Sarah, a 43-year-old brunette with the tan, toned arms of a longtime equestrian, was visibly frustrated. She had hit a disappointing roadblock in her training.
Despite working with a respected dressage instructor, Sarah was beginning to feel as if her imported warmblood would never do well in dressage.
Her horse, an eight-year-old Dutch warmblood named Ace, had lovely conformation and an impressive pedigree. Generally easy-going and amiable, the bay gelding became tense whenever a rider asked for any degree of collection.
A tenacious researcher, Sarah had already explored medical, diet, training, turnout and saddle-related reasons that could prevent a horse from rounding his back and engaging his hindquarters. But despite all her expensive efforts, her horse was getting more resistant. She constantly worried that his back might be sore and tight. No wonder Sarah was frustrated!
When Sarah heard about my work, she figured that one more opinion couldn’t hurt. And less than five...
A young woman named Terra was suffering from pain and tension in her upper back, shoulders and neck. She often felt hunched over and uncomfortable.
How I helped her may surprise you.
Since Terra is an equestrian, I invited her to sit in her saddle.
I asked her if she felt balanced and level. Was her weight evenly distributed over both seat bones? Terra replied that she felt that she was sitting with a little more weight on her right seat bone, and she wanted to shift more weight onto her left side to even herself out.
But looking at Terra, I could see that her weight was already concentrated on her left side, not her right. Check out the photo above to see for yourself.
Do you see how Terra’s right ribs are scrunched together? This makes the right side of Terra’s torso shorter than her left side. Can you see how her uneven rib cage has thrown her weight onto the left side of her pelvis? To confirm, I...
Does your horse pin his ears when you tighten the girth? Does he get grumpy, swish his tail or threaten to bite or kick when you cinch him up? Does your horse seem to hold her breath (“blowing up” or “bloating”) when you’re tacking her up?1
Any of those reactions would fit the definition of a “girthy” or “cinchy” horse. Cinchy horses are so common that many equestrians think nothing of it. But resistance during tacking up can set the tone for your whole ride, and lead to diminished equine performance too.
Tying your horse up short may prevent you from being bitten, and disciplining your horse may discourage the biting, kicking, or tail swishing, but neither method will improve how your horse feels about saddling. In fact, punitive measures usually increase tension in your horse’s mind and muscles.
That’s no way to build a trusting relationship with your horse! Plus, it can lead to diminished performance and a...
Vicki found her black-and-white dog suddenly unable to pick up his head. The dog, whose name is Nicky, was moving very slowly, holding his head unnaturally low and still. Vicki immediately rushed the 17-pound dog to the veterinarian, who fortunately ruled out a spinal injury. Nicky was diagnosed with a soft tissue injury and prescribed anti-inflammatories and rest. The vet also gave the okay for me to work with Nicky to help him recover fully.
How exactly the dog injured his neck was anyone’s guess, but the ten-year-old canine dynamo was often seen jumping off beds, couches and stone walls. Nicky, who was probably a mix of Chihuahua, Cocker Spaniel and Rat Terrier, may have had a collision while roughhousing with one of his larger canine siblings. He also excelled at doing the “zoomies,” running in circles at top speed around their expansive back yard. It was this enthusiasm for motion that helped him become a fine canine flyball athlete. Nicky was a...