Two days are never the same…
EquiAds asked JANE SUMNER A.I.R.M.T, E.B.W to give an insight into her day as an Equine Body Worker dealing with Stress Point Therapy, Muscle Manipulation Release and Myofascial Release.
Jane told Equi-Ads; Today I left for a 40-mile drive to my first yard, that is after sorting my 13yr old daughter out, walking the dog and checking the pony! Yep very often I am wet and soggy before I start!
First victim… A handsome 15hh gelding that has issues sometimes with his flipping teeth and back legs! And he does struggle with left canter behind, but also this time he is “fiddling a lot” with his head , no flexion and wont give “Seems like a constant battle” his owner says.
On arrival I find a note with the headcollar “had to nip out, help yourself”
That’s ok I thought, I catch the beast, rug off; Stand back take a look all over, he looks at me as if to say “what you looking at ? “. I then gently run my hands all over in a long stroke, feeling for any heat or swellings etc. A tiny bit warmer just behind his left ear, in lumbars and right mid thigh…
I check his heads attached to his body and is on straight!
Poor boy the atlas is just very slightly wonky, on checking the alignment of neck vertebrae is all good.
Check hips and seat bones are level… yes!
Now to get to work, I start with a massage from the top of the neck paying attention to the top surrounding muscles, working with a picture in my head of where the muscles are how they are connected to each other, I love it; It fascinates me everyday! the shoulder, upper leg, gently on the girth, he gets very snappy and if I don’t respect him he shakes a leg!! Wise old soul!
There are a few niggles in between his ribs which could affect breathing during fast work and give him girthy issues. Tightness from the middle of his back into the lumbar which does carry on through the glutes and half way down the outer thigh!
Deep slow myofascial release, he likes that (I may get a brownie point!) then as the tight muscle softens I do some cross fibre friction to increase the circulation and release the fibres that are stuck together.
Watch out! I think he’s enjoying it! His eyes are flicking, his mouth is yawning … I follow it through with some gentle leg stretches and a nice hind end tuck.
Write it all down, advisory homework, rug him up ,headcollar off and onto the next!
This is a gorgeous big (17hh) chap is so lovely (they all are) He’s an 8yr old, hunts in winter, does eventing / Pony club teams etc.
This is a maintenance check; I treat him every 8 to 10 weeks .
The normal problem bits are just behind the wither (the bit that helps to lift) good old lumbars (who doesn’t when then they work hard?) But this time we are having problems with the farrier behind!
He’s already yawning as soon as my hands are on! He can be funny with the top of his head and ears so we start gently a nice soft stroke all over to say “hello” I’m not the vet and I don’t carry needles!
He always has twitchy bits at the top of his neck because he’s waiting for something bad to happen so I trick him… I start on his shoulder and do his neck and bone checks after when he’s asleep!
A few normal maintenance bits in lumbars , a little spasm running along the shelf of his ribs so I ask to look at the saddle. I am not a saddle fitter but it is sitting abit lower to that side! Bingo! Saddler out please .
I work on the spasms, through into the lumbars he loves the deep slow myofascial release. Who wouldn’t though? Gently does it so the horse trusts you then the muscle trusts you so relaxes; with relaxation we get hydration therefore a healthier muscle!
The hind ends not showing too much just a little bit in glutes and oops getting weak on the bicep femoris!!!
This is when we get a nice “apple ” bottom then it falls away..The glutes /apple lifts and the bicep fem strides through…. so when they aren’t actively striding through but just lifting and placing we get weaker and a dipped top of the bottom!
We have a chat with the owner. Yes he’s hunting now, not done any dressage or real schooling for a while and yes she had thought he was getting lazy behind… Owner now on the case to get him working a bit more actively.
Ohhhhh found the farrier problem, a really quite tight gracilis!!!
The inner thigh, ok my favourite saying that most of my owners get….”stand like a horse! Arms/front legs, head down “then I point, you have a tight bit here, now try and lift that! You cant! I love it especially with a saddle that don’t quite fit, stand like a horse, work from behind, slightly round your back, your head naturally drops down. Then along comes Jane and puts a bit of pressure somewhere, the say ouch head flies up back down!! Oops now you get it!! So imagine your inner thigh, you tweaked it flying round the field; it would get sore and heavy and tired lifting it for the farrier…
When we get to his neck, all good except…. he’s getting slightly bigger one side at the top… a constant bend to one side… I ask a few questions… yes he’s lead a lot because he’s so good! And the haynet is that side!
So please lead him only twice or from the wrong side and go round the fields so your safe and swop the hay net one week on the left one-week on the right!
Notes made, homework written down stroke the yard dog and off we go…
Tomorrow can bring a whole new host of issues to work with.
Jane Sumner can be contacted on 07787 860199 based in Whissendine covering Notts, Leics, Lincs and Northampton borders.