The nervous system remembers the pain and trauma of an injury. With your horse, you might see this as stiffness at the beginning of a workout, or extreme caution. When a rider tells me their horse just “doesn’t want to jump anymore”, I suspect muscle pain and get to work looking for it.
Trauma accumulates in the body, starting at birth. Have you considered how much trauma there is for a foal during the birth process? The results can set up tight muscle patterns that last a lifetime, unless manually removed.
Myofascial release aims to relax contracted muscles, improve blood and lymphatic circulation, and stimulate the stretch reflex in muscles. Often I stand back after just one bodywork session and see that the body is already reorganizing itself. The body looks less chopped up into sections and more of one flowing form. During a session the body of the horse is educated in the process to move the way it is supposed to: in balance and without restrictions. If the connective tissue that covers every muscle, bone, nerve, blood vessel, and organ in the body is free of restriction, the horse will move and behave in a completely different way.
Myofascial therapy relieves soft tissue restrictions that cause pain. Some causes of chronic muscle pain are easier to diagnose than others: trauma from birth or a fall, cumulative posture misalignment , a compressed nerve from poor saddle fit, etc.
When pain is caused by Myofascial tightness the diagnosis can be difficult, as fascia restrictions do not show up on MRI scans or X-rays. Yet, those restrictions can play a significant role in creating pain and malfunction in the structure of the back and legs. Every horse (and dog and human!!) should experience pain free movement that can result from having restrictions removed.