Some years ago, I walked into a sunlit, colorful living room in the coastal town of Laguna Nigel, California. The homeowner, a woman named Carol, was in her early 40’s and had shoulder-length, sandy-colored hair that was pulled back into a ponytail.
I first met Carol a couple of weeks earlier when she watched me give a hands-on session to her neighbor’s paralyzed cat. The unexpected result of that session—frankly, even I was surprised at what happened—motivated Carol to ask for a session for her own cat.
So here we were.
Carol introduced me to PJ, her sweet tabby who had been diagnosed with asthma about nine months before. Despite veterinary treatment, PJ’s breathing was still shallow and labored.
Not surprisingly, the cat’s behavior had also changed.
No longer friendly and out-going, PJ had been spending a lot more time lying under the furniture. He had stopped playing too. It was easy to see why Carol was concerned about her cat....
Part 1 – The Rider’s Habits
There’s one tool that I’ve seen help equestrians more than any other. It can help riders successfully navigate challenging situations with their horses. It can also help equestrians achieve long-term goals such as: improving riding skill, enhancing equine athleticism and strengthening the horse-human connection.
In short, it’s the best thing I’ve found for achieving physical and emotional harmony with your horse.
Are you curious about the tool I’m referring to? Good! The tool we all need is just that. Curiosity.
Since you’re reading this post, I’m guessing that you’re already a curious equestrian. You’re interested in helping your horse feel better in mind and body. But like all skills, we can become more adept at using curiosity.
In this post and the next, I’ll share how you can use curiosity to help yourself and your horses move and feel better than ever.
Let me start...
Part 2: The Horse's Habits
In Part 1, I introduced you to Gina and her bay Arabian gelding, Piper. Gina was frustrated that Piper resisted bending, especially to the right.
Gina’s trainer had demanded that she use stronger, more insistent aids, but that just created more conflict and unpleasantness between horse and rider.
When Gina consulted me, I noticed that she sat heavier on her left seat bone, which made it difficult for her horse to bend. This unbalanced sitting can cause back pain, stiffness and tension in both horse and rider.
I led Gina through a Feldenkrais® exercise that improved her body awareness and helped her to sit balanced on her seat bones. Happily, it also got rid of her back pain and sciatica!
But the next time Gina rode, she was disappointed to discover that Piper still didn’t bend easily. She was sitting in balance, so why wasn’t her horse bending...
Let’s say you see a dog who’s hurting. Maybe he’s an older dog with a stiff, arthritic spine. Or perhaps she’s a younger dog with hip dysplasia or a torn knee ligament.
Don’t you wish you could instantly help such a dog feel better?
I’d like to share a simple, hands-on technique that has helped hundreds of aging and injured dogs feel immediate relief.
It can provide soothing support to overworked, sore muscles and help set the stage for healing. Because it’s so effective, I use this hands-on technique frequently. I call it the Lumbar Lift, for reasons that will become obvious. But first, let me tell you how it helped Clyde.
Clyde, a large black Lab mix, hobbled into my office, aided by his person Suzanne. The dog was holding up his right hind leg. And although he could bear weight on it, his left hind leg didn’t look that stable either. The poor boy!
This 70-pound dog was under the care of both integrative and allopathic...
***Important note about the video: Please be gentle! Your pressure should be VERY LIGHT and the movements should be subtle "suggestions." Never use force. Keep your hands and shoulders soft and relaxed.***
Don’t you love when something good comes out of something bad?
A number of years ago, my client Suzanne had a bay Morgan gelding with a suspensory injury.
Despite several months of veterinary care, farrier attention and TLC, the 12-year-old gelding was still off.
What ended up helping the horse was surprising.
Here’s what happened.
Suzanne asked me to give her horse, whose name is Bravo, a hands-on session.
I knew that helping the Morgan move more easily through his rib cage could alleviate stress on his front legs.
Less strain on his fore legs meant that he’d have a better chance of recovering from his suspensory injury.
But we had a small problem. Bravo wouldn’t...
“Damn it! Just give me your leg!” Hearing these harsh words, I snapped my head around. Just as I suspected, a farrier was holding onto the hind hoof of a horse who was trying to break free of the man’s grasp.
The farrier, Joe*, had been patient with the big chestnut Warmblood. But Joe’s patience – and his back – were wearing thin. He had completed the trimming job, but he told the gelding’s owner that the horse needed stretching exercises to improve his ability to extend his legs. Joe picked up the chestnut’s leg again, and began to stretch it behind the horse. This time the gelding pulled it away from Joe violently.
Someone’s going to get hurt”, I thought. Both the horse and Joe were in danger of sustaining an injury. I caught the owner’s eye. My face must have conveyed my dismay, because she suddenly asked Joe to stop.
The woman thanked Joe, putting a check into his large, calloused hand. As he got into...
I drove down the unfamiliar street, reading the house numbers. 2403… 2405… 2407… Bingo! I parked on the street and was about to get out of my red Toyota Celica when a woman called out to me from the porch. “Wait in your car while I bring Bruno into the house!”
I watched as she used a piece of food to lure an Akita, apparently Bruno, to the front door. She unhooked his collar from the vinyl-covered metal cable that it was tied to, and Bruno went into the house. The woman followed, closing the door behind her. She waved me in from a window.
I opened the front door and came upon the largest Akita I had ever seen. While I didn’t feel that I was in imminent danger, it was clear that this dog was not particularly friendly to strangers. So I didn’t make eye contact. I simply strode past Bruno and into the living room. It was then that I noticed that the woman, Gail, was standing the hallway, watching from a distance.
Bruno went ahead of me and...
Could your floor be causing your dog to age prematurely?
Over the years, I've seen a great number of dogs struggle as they negotiate tile or wood floors in their home. And many dog "parents" have no idea that their flooring choice is causing undue hardship for their dogs.
I had the opportunity to help a friend correct this common household mistake that could, over time, contribute to her dogs' arthritis, soreness and increased risk of injury.
You might want to listen in as I explain how her new flooring was affecting her dogs' health and mobility. And how she could make it right.
“Doesn’t our house look great?” my friend Kathy shouted as two barking Australian shepherd crosses tumbled into the living room to greet me. The long-awaited renovation complete, Kathy’s house was a designer’s dream come true.
But as I looked around at the expanse of beautiful cream-colored tile flooring, I couldn’t help but wonder...
Placing the white and grey cat on my lap, I let him choose how he wanted to arrange himself, knowing that he would position himself in a way that would afford comfort and security for his dislocated right hip.
About ten days before, Elf had started dragging his right hind leg. A veterinarian determined that Elf’s right hip had been dislocated and it would take at least several weeks for it to heal.
Elf’s person, Amie, had brought him to me for a Debono MovesSM session, since she wanted to give her kitty the very best chance that he would recover fully from his injury.
Debono Moves works by teaching an animal, through kinesthetic touch and non-habitual movements, how to move in a way that enhances healing and prevents the strain that often accompanies limping.
When one part of the body is favored, other parts have to work harder. This harder work can result in new strains and injuries.
I wanted to minimize the strain on Elf’s non-injured parts while...