Q) How should I prepare for a session?
A) Horses should be in an area in which they are comfortable and protected from the elements. Horses should be relatively clean and dry to best benefit from the hands on techniques.
Q) How long are the sessions?
A) The initial session will take around 2 hours. I will observe the horse in hand at both the walk and trot. Then I will thoroughly observe and palpate the horse's musculature and conformation for symmetry, tone, abnormalities, range of motion, sensitivities, etc. This is to ensure we have a documented baseline for comparing the horse to itself as we continuing working together . The initial observations will be abbreviated on subsequent sessions so sessions after the first one will be 90 minutes of hands on bodywork. Every session will include a full body massage because it can be unpredictable what other areas may be affected by a restriction.
Q) What should I do after a session?
A) It is recommended that within 2 hours after a bodywork session, the horse either be hand walked (walked with intent, not hand grazed etc) for 10 - 15 minutes or ridden lightly. What ridden lightly means is different for horses of different fitness levels, but speed, sharp turns, high jumps, or generally fatiguing the horse is not recommended. Light work following bodywork will encourage parallel alignment of muscle fibers and help decrease the possibility of next day soreness.
Q) What is included in the session report?
A) 1 - 2 days after your session, I will email you a detailed session report with muscle diagrams indicating my findings. I will often include detailed instructions on how to do follow up exercises and massage techniques custom tailored to your horse's specific needs.
Q) How often should my horse get bodywork?
A) Horses can receive full bodywork sessions as little as 5 - 7 days apart. It is most ideal to receive bodywork as part of a routine maintenance program and have a session every 4 - 6 weeks. We can discuss frequency more specifically after your horse's initial session. It is recommended that the first session take place no closer than 7 days prior to a competition. This is because we do not know how a horse may respond in the few days following the session and could possibly need time to rebalance itself and adjust its way of moving.
Q) Should I expect a dramatic difference in my horse after the first session?
A) Typically, no. Horses will often respond favorably during the bodywork session with slow blinks, sighing, cocking their hind leg, relaxing, or sometimes yawning. Just like when people begin a new stretching program, results are often not seen after the first time. It is not the intention to apply great pressure or force a horse to stretch beyond their comfort zone in order to obtain quick results. This would typically cause the horse to be guarded and possibly even sore. Receiving bodywork regularly will gradually produce improvements as the horse accepts deeper work and riding and training support the adjustments.