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"The Natural Healing Force within each of us
is the Greatest Force in Getting Well"
937-307-4174

Myofascial Release for the Equine & Equestrian

Please contact Julie Fox at 937-414-0525 for all equine myofascial release and massage sessions

Here are two videos of a horse we worked on before and after their treatment. These and more can be found at OHSunshineTherapy on YouTube.

Horse before receiving MFR

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Horse after receiving MFR

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My riding lesson tonight was fantastic. Both Connor and I did very well. Boy, did we notice a difference in his performance. Also, when I lunged him prior to riding-no more tail swishing or hollowing. Under saddle he was so well balanced and straight, and was able to perform downward transitions without falling on the forehand. What a pleasure to ride.

~ Michele T.

Services offered:

Your horse is chronically lame or sore. You've had the veterinary doctor out to assess your horse, but the problem keeps coming back. Your horse spooks at everything and is always on edge. Your horse is fine when the trainer rides him, but the problem returns when you're on the horse. So, how do you solve the problem? Let's look at both the equine and the equestrian postural alignment and holding patterns.

The effects of your postural alignment on the horse:

The position of your body and the tension that you carry while you are riding transfers into the horse. If you hold any part of your body rigid while you ride due to fear, pain, or anxiety, your horse will sense this and tense his body. Likewise, if your body is out of alignment while you ride, your horse will mirror this impaired alignment. This limits its range of motion and strength by preventing full expansion and contraction of its muscles. This will lead to overall soreness in your horse.
For the horseback rider, keeping your body aligned is essential to communicating with your horse effectively. Your horse is highly sensitive to the position of your pelvis. If you are always shifted to the right due to fascial restrictions, your horse will always feel more pressure on the right side of it's back and use this as a signal to move right. Your body's rotation, torqued areas, and tension will also wear on a horse causing the horse pain and discomfort. Our horses have a highly advanced intuitive sense to feel our movements and emotions. You need to be as intuitive to your horse as they are to you. What you bring to the barn, you pass on to the animals. Having clarity of mind and synergy of the body strengthens the union and efficacy of communication with your horse. Imagine your horse listening and responding to your subtle movements effortlessly. That is developing a partnership with your horse achieved by expanding your inner awareness, releasing your fears, and refining your equilibrium. Myofascial release will guide you to this point.

As a biomechanics riding coach I find that one of the most underappreciated aspects of becoming a good rider is the importance of an off horse rider physical conditioning program. Riding effectively requires a toned, isometrically strong, balanced and flexible body. While a rider may gain some of this through riding, for the most part these aspects need to be developed off horse. I have found Pilates to be a very effective conditioning program for riders. Yoga also seems to work well for many.
One other extremely important aspect of rider effectiveness is stretching and releasing muscle tightness and restrictions. I have struggled with a few asymmetries that have developed over the years and had become deeply ingrained. Jocelyn, and her Myofascial Release treatments have made a significant difference in helping my body to release these asymmetries and become more flexible and balanced. I highly recommend her treatments for riders, athletes and anyone trying to work through aches and pains. Also, she is a really great lady and wonderful human being.

~ Paul R. Boland, Biomechanics Riding Coach, Journey Farms LLC, Smithfield, KY

MFR for the horse rider

What happens if your horse is tense and out of alignment:

Just as you can develop areas of tension on your horse, so can your horse on you. Just as with humans, a full postural alignment, tissue tension, and habitual pattern assessment are completed on the horse to identify the cause of the horse's assymetries, pain or illness. A team works together. So if one participant isn't feeling well, the whole team suffers. This is why we recommend taking care of both the horse and the rider.

What causes the body to get out of alignment?

So what is it in your body that tenses up and pulls you out of alignment causing so much pain, rigidity, and disruption? The answer: Fascia. We are all comprised of a connective tissue called fascia that intertwines throughout our body holding us together like a cocoon. This fluid filled tissue serves as our body's protective shield tightening up and bracing injured areas when we get hurt. Unfortunately, when one area is injured, the entire body suffers as other areas pitch in to pick up the slack creating even more postural deficits. Often times, the tissue does not know when the body is healed and continues to brace creating an unconscious holding pattern called a fascial restriction.
Our fascial system and the horse's are compromised by physical, psychological, and cumulative trauma. To eliminate fascial restrictions, you must address the physical and psychological holding patterns so you can ride physically balanced and mentally centered. Our horses mirror our alignment and emotional state. Therefore, we must take care of ourselves as much as we do our horses.

Where should I start with my horse and myself?

Hands on treatment first, stretches second, chiropractics or acupuncture third. For chronic tightness and pain, you must change the fascial tissue memory first with myofascial release and then by implementing a stretching program that is provided with each treatment. Otherwise, your fascial tissue will continue to pull you out of alignment. A myofascial release stretching program is designed to be gentle, passive, and re-align your body while bringing more awareness to your unconscious holding patterns. We recommend you evaluate your everyday movement habits, as well. Altering these repetitive movements will decrease the effects of cumulative trauma on the body. Once the fascial tissue is softened it is a great time to get your horse in for a chiropractice adjustment or acupuncture/acupressure.

Equine Stretches

We always recommend stretches for the horse to assist with long lasting results an improve the bond that you have with your horse. Here is an example of a stretch for an inflared pelvis:

Lateral tail pull with lumbar stretch

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When possible we ask that the rider be present for the treatment so they can be an active part in the horse's care. We also take videos to remind the rider of the recommended stretches.

My favorite mount Diamond had been acting like he just doesn't want to be fooled with for the last several years. I finally decided to get the horse looked at by a vet to make sure his problem was NOT physical. I found no abnormal reactions to the scratch test on his spine and could see no physical problems as he moved. So I asked Jocelyn to do a myofascial release treatment on him. She worked on him for a long time and noticed several things wrong with his alignment. She has worked on me and the results have been amazing! But the Horse? Well I could tell that after she worked on him he was more limber and relaxed than I had seen him in quite some time. The chiropractic then proceeded to work on Diamond and to do the adjustments, and spent 20 to 30min manipulating a very relaxed horse. He stated that because Jocelyn had worked on him he was very easy to manipulate at that it made his job much easier! I could tell the horse was a different horse when I brought him home. In the pasture he was like a two year old, running jumping, rearing and generally showing off. I rode him a couple of days later and My old buddy was back to being himself and enjoying our time together as apposed to dreading it. I cannot say enough good things about the results of his treatment. I am totally convinced that if Jocelyn had not worked on Diamond first, I would not have had as stellar and long lasting result.

~ Chuck B.

Equine Myofascial Release Resources

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