Monthly Archives: January 2013

Cold Laser Case Study

I was called to a barn yesterday to work on a horse with a swollen leg. He had been playing in turnout and caught his leg on a wire. There was a shallow puncture on the fetlock of his right front leg. The leg was pretty big ( I apologize for not providing before and after photos. Sometimes, when I’m in the middle of assessing a problem, and I’m concerned about the horse being in pain, I forget that my phone, with camera, is right there in  my pocket!). I used the cold laser, with three different settings, on the swelling, for about an hour. Both the owner, the horse, and I were thrilled that the leg was almost normal at the end of the treatment. Unless you looked carefully, it was hard to find the remaining swollen area. Today I’ll be going back, and I will report on Day 2 of treatment.

Cold lasers or low level lasers are very effective at treating soft tissue injuries and eliminating the excess fluid and swelling.” Dr.Schnee,D.C. of Fort Worth Texas

Lactic Acid

Lactic acid is produced in the muscles when there is a lack of oxygen. When lactic acid levels rise, muscles lose strength. A horse in good condition will pump oxygen to the muscles more effectively than a horse not quite fit enough for the job at hand. But the techniques used in Sportsmassage: spreading muscle fibers so as to increase the space that capillaries need to function properly, also helps prevent lactic acid build up by  increasing the muscles’ capacity to oxygenate.

Stress Points that Riders Suffer, Part 4

One of the worst injuries for an athlete is a groin pull. It is a common injury in riders and often aggravated when the frustrated competitor tries to ignore the pain and ride anyway. What could be worse than spreading the legs to sit in the saddle and then having to be in motion in that position? Riders should pay attention to soreness and tightness in the groin, because they are warning signs before the stabbing pain of a real strain brings you to your knees and ends your competitive season.  The first warning sign will be tightness on the inner leg about 4 inches from the crotch. I know how tough riders can be (especially all my eventing friends!) but ignoring these symptoms will cost you precious time down the road. Sports massage can bring you dramatic relief and prevention of a long healing injury. Once some loosening is done on the stress point, gentle stretching exercises can be begun to further restore flexibility. Gentle is the operative word. Nothing should ever be forced or pushed when dealing with tightness in the groin.

The Importance of the Sacrum

The word sacrum is derived from the word “sacred”. There are cultures and religions that still consider the sacrum the seat of the soul. The sacrum is located close to the reproductive organs and the center of gravity. It forms the base of the spine and the “anchor” of the hind end. (I will discuss the atlas, the other anchor, in another post). The sacrum of the horse is formed by five vertebrae. A balanced sacrum will positively affect the hind legs and lumbar area.

If you find your horse sensitive to the touch in his lower back or sacrum, or you feel his stride is shorter than usual, it may be time for bodywork. A refusal to turn quickly or jump will be the next set of signs that your horse is feeling pain in the sacral area.  You may notice an asymmetrical appearance to the hips, with one lower than the other, or a ” hunter’s bump”. Many people consider the bump to be normal for jumping horse, but it actually signifies an injury. Chiropractic treatment combined with sports massage can provide pain relief, restored movement, and prevention of more serious injury.


The Scientific Benefits of Cold Laser

Cold lasers can trigger many cellular changes including the production of enzymes and protein substances vital for innumerable bio-chemical actions. The laser light also stimulates the cell’s mitochondria, the engine that produces enzymes essential for cell function.

Cold lasers reduce pain by using light to reduce the excitability of nervous tissue, reactivate enzymes, and increase ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) release and energize inactivated enzymes. It is like sending energy to jumpstart a system.


Has Your Horse Been Turned Out in Slick Footing This Winter?


If your horse has been slipping and sliding in a wet pasture, he may have spasms in the pectoral muscles. Look for your horse standing with his front feet very close together, or even toed in. This can occur on one side; it will not necessarily happen in a symmetrical fashion. I know I am on the right track if the horse adjusts his stance to a wider one while I’m doing the massage.


If You Are Having a Problem With Lateral Movements:

Sometimes I watch my clients in a dressage test and see restricted movement in only one lateral movement. For instance, if the half pass going to the right looks good, but then half pass going to the left is poor, I am given a clue as to where to feel in the next body work session: there is likely a knot in the right external oblique attachment. The external oblique attaches to the hip bone (or tuber coxae) and part of its’ job is to flex the trunk laterally. This a stress point that I find and treat often in dressage and event horses.

Another important note!: When a horse has tied up and is unable to move the hind legs, he can often be given great relief by releasing the external oblique stress point.


Transfer Factor Gave Me My Life Back

I suffered from severe asthma for 15 years. I went to a specialist, who declared that I was allergic to Life (dogs, cats, horses, trees, mold, mildew, dust, grass, and on and on.) I got 4 allergy shots a week, but still had 6 different inhalers that I had to use. I felt terrible from coughing, shortness of breath, and the steroids in the inhalers. In 2002 I met a small animal vet named Dr. Ken Hansen. He heard me coughing and said “You should try this (Transfer Factor). It can’t hurt.” With those few words, my life changed. Within two weeks I was off all my inhalers. I stopped the allergy shots. I take my TF religiously, and have not had an asthma attack in almost 11 years. I rarely get sick, and if I feel that I might be coming down with something, I take a few extra Transfer Factor (there is no toxic dose) and I feel better within hours. I have taken no antibiotics or any other prescription medicine since I have been taking TF.  This wonderful supplement has been used successfully to treat:

viral disease, fungal disease, parasitic disease, autoimmune disease, neurological disease, mycobacterial disease,bacterial disease, heart disease, arthritis, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and too many other conditions to list.

You can easily order by clicking on the link to the right of this column.

I never get tired of sharing my story and all the other success stories I’ve heard in the years I’ve been enjoying such good health. Please feel free to ask me any questions you might have, and I will do my best to answer them.

Can a Horse’s Anatomy Be Changed With Training?

So often I work on horses that have been tugged into a frame that their bodies were never meant to form. Signs of a horse that has been ridden in opposition to its’ natural anatomy are:

– a “broken neckline” : it takes time to develop a lovely topline. When rushed or forced, there will often be a dip in front of the withers.

– a hollow back: Carrying power will not develop when an artificial frame is enforced.

– toe flicking when asked to extend the trot: to compensate for pain and weakness, a horse will try to do the extension that is asked of him by throwing his legs out in front.

– a hyoid bone that has “disappeared” in a tight throatlatch

– Poor development of the neck muscles

– Pain in the zygotic nerve from bit pressure: a light and supple connection usually will leave a horse comfortable in the area from mouth to cheekbone (masseter).

Sports can provide relief from the pain of all of the above, but as I keep repeating: Prevention is the best medicine!



Problems of the Shoulder Blade

Unlike other bones in the horse, the shoulder blade has no attachment to the rest of the skeleton. It is held in place only by muscle and fascia. If the muscles and fascia are overly tight, the horse will lose flexibility and the front legs will lose range of motion (your trot lengthenings will not score well!).

The first thing to do is to check saddle fit and placement. The saddle must not be placed so far forward (as is too often done) that it touches the back of the shoulder blade. The saddle should not slide forward when you are riding. Since, as mentioned above, the shoulder blades are not held by other bones, they are easy to shove forward. Not good!

I have found myofascial release very effective in resolving restrictive tension surrounding the shoulder blades. Once free, you will feel a wonderful change in your horses movement and enthusiasm for work.


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