with complementary holistic therapies & neuromuscular education
Equine Hanna Somatics, Massage & Acupressure
Location: Newent, Gloucestershire Tel: 07496 327140
Race horses, Dressage horses, Event horses, Leisure horses, Children's ponies, Shetland companion ponies. I work with all types of horses to help them feel and move better.
Wherever possible (safety permitting) I do not tie them. This is so they remain free of being controlled. It is important to give them choice to move away if they dislike anything or feel discomfort. If they do move away or show signs of irritability or displeasure, I find most horses soon come back once the moment has passed. They know when you are trying to help them feel better! Furthermore willing participation enables deeper longer lasting effects in the nervous system.
Below are some examples of ponies and horses that I have helped /continue to work with. It is an absolute honour and privilege to work with all horses and ponies. If we listen they are great teachers and thus it is mutually beneficial for as much as I am able to help them, they teach me. We must honour our horses. #lovesteeds
The Birch or TBB as she was often affectionately called was the best Racehorse to date for the smart and accomplished trainer Matt Sheppard of Matt Sheppard Racing in Eastnor, Herefordshire. (Matt is currently writing his Race trainer autobiography which will be a brilliant read, especially for anyone who is not familiar with the sport. I’ve read an excerpt). In the final few years of her racing career, Matt asked me to work with The Birch to help prepare her both physically and mentally ahead of races. She loved her treatments, especially a good massage on her hind end. She would always turn and place it in front of me telling me to work there. So I would oblige and then make my way back to other areas that needed attention. She was assertive and let me know clearly when she had had enough. In the last year of treating her I started to include a few EHS movements in the session, which I was studying at the time. There are various factors that affect Racehorse performance including ground, race track, weather, weight etc. TBB was always a joy and thrill to watch but in my humble opinion, after I began including some EHS in her treatments she had some phenomenal race performances.
Interestingly throughout the race season she would progressively knock her left foreleg fetlock which would result in it being bandaged in the stable. This self inflicted injury did not appear to affect her performance or bother her. However I wish I could have done EHS sessions with her throughout a whole season for I believe this injury was the result of muscles becoming chronically contracted in her front left side and thoracic sling area. EHS could have prevented it. It's a shame I couldn't put my theory to the test with her!
In Traditional Chinese Medicine they talk about horses temperaments being influenced by several of the five elements, but it being primarily aligned to one. The elements are: Wind, Fire, Metal, Water and Wood;. What I knew and saw of The Birch, I'd say she was primarily aligned to Wood which is considered the perfect racehorse type! The fantastc girl is now retired from racing and enjoying a different pace of life as a brood mare.
Boe is a veteran Shetland, 22 years old this year. Her start in life is unknown but was clearly not the best as her ears were cut and her hind limb deformity meant she had very poor posture and limited mobility behind. Due to this, she was also unable to urinate without causing herself skin irritation and messing her hind legs. Before coming to her current home , where she is a companion pony to a bigger Welsh pony, she lived a feral life in a field with another younger Shetland whom she aggressively dominated. Since having monthly LS Equine Therapy sessions her mobility and posture has vastly improved and there is no longer the issue with her urine. Firstly her owner noticed her droppings becoming more spread out around her field which indicated she was moving around more. And quite noticeably her back and hind end have lifted, her deformed hind legs elongated with reduced muscle hypertonicity and better flexibility. In addition, her defensive and aggressive temperament towards her bigger companion has changed. Unable to graze in the same field before because of her aggression and defensiveness, Boe is now happy and relaxed grazing and hanging out with her companion on the same pasture. Her owner attributes this to her being more mobile and confident in her body.
I see Boe for monthly sessions and in between her owner does maintenance with a variety of massage, acupressure and EHS techniques and exercises that I have recommended to maintain Boe’s newly found comfort, mobility and ultimately quality of life. Boe is such a sweetie, so forgiving of humans whom in the past have treated her badly. Thank goodness after her miserable beginnings, in her senior years, she is now with a very kind, caring and compassionate owner!
Monty is a happy hacker horse. I met his lovely owner on a day I was doing some promotion of LS Equine Therapy in the Newhunt Equine and Country Store in Huntley. Monty was 17 at the time. Due to his age and noticing him looking a bit stiff sometimes as well as experiencing some bolshy behaviour, she was very keen to keep him comfortable in his body to enable longevity in his physical functionality (a subsequent annual vet check up advised he has arthritis in his hocks, as many horses do) and help alleviate the bolshiness he sometimes displayed. He had two blended modality sessions over two weeks and then a full EHS session the following month. He responded really well with freer movement and improved posture. More frolicking happy spirited behaviour in the field was observed too. He now has 6 monthly LS Equine Therapy sessions and in between these his wonderful owner, who is very good at listening to her intuition and gut feeling, maintains his physical comfort with techniques I have shown her and knowledge I share. She is fairly new to horse ownership and is a very compassionate and conscientious owner. It's great she keeps in touch to let me know how he is doing. It Is a huge pleasure and privilege to be part of her horsemanship journey.
In addition to Monty's improved comfort and physical functionality, which has given him a new bounciness and joie de vivre in his veteran years, she says his temperament has changed: he seems less bolshy, a lot more relaxed in his demeanor and more willing.