Stretch Your Horse For Greater Wellbeing

Masterson Stretching
Photograph by Heidi Nyland Melocco

As a horse operator, you depend on your partnership with your veterinar- ian to continue to keep your horse balanced and going properly. But what can you do to continue to keep your horse feeling superior in-between veterinary or equine chiropractic visits? And what can you do to help your horse continue to be serene in an emergency—before qualified aid comes? Massaging and stretching your horse can support you develop a trusting bond. As well as, you can learn procedures that will continue to keep your horse out of shock if there is an crisis. Below, we have highlighted a few bodywork approaches that you can discover to do with your horse—the Masterson Technique, TTouch, and stretching.

This work does not change veterinary treatment, but it can assistance you know your horse better. Deb Schlutz, DVM, is a veterinarian and equine chiropractor based mostly in Longmont, Colo. She endorses that her clients find out how they can assist involving her visits. And of course, some injuries heal far better with- out massage or stretching. Generally check out with your veterinarian to make positive that what you want to do will aid and not hinder your horse.

“You make a superior romantic relationship with your horse when you are interacting everyday,” claims Schlutz. “It allows your horse take it easy and allows you bond. If you understand to do some bodywork, you can see what’s modifying with your horse. You’ll know how your horse commonly moves and if there’s a alter that may well call for a go to.”

Masterson Stretching
This horse’s shake is demonstrating a launch of stress after a Masterson Process method. Picture by Heidi Nyland Melocco

Masterson Approach

WHAT IT IS: Masterson Process bodywork relies on the horse’s reaction to your touch to uncover and release stress. Following functioning as a therapeutic massage therapist for functionality horses, founder Jim Masterson observed that applying light contact normally resulted in significant responses. He produced his personal tactics, which instruct you to enjoy for your horse’s reactions and go on light massage centered on how your horse responds.

“It is a little something you do with the horse fairly than to the horse,” he claims.

Interacting with your horse can help you see the delicate symptoms of entire body suffering just before there is a huge problem. If you observe where your horse is holding rigidity, you can get the job done with your horse to release it.

Jim Masterson working on a horse
Jim Masterson demonstrating how to perform in excess of the bladder meridian for the duration of a how-to clinic. Picture by Heidi Nyland Melocco

Approach TO Try: Trace your horse’s bladder meridian (which operates by way of a horse’s poll, shoulders, withers and hind close) with your hand to aid him release stress. A meridian is a pathway in the body in which energy flows from organ to organ. Masterson suggests that by tracing meridians with tender contact, you can assist your horse launch pressure. View a movie clip on the net at www.little from “Mas- terson’s Gentle to the Core” video to see how to work on this meridian.

“It’s a probability to place collectively a picture of what is heading on [and] exactly where in the horse’s body,” suggests Masterson.

With your horse haltered, use your palms to softly trace together the meridian line. It begins over the horse’s eye, goes in between the ears to the poll, follows along the mane, together the side of the backbone and moves to the hamstring muscle tissues. It carries on to the hock, down the leg and to the outdoors of the coronary band.

As you get the job done, notice if your horse blinks, yawns, licks or chews. Do not drive or rub but manage a light touch. If your horse responds, you can stay and hold gentle pressure.

“You’re hunting for a transform in habits that correlates with what you are carrying out with your hand,” says Masterson.


TTouch Ear Slides
TTouch ear slides put the overall procedure of the horse into a state of rest and restoration. Image by Gabrielle Boiselle/Reprinted with Authorization from Trafalgar Square Textbooks

WHAT IT IS: Tellington TTouch incorporates gentle, circular and sliding touches to bring your horse into a condition of rest and recovery whilst you hold out for the veterinarian to arrive or immediately after any cure. The touches also support serene sore muscular tissues and chill out anxious horses. The operate activates your horse’s parasympathetic anxious system—part of the autonomic anxious system that relaxes the human body and slows higher-vitality functions, these as the coronary heart charge.

TTouch can speed therapeutic and recovery from injury and disease in horses and in all animals, which includes people, states founder Linda Tellington-Jones, PhD.

“You can make a big difference in your horse’s wellness and nicely-being and build a more powerful rely on,” says Tellington-Jones.

TTouch Ear Slides
To get started, reduce your horse’s head, then efficiently stroke from the middle of his poll, about the foundation of his ear and slide out to the idea. Photo by Gabrielle Boiselle/Reprinted with Permission from Trafalgar Sq. Books

Technique TO Try: Tellington-Jones suggests that all horse entrepreneurs discover the Ear TTouch. You are going to slide your fingers about your horse’s ear from the foundation to the suggestion.

“With the ear slides, you can convey a horse out of shock or hold him out of shock until your veterinarian can get there,” she states. “And even immediately after the vet is there, the slide from the base of the ear out to the strategies puts the total system—and brings the horse—into a point out of relaxation and recovery. You can help you save the lifestyle of your horse with this.”

The total system is outlined in The Ultimate Horse Behavior and Training Ebook. To start out, reduce your horse’s head, then smoothly stroke from the center of his poll, in excess of the base of his ear and slide out to the suggestion. End with a tiny twist amongst your fingers and thumb as you glide off the idea of the ear. As soon as your horse feels comfortable, repeat when sliding your thumb together the inside of of his ear as you also stroke the outside the house. Upcoming, convey your horse’s ear out to the side and slide your hand from base to idea.

TTouch Ear Slides
Complete with a minor twist between your fingers and thumb as you glide off the suggestion of the ear. Picture by Gabrielle Boiselle/Reprinted with Permission from Trafalgar Sq. Books

“Remember to maintain the halter’s noseband on the opposite facet from the ear so you can equilibrium the slight pull with a minor resistance, as nicely as hold the horse’s head straight,” states Tellington-Jones. “Some horses get pleasure from or tolerate only gentle, gradual strokes except if they are in pain or shock. In this party, you should really stroke fast and firmly, and hold it up until finally the horse is at ease and his pulse and respiration return to ordinary ranges, or until your vet comes.” To complete, keep the front of the noseband to decrease the head and stroke the ear with the again of the hand from forehead to neck.

Extend Your Horse

Stretch Your Horse
The Front Leg and Pectoral Muscles extend targets the horse’s pectoral muscular tissues and extensor muscle groups on the front and within of the entrance legs. Courtesy Extend Your Horse

WHAT IT IS: Horses in all disciplines can benefit from stretching to preserve them in major shape and reduce accidents and lameness. By finding out to effectively stretch your horse’s muscles, you can make improvements to convenience and efficiency and also enable prevent injuries and down time. In addition, you are going to boost your bonding time and know how your horse is shifting just about every day.

An application known as Extend Your Horse incorporates 25 video clip tutorials so you can learn to properly stretch the horse’s main muscle groups. Ilene Nessenson, a licensed equine bodyworker who analyzed equine workout physiology, produced the movie-primarily based app.

HOW IT Will help: Stretching your horse can support improve flexibility and selection of motion. Stretching also assists reduce injuries and lameness by strengthening supportive tissues whilst guarding against muscle mass tightness.

“Studies also show stretching guards versus tendon shortening, which can lead to untimely musculoskeletal getting old,” says Nessenson. “Plus, it can aid lessen article-training soreness and can assist in harm rehabilitation.”

System TO Try out: “One incredibly essential extend just about every horse needs is the Entrance Leg and Pectoral (‘armpit’) Muscles Extend,” she says.

This extend targets the horse’s pectoral muscle tissue (operating down the horse’s chest and into the armpit area). It also stretches the extensor muscle tissues on the entrance and inside of of the front legs. Enjoy the absolutely free how-to video at www.little


◆ Jim Masterson provides in-particular person instruction workshops and certifies practitioners. examine out his DVD collection and textbooks on the Masterson Technique and additional at
◆ Linda Tellington-Jones’ TTouch offers horse training and bodywork publications, DVDs, and certification spots at
◆ Ilene Nessenson’s stretch your horse application can be found at ($1.99 with added in-app buys).

This article on three techniques to stretch a horse (the Masterson Technique, TTouch, and stretching) appeared in the February 2020 concern of
Horse Illustrated journal. Click right here to subscribe!