An assessment of the whole horse is carried out, to evaluate the combined restrictions in the musculoskeletal, craniosacral and visceral systems. Mobilization techniques are then used to release restrictions in all 3 systems, opening up the neurological pathways, restoring essential blood flow and eliminating toxins.
When mobility becomes restricted the horse will compensate. In time, this restriction detrimentally affects the rest of the body, resulting in lameness or a pathology. The objective is to find and resolve the original cause, and restore full mobility to improve health and immunity.
As a qualified Veterinary Nutrition Therapist, you can rest assured that you are receiving expert advice on suitable feeding programs and beneficial herbal supplements to support any osteopathic restrictions in your horse.
Craniosacral Osteopathy and Craniosacral Therapy
Two distinct modalities
Craniosacral is a fundamental aspect of Equine Osteopathy, requiring knowledge of cranial nerve function, biomechanics of the cranium and sacrum, and an ability to detect and work within the cranial rhythm. When the bones become restricted, nerve entrapment or congestion results.
Craniosacral Osteopathy involves mobilizations and fascial releases to restore function and rhythm to the cranial and sacral bones, the spinal cord, and to the diaphragms surrounding organs.
Craniosacral Therapy involves light finger pressure with focused energy healing to specific points on the body.
BOTH modalities directly influence the nervous system, immune system, overall health and vitality.
Craniosacral techniques, when used together with whole horse osteopathy, have been found to be particularly beneficial for:
head shy horses
uneven head carriage
trauma from a pull back on a hard tie
Sports Massage works on the musculoskeletal system. It helps keep muscles healthy, builds up those that may have wasted, maintains strength and suppleness and prevents atrophy, even during a period of box rest or restricted work.
Passive stretches help to keep or restore joints and muscles to full working capacity. Suitable stretches are recommended for the owner to incorporate into the horse's routine.
Fascia is a web that surrounds every bone, muscle, organ, and blood vessel. If this fascia develops a restriction, perhaps from an injury or from repetitive training, it can cause pain, swelling, misalignments, decreased range of motion and lameness. The fascia becomes inflexible and hard.
The Barnes Method of Myofascial Release is a therapy technique to lengthen the fascial tissue with a gentle pressure into the restriction or tissue barrier. The tissue then becomes soft and pliable, the pressure will be taken off pain sensitive areas and motion is restored.
Reiki and Energy Healing
"To achieve the competitive edge in modern-day equestrian events, it is becoming increasingly necessary to maintain an open mind to all techniques that may enhance your horse's performance and wellbeing. To have a closed mind is to put oneself at a disadvantage." Blyth Tait MBE, Three Day Event Rider; Individual Gold Medal winner in Atlanta Olympic Games 1996; Olympic Bronze Medal winner Atlanta Games 1996 (with New Zealand team); World Champion 1990-1994, 1998-2002.*
Reiki is a form of hands on healing using symbols to help draw upon universal life force energy and channel it to the horse in a gentle, non-invasive way. It may be done on a general level, allowing the horse's body to direct the healing energy wherever it needs to go. This energy can work physically, mentally or emotionally.
During a healing session, the horse's brain releases endorphins which have a sedative-like effect and also act as painkillers. It is suitable for all conditions and can help other treatments work on a deeper level.
During Karen's first few months of practice in sports massage, she realized that there was a lot more happening between her and the horse. Sometimes the horse preferred a lighter touch than massage, and sometimes no direct contact at all. This was more evident with the high level competition horses, especially stallions. On one occasion she found herself standing a metre away from the horse, with intense heat emanating from her hands. Moving her hands a fraction in any direction would prompt an aggressive reaction, with the horse pinning his ears back. So she just stood with her hands facing the horse, directing them towards him as he lowered his head, relaxed and fell into a deep sleep. This was not massage! Unbeknown to her at the time, this was Karen's first experience of natural energy healing with horses. She then went on to study Reiki, Animal Reiki and become a Reiki Master in her quest to fully understand the power of energy healing.
*Healing for Horses by Margrit Coates, Ebury Publishing 2001
As an approved Saddle Company fitter, Karen has been trained in:
checking saddle fit
templating the horse for a made to fit saddle
adjusting the saddle on site, via a hydraulic machine
regulating and adjusting flocking on site
Laser Therapy and Laser Acupuncture (Photobiomodulation)
Laser therapy optimises healing for shorter lay-off recovery times from a range of conditions and injuries. Quick, painless and non-invasive, low level laser therapy can deliver remarkable results in pain-relief, wound healing and soft-tissue repair. Both acute and chronic conditions can be treated effectively with rapid healing of good tissue quality with limited scarring.
Low level laser treatment optimises natural healing by modulating relevant cell activity with light of controlled wavelengths and energy density.
The anti-inflammatory effects of laser are often relied upon when drugs are contra-indicated but increasingly the value of considering laser first is becoming apparent.
With laser, inflammation is reduced as part of the optimised natural healing process so it addresses the problem rather than the symptoms as NSAIDs tend to do. From muscle spasms and bowed tendons to mud fever and capped hock there is a laser therapy protocol to help.