to Equine Therapy
Equine Massage Therapy, Stretching and
Range of Motion Exercises, and other
alternative therapies can affect your horse
either through the muscle tissue or the
nervous system. Quite often, both are
affected at the same time.
As mentioned before, one of the great benefits
of equine therapy is not only for the physical
body, but the mental and emotional state of
the horse as well. This happens by moving the
horse from the Sympathetic (stressed) state
to the Parasympathetic (relaxed) state. This is
called the "Relaxation Response".
As your horse begins to experience the "Relaxation Response", you will notice signs (feedback) that you
should look for. Some of these signs are:
These are just some things to look for. Many horses will come up with their own "antics" to let you know they
are enjoying what you are doing.
Some stick out their tongue, (this is one of Que's antics - check out the picture) some toss their head (happily),
flutter their eyelids, etc.
Horses with energy blockages can have different responses. I have had a few horses shake their head like they
had bugs in their ears (this is an energy release). And, one high spirited mare in particular used to have a mini
"freak out" just before almost every release (I made sure to warn the owner to get back just before I felt the
release happen so she could stay safe). I believe this had something to do with blocked energy due to the fact
that she was recovering from an injury and was on stall rest. After an equine energy session, she was much
more calm and relaxed.
So, obviously, this is only a partial list. Over time, you will get to know what to expect from your horse. As long
as he looks like he is happy and relaxed, all is well. If he is exhibiting behavior as described above, take a look
at what might be causing an energy blockage.
Also, some horses are more sensitive than others and will respond unfavorably if you apply too much pressure
or are moving in a way that they find annoying.
Watch out for "naughty" behavior and stay safe. Back off on your pressure, or change to a different movement or
to another more "acceptable" part of your horse's body. Sometimes starting farther away from a tense area and
moving toward it slowly will make it easier for the horse to accept.