Tag Archives: skull

Your Horses Head Needs to Feel Free!

I was inspired to write about the zygomatic nerves by a photo and article that circulated on FB and other media sites recently.

There is a muscle that starts at the corner of the horses mouth and runs up to the masseter (cheek). That junction is full of sensitive nerve endings that I often use stress point therapy on. When there is stress here the jaw will be stiff and tense. When the noseband and flash of a bridle are tight and applying pressure, a sensitive horse will be miserable. How often do you see a horse who is tossing his head, or trying to open his mouth, only to have bridle buckles tightened a notch?

If I massage a horse and it seems that every tight place has been released and the body is balanced, but the horse still doesn’t seem quite right, I check the head carefully. Because if your head (and we are no different!) doesn’t feel good, nothing feels good! You can help your horse by making sure the bridle is not squeezing anywhere.

 

My Hyoid Mystery

I went to work on a Thoroughbred who is competing at the 2 star level in eventing. I ran my hands over his body to get to know him. When I got to the area where I feel for the hyoid bone, I felt nothing, no matter how much I probed with my fingers.

The hyoid is a series of bony structures that supports the tongue, larynx, neck, sternum, and the pharynx. Where did his go??

This horse carried a lot of tension all over his body. Even his tongue seemed to bother him. This gave me a clue, that while it appeared he didn’t have a hyoid bone, the overall tension in his head, was pulling the hyoid up into his skull, out of my reach. Tension of the soft tissue surrounding the hyoid can affect breathing, swallowing, and even vocalizing. If your horse sounds hoarse (!), an adjustment of the hyoid may be called for. It took several adjustments from a wonderful chiropractor, and quite a few massages, but this horse now has a supple and easily manipulated hyoid, and is a beautiful specimen of health and fitness. He does love to get his tongue scratched, but it is merely a sensual delight, and not stress, that is motivating him!

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