How massage, acupressure, and hand-walking can improve your horse’s life on little time. A guest post by wehorse.
Every person involved with horses knows that having little time makes things complicated.
Sometimes you are faced with thinking: should I go see my horse for 30 minutes or not at all? This is, of course, taking into account that the horse receives adequate exercise another way (is turned out, someone else is riding him, walking machine…)
Here is the good news: you can do something beneficial for your horse even when your time is limited, and even these brief interactions will help you strengthen the partnership with your four-legged friend.
Keep in mind: not a single minute spent with your horse is wasted time.
Here are some ideas that can help improve your horse’s immune system, loosen his muscles, challenge his mind and strengthen your relationship.
Massage & stretching exercises
Alizée Froment does this before each riding session, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl massages her sport horses herself. And with good reason: “This is how I notice how my horse’s body feels before riding,” explains Alizée Froment. She uses arnica oil and massages with her hollow hand, using her fingertips and the ball of her hand, from the neck to the base of the tail. Jessica von Bredow-Werndl also massages her horses, with the help of a matrix rhythm device. Besides the physiological effect, this treatment also strengthens the horse-human bond. One just needs to observe horses in a herd situation; mutual grooming is at the top of the list of favorite activities among friends.
Jessica von Bredow-Werndl also performs the massage herself in order to feel what is going on in the body and the muscles of her horses. In this wehorse film, she explains this in more detail.
Acupressure for the horse as an immune booster
With a few simple steps and in less than five minutes a day you can help your horse strengthen his immune system. Acupressure can help you do this.
How it works: You apply light pressure to certain points on the horse’s body with your fingertips. The exact details are described in the text and of course, are explained in this video series. The method originates from Chinese medicine, and in the equestrian field, Dr. Ina Gösmeier is an expert.
She is a veterinarian with special training in Chinese medicine, treating the horses of the national teams and is regularly seen at the big competitions looking after the horses of some of Germany’s best riders.
Acupressure cannot heal, but it can support other therapy and strengthen the horse in general as well as helping with behavioral problems. The great thing about acupressure is that every rider or owner can implement the method themselves.
Acupressure as Prevention for coughing
If there are already horses coughing or other infectious diseases going through your stable, you can use acupressure to do something specific to help this pass your horse by. In this case, Dr. Ina Gösmeier recommends the following acupressure points:
1. The first point you address is lung 7 (Lu7). It lies just above the chestnut on the inside of the front leg and has an influence on the immune system.
The dots circled in green are those that can positively influence the immune system.
2. Point colon 4 (Li4) is a pain point and together with lung 7 it also activates the immune system (do not press simultaneously, but one after the other). It is also located on the inside of the front leg, below the carpal joint.
3. The point stomach 36 (St36) is “a very impressive point“, explains Dr. Ina Gösmeier, explaining “It activates the exhausted runner in such a way that he can run three more villages.” It has been proven, explains the veterinarian, that the acupressure of this point stimulates the production of white blood cells. It is located on the upper hind leg, between the stifle and the hock, and tends to be found at the front of the leg rather than the side.
Which technique to use depends on the aim of the treatment. Dr. Ina Gösmeier uses the Yan technique to strengthen the horse’s immune system, which has an invigorating effect. To do this, you apply light pressure with your fingertips for only 30 seconds. To make the treatment work, you must do acupressure daily and finish the treatment five days after the last horse in the stable is no longer sick. Ideally, the horse reacts immediately after the treatment by snorting and taking a deep breath.
In the theory of Chinese medicine, acupressure causes the following: It affects the flow of chi, an energy flow in the body. A steady flow of Chi keeps the body in harmony. Important: Never use more than five acupressure points. Which points you can acupressure, you can see in the videos of Dr. Ina Gösmeier on wehorse.com.
Walking & simply being together
This may sound simple, but it is very effective in strengthening your bond. Take your horse for a walk or let him graze in hand. Just spend time with him without having a task or training goal in mind. Most of the time we go to the horse with high expectations: we want to train certain movements, take care of our health, build up his muscles, do groundwork. All this is justified. But stopping every now and then, just being there and not asking for anything of him, also has qualities that you forget so quickly in everyday life, just enjoying time with your horse and letting him be himself with you.
wehorse is an online riding academy dedicated to horse-lovers where the knowledge of over 25 top trainers is being shared through more than 170 e-learning videos. Regardless of the discipline or level of training, there is something for everyone looking to strengthen their partnership with their horses. The best bit: these videos are available at any time, anywhere and on every device. Find wehorse on their website, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.