Frequently asked questions
What to expect during a massage/bodywork session?
You will be asked to fill out a equine client intake form before the session. It is prefered to have all the information before the session so a plan can be created and also have a full understanding of your horse's needs and situtaion during the first meeting.
Jenna asks for your patience during the session, as she will be giving your horse her complete attention and will answer any questions after. The first therapy session will be approximately 1.5-2.5 hours.
Before the session, she may ask you to walk and trot your horse so can do a movement evaluation to detect any areas of muscle tightness. A hands on evaluation will then be performed to get a preliminary reading of your horse's current condition.
The body work session will last from 1-1.5 hours. The session can be in the horse's stall or in a quiet place where he/she feels comfortable and have enough space to move around. You may be asked to hold your horse while performing the first massage. Jenna combines several healing modalities during a session depending on a horse's needs.
The horse’s responses to touch during massage/bodywork may be subtle or obvious. Jenna uses this observation of the horse’s response to her advantage when performing massage and bodywork. The areas of restriction, pain, and discomfort are reached more accurately and the releases are deeper and more profound when she combines her skill of palpation with knowledge of equine body language.
What to expect after the massage/bodywork session?
Light follow-up exercise is a component of equine sports massage. Light exercise after a massage helps in re-educating the muscles fibers to the correct alignment without tension or tightness and become comfortable working with new range of movement .
10-15 minutes of hand-walking, lunging, groundwork or turnout will be great for the horse. A short trail ride is also an option. Avoid collective work and tight circles, focus more on stretching exercises, bending and big circles . Movement also helps circulate the blood and can aid in helping the horse release old waste and toxins which have been trapped in the tissue.
Be sure the horse has water available and has a chance to relieve him/herself after the session. Changes made in bodywork use more water than normal, which result in thirst and a full bladder. Drinking water after the session can also help release waste products from the tissues.
It's possible that your horse could be sore for a day or two after the massage. While this could be due to excessive pressure during the massage, more often it's part of the natural healing process-- the result of toxins which had been trapped in soft tissue being removed from the body, strengthening of weak muscles and rebalancing old postural habits. Movement and good hydration will help speed the recovery process.
Does the horse need to be clean before the session?
Your horse should be reasonably clean and dry for the massage session. If you know you won't have a chance to groom your horse prior to the session, Jenna is happy to do that for you for additional fee. Please have your horse's brushes and grooming equipment available for use.
How often does the horse need to have bodywork?
*This is only a guideline, will adjust to match you and your horse's needs and budget.
Monthly or bi-monthly bodywork:
Pleasure horses (lightly ridden)
Young horses not in training
Retired horses on pasture or stalled (bi-monthly minimum if stalled)
Weekly bodywork sessions:
Horses in training (ridden 3 to 5 days per week)
Working horses (police horses, cart horses, ranch horses, etc.)
Geriatric horses (arthritis)
Horses with known imbalances and non-acute lameness (clubfoot, old chronic injuries, ringbone)
Multiple bodywork sessions per week:
Horses with heavy workload (ridden every day)
Horses in acute injury recovery (particularly if stalled)
Laminitic horses (early stages)
Chronic imbalances/injuries (start of therapy)
If the horse been diagonsed by the vet with injury that requires stall rest and hand walking only, should reduce his bodywork frequency since he is not working?
Massage for the stall-bound or hand-walking horse will aid in the recovery and rehabilitation process by keeping the circulation going, the muscle fibers elastic, and the joints in full range of motion. Also it will make her/him feel better and happier!
Why is veterinary approval or referral important and required before first session?
Equine Body Work involves the application of hands on modalities. It is important to clarify any contraindications or veterinarian diagnosed conditions prior to commencing body work so that body work may be applied appropriately.
It is so important that routine equine bodywork accompanies regular veterinary care, balanced nutrition, training/conditioning, and regular dental and hoof care to support your horses' balance, musculoskeletal health ,overall wellness, and optimum performance.
If in doubt- Always contact your veterinarian.
****ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR VETERINARIAN. EQUINE MASSAGE AND BODYWORK IS NOT INTENDED TO REPLACE THE ADVICE AND
TREATMENT OF A QUALIFIED VETERINARIAN. EQUINE MASSAGE AND BODYWORK SHOULD BE A
SUPPLEMENTAL THERAPY TO REGULAR VETERINARY CARE.****
As a prey animal, the horse attempts to always appear strong. If the horse shows signs of pain or weakness it will be the one first noticed by the predator, or may be left behind by the herd. Every horse will guard against showing signs of pain, weakness, lameness in the body. That is why it can be so difficult to evaluate lameness in a horse.
The Masterson Method® accesses that part of the horse’s nervous system that will give certain signs that tell where tension is being held in the body, and when it is being released. With the correct level of touch or pressure, and following what the horse’s own body is indicating, it will release the tension it is holding onto
When use light touch and/or movement while staying “beneath their natural blocking/survival response” we help them become aware of and release tension without being threatened by our presence. Scientifically it is believed that these releases – licking and chewing, yawning, etc. – are signs that the horse is shifting from a state of stress (sympathetic, sometimes called fight/flight) to a state of relaxation (parasympathetic, sometimes called rest and digest).
It is a results driven interactive method of equine bodywork which finds and releases accumulated tension in key junctions that most affect balance, movement & performance. Unlike most modalities, it allows the horse to participate in the process. It is something you do with the horse not to the horse, which is what makes it fascinating for those who use it. Results can be observed immediately through visual tension releases & increased range of motion.
Equine Kinesology Taping
Kinesiology - is the scientific study of movement, and that is what this tape is for: supporting and promoting movement. It does not compress the tissue which allows it to support proper muscle movement. There are many different application patterns for your given goal. For example, it can activate or relax muscles, support joints or assist fascia correction.
Decompresses the tissue thereby enabling increased blood flow and oxygenation which promotes and facilitates healing
Decreases muscle spams, tension, soreness and trigger points
Helps relax overused muscles
Decreases edema and swelling
Provides support to tendons, ligaments and joints in both athletic and injury rehab situations
Helps to improve muscle and joint mechanics
Tissue decompression helps provide pain relief by decreasing the pressure on the skin's pain receptors and how the receptors respond to messages from the brain
Can be used in a preventative manner for horses that have weaknesses or are prone to injuries
Can help horses recover faster in athletic training situations
Can assist with horses that have chronic conditions such as lesions, kissing spine and chronic stiffness
***I am in process of becoming ceritfied and will be using this modalitiy along with Sports Massage and Masterson Method.
What is the Holistic Approach?
The Holistic Approach consists of looking at the whole horse and their health, lifestyle and management.
Jenna's approach is using the whole horse approach when doing bodywork and horsemanship.
In practicing Mindfulness and Being in the Present Moment where there is Freedom for Expression and True Connection. Jenna takes pride in healing, caring, and rehabbing horses in the best way for them naturally , the way nature intended them to be. A holistic natural lifestyle that parallels to the wild horse model in diet,natural barefoot hoof care and environment and management. Being and communicating with horses in liberty, giving them the freedom of choice to work and play with us.
Looking at whole horse approach- 60% of the equine body weight is pure muscle. The muscles, skeleton, and joints work together to create motion. Everything plays a part in how and why a horse acts, thinks, feels and what creates tension/pain/discomfort within the musculoskeltal system and emotional trauma.
Stress-includes mental emotional spiritual and physicsl stress
Insuffiient warm up/cool down
Bad footing/foot and leg pain
Looking at it from holistic view will help figure out how to help your equine partner live a happy healthy balanced life and overall wellbeing and performance at her/his best. Jenna enjoys colloborating with other equine healthcare professionals involved in your horses care to work together to give the asbolute best care possible.
Jenna firmly believes and includes this approach of working with and rehabilitating horses in a way that works with and strengthens the biomechanics of both horse and rider through gymnastic/straightness training using natural true dressage, groundwork/in-hand, and in liberty. To develop harmony , balance, suppleness through relaxation mentally with trust, healing and connection and physically through engagement of the postural ring. To channel the power from the hind-leg through the horse's body to create a beautiful and balanced flow of movement.
*Horses communicate to us clearly and specifically , if we are willing to listen* -Anonymous
*Hands bring Body, Mind, and Spirit into balance*- Anonymous
*Frame of body=Frame of mind”-Anonymous
*When horses learn to be more open and free in their bodies they move better, become more self-aware, and more open to training and treatments.
All healing ultimately comes from within*- Anonymous
*Let all your actions always be guided by love and responsibility towards your horse.* Nuno Oliviera