WHAT IS MANUAL THERAPY?
Although I call my therapy Manual Therapy / Bodywork, because it combines certain procedures and techniques from other skill sets such as massage and chiropractics, the base of my studies was in professional Osteopathy, which is an holistic system of healing originally developed for humans in the 1800's. It is a therapy based on encouraging and enabling the body's natural ability to repair itself by ensuring that the bones, ligaments, muscles and connective tissue are working properly. Problems arise when these essential elements are not working smoothly together, and in horses this can manifest itself in reduced performance. For example, a horse can exhibit lameness; reluctance to move in a particular direction; changes in behaviour; stiffness; reluctance to move forwards, etc. Often the horse simply doesn't 'feel right'.
HOW IS MANUAL THERAPY/OSTEOPATHY USED TO HELP THE HORSE?
An Osteopath works to activate and enhance the body's own way of healing itself. Manual techniques are applied to help restore optimal function of the musculoskeletal system. By the use of manipulation and adjustments, stretches and releases, and mobilization techniques, it is an extremely beneficial non-invasive therapy for both people and horses. It is commonly used in close conjunction with Chiropractic work and indeed the two therapies often overlap.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY HORSE NEEDS A TREATMENT?
Some typical training problems resulting from blockages in the horse’s body are:
- Stiffness to one side
- Not wanting to take the correct lead in the canter
- The flying lead change is difficult to one specific side
- Show jumpers always hitting poles with one particular front leg
- The horse is uncomfortable to sit to in trot
- Reluctant to pick up hind foot or snatches leg when picked up
- The horse is “hot” and spooky
- Unwillingness to bend
- The horse is lazy
- Problems with correct and clear rhythm
- Show jumpers refusing to jump