Tag Archives: motion

Can a Horse Relax If It is Not Balanced?

One of the things to keep an eye on is the balance of the body of your horse. When you see your horse daily, it is easy to lose track of subtle changes. Make it your practice to observe your horse:

Is there consistency to the muscle development? If one area (like the front end or hind end) is more developed than the other, the body is not working as one unit. The over-developed area will be tense and the under-developed area will be weak. Tight, built-up muscles are shortened muscles that have lost flexibility; this makes them more prone to fatigue and injury.

The body is a unit and should be treated as such. The moving parts of the body were designed to move through a specified range of motion freely, easily and completely. If they are unable to do so, there will be a problem.

Did you know that the horse is composed of 60% muscle? The human body is comprised of about 40% muscle. Most motion problems originate in the muscular system. The massage and stress point therapy I do helps the contracting and release process of the muscle, aiding the  muscles from getting hyper-contracted and injured.

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Rapid Return to Full Motion

After a body undergoes surgery, there is scar tissue, which can limit movement and cause pain. Scar tissue can also form after trauma or repetitive stress.

Normal tissue is served by the body’s blood supply, preventing it from becoming brittle and callous. Scar tissue, however, forms as a temporary tissue base to promote healing. Eventually, the scar tissue will lose its vascularization (blood supply). This is what causes problems in the body as it forms adhesions to other tissues and structures, and often leads to chronic pain or hard-to-treat issues that hurt quality of life.

Myofascial release is a non-invasive way to remove scar tissue without negatively affecting healthy tissue. Myofascial release can address issues related to range of motion,shoulder, ankle, and knee pain; adhesions; back and neck pain; tendonitis; muscle spasms; trapped nerves; adhesions; headaches; Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and more.

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Thoughts on Equine Locomotion

If a horse standing still with both front feet planted on the ground, it is impossible to move until one of the hocks flexes and weight is moved to the hind feet. This the only way the elbow of the front leg can unlock and be free to move. This basic law influences every gait and jump.

Movement in every 4 legged animal is dependent on perfect synchronization of the front and hind legs. The weight has to be transferred at a very quick rate back and forth. Add the difficulty of carrying a rider, and the rigidness of the spine, and it’s amazing that any horse sport exists.

The horse has a heavy body compared to other 4 leggeds like dogs and cats, and is supported by just 1 toe at each corner. Deer, dogs, and cats have flexible spines. But the horse is like a missile with just its 4 legs to steer, brake, and propel it.

Reciprocal Muscle Action

Whenever one muscle contracts to move a bone, another muscle MUST relax. Reciprocal action of muscles provides the ability to move the bone in opposite directions. It also makes the movement smooth, preventing jerky, or irregular action. If you see movement that does not look smooth, it is most likely an indication of a muscle that can not release. If you read an equine anatomy book, this concept is also discussed as agonist-antagonist muscles. Stress point therapy is specifically designed to release muscles that have failed to release themselves.

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