving. Pushing wheelbarrows, cleaning out boxes and of course riding those strong thoroughbred racehorses puts a lot of stress on my body. I used to believe that I still needed to go to the gym on top of all of that but I soon realised that it was like a person in an office job going to the gym 3 TIMES A DAY. After cutting back on gym and continuing yoga and stretching I found a happy balance in my exercise. A balance between your diet and exercise is extremely important to keep the mind and spirit HAPPY.
So back to healers, because track riding puts so much strain on my upper back I sought out a healer to give me some release. I have tried a lot of different muscle therapies and believe that they can all have their own individual benefits. At the end of the day it is what works for you and gives you the best relief. My favourite therapies that I regularly get are Bowen Therapy (of course my favourite), Acupuncture and massage. Bowen therapy has the ability to release the fascia and allow for any tightness in the muscles to loosen. I am also a big supporter of acupuncture because not only can it target muscle strains and soreness it also affects organ health and any mental issues you may be experiencing. Lastly, a nice gentle relaxation massage can be great for relaxing and soothing sore and aching muscles.
Without having access to healers we would be unable to relieve sore muscles and more serious issues can occur in the longterm. I recommend seeing someone at least once a month to release any tension in your body to prevent any future issues, of course if you can go more regularly than that your body will love you for it!
If we look after ourselves to prevent injuries and know to seek a healer as soon as an issue arises then why can't we do the same for the horses!? Most horse owners that ride are asking the horses to exercise their muscles. While we all want more top line, even distribution of muscle and a healthy performing athlete under us, the horses don't have much choice in whether they exercise or not. Due to not having a choice in exercise I believe that it is essential that we are caring for their body just as much as we do with our own. It is being aware of what to look for when your horse may need some muscle therapy. The main way a horse will show if it is sore is generally through lameness. Or in simple terms limping around and showing reluctance to move. Other indicators include bucking when being exercised, kicking out with the hind legs when cleaning their feet and tossing their head when you are trying to do anything around their face. There are many ways horses can communicate with us if they are feeling sore somewhere but the biggest thing is to watch their ears. Being aware of what their ears are doing can help us see if they are going to shy when riding or are being aggressive and going to bite. A theory that I have heard and agree with is a horse that can shy a lot when riding may be experiencing some pain. Being a flight animal they are always ready for times they need to flee and run, a sore horse will be more inclined to be aware of it's surroundings and shy because they are in pain and may need more time to escape the situation. A horse is generally a very willing creature, therefore, there will always be a reason for their bad behaviour. If you can fix the issue then your horse will be much more responsive and accepting in what you are asking it to do.
If your horse is showing any of the signs I have mentioned above then it is possible your horse needs a healer too!
Like myself there are many of us around to help horses experiencing muscle issues. Of course if the issue is extreme it is always important to contact your vet first. There are many muscle therapies around for horses such as Bowen therapy, Acupuncture, Physiotherapy, Chiropractor, Myofascial release (massage) and Acupressure. These are all wonderful therapies that can have a huge impact on your horse.
Of course I am bias and will say that Bowen therapy is my preferred treatment but this therapy has proven to be successful time and time again. I have treated a lot of different horses that have been resolved in their muscle issues and also improved in their overall condition. Using Bowen to treat a muscle injury and knowing there are countless other affects occurring in the body (lymphatic system) is just one reason why I LOVE IT!. It is important to remember that maintenance treatments are beneficial in preventing future muscle injuries. Like us once a month or fortnightly will catch any little niggles they may be experiencing.
I like to think about how I put strain on my body at work everyday and know that at the end of the week I would love a Bowen treatment to release my tension. Now, our horses are ridden and exercised just as much as I exercise (especially the racehorses being worked everyday) and I bet they are in need of relaxation and release just as much as us.
If you are feeling generous get a healer to your horse and make note of any changes in their exercise and even their overall behaviour! I can guarantee you they will be a lot more mentally focused, willing and of course HAPPY.
HAPPY HORSE HAPPY RIDER!