I had an existing client, an 18-year old dog, who struggled to walk and would splay flat on the ground.
I had a new client who had a senior horse suffering for three weeks and unable to physically put his head down to graze. The vet was seen but there was no progress and the owner was upset. She asked me for help, thinking it couldn’t hurt.
I had a new client who had a Thoroughbred just off the race track and need help focusing and calming for retraining. The new owner thought massage would help relax her.
I had a new client with an eventing horse which had never stood square and had trouble using his hind end for impulsion so they didn’t score as well as they’d like in Dressage. She thought she’d try massage since he’d never had bodywork.
These are all examples of a single day. Each owner had a different reason for me to evaluate and work on their dog or horse. Each one felt frustrated with their progress until then.
By the end of the session, the dog was balanced and walking of his own volition, the senior horse was grazing, the Thoroughbred was calm and letting us touch her face and ears, and the eventing horse was standing square of his own accord.
Is massage therapy a miracle? No. It does have a long history, 3,000 years, of use as a therapeutic discipline because it works. But more than that, it has to do with the therapist and their ability to listen to the body.
- I know that not all horses are the same.
- I know that horses will always do what’s easy, and if they can’t then it often points to something physical.
- I know that I’m never done learning from other body workers, other professionals, and each animal.
- I know that find the reason WHY is more important that trying to “fix” the symptom.
- I know that collaborating with owners, trainers, veterinarians, chiropractors and more only help the animal.
- I know that working WITH the animal makes us a stronger, more effective partnership.
- I know that trust is earned and can be the most effective tool in a bodyworker’s toolbox.
- I know that I am grateful to work with these amazing teachers every day.
- I know that it is the quality of the massage, not the time spent that is most effective.
I’m not The BEST body worker out there. We all have different experiences, use different techniques and approaches, and there isn’t one right way. But I aim to be the best I can be for my clients and it’s days like these that make proud of myself and what I have to offer.
If you are thinking about trying a bodyworker for your dog horse, do it. Sometimes the best results can take a few sessions to change the body patterns, and these are the ones that last the longest. Massage can add so much to the prevention of injuries and should be part of everyone’s maintenance program like a farrier or dentist. After all, it’s not a miracle for these animals, it’s just massage.