Body Mechanic Basics
It is very important for you to pay attention to
how you are using your own body during an
equine therapy session.
You don't want to try to help your horse feel
better while causing stress, strain, and fatigue
to your own joints and muscles.
Please take some time to read through these
Body Mechanic Basic Tips. Try to keep them
in mind while working with your horse.
Keep Proper Alignment:
Stay Behind the Stroke:
Use Fingers and Thumbs Sparingly:
Work From Your Pelvis:
Whatever you do, try to stay relaxed. By staying relaxed, you can prevent muscle fatigue and
strain. It also sends a signal to your horse to be relaxed.
Be sure to keep your shoulders and neck relaxed and loose. You will probably find yourself
tensing and raising your shoulder. Be sure to be aware this might happen and relax and drop
your shoulder as soon as you notice it.
If necessary, "shake off" the tension in your own body before touching your horse.
ALWAYS be aware of keeping your spine in proper alignment.
Do not twist to reach an area on your horse's body by compromising your own. Change the
position of your body if you need to.
Be very careful to keep your wrist at, or less than,
a 45 to 60 degree angle.
This photo shows the correct angle.
If your wrist is at a 90 degree or more angle,
you are on top of the stroke.
This photo shows the incorrect angle.
Applying pressure to your wrist at a 90 degree or more angle will cause a repetitive strain
injury to the tendons and ligaments involved with the joint. It will also cause you to push into
your horse's muscles rather than allowing the muscle to relax and "open".
Try to avoid using your fingers and thumbs unless it is the only option.
The joints in your fingers cannot withstand constant compression. Fingers can become
fatigued and sore quickly, discouraging you from wanting to apply massage to your horse.
Also, you may cause damage to your joints over time.
If you need to use your fingers or thumb, make sure
you do not allow the joints to bend backward.
Always have a forward curve in your fingers and keep
your wrists in alignment with your forearm.
equine massage body mechanics
Try using one finger to support the other. By placing
one finger on top of the other, you will decrease the
amount of pressure placed on your fingers.
When using your thumb, allow your other fingers to
lay on the horse for support.
When working on large muscle groups, work from your pelvis to get the most leverage.
If applying a two-handed technique, rotate from your pelvis, not your shoulders. Be sure to
keep your shoulders loose and relaxed. Keep your spine in proper alignment at all times.
Information presented is for educational purposes only and is not intended
to replace professional opinions or recommendations.
Consult your veterinarian for advice about any medical condition or
treatment needed for your horse