Horses Need Bodywork Too!

Melanie Taylor Blog

Wildwood Farm hosted another Ida Hammer equine hoof clinic but this time Ida collaborated with osteopath and bodyworker Deb Davies. Together they presented lots of information on the hoof/body connection and compensation effects on the horse when one or the other is out of balance.

Deb worked on several horses explaining the roles of the different segments of the spinal column. The three major junctions are the poll, sternum and sacrum. She says the sacrum and the poll are mirrors. Whatever happens at one end of the horse directly affects the opposite end. Deb lined up a group of students in a train to act as different vertebrae. She gave them specific roles to act out to demonstrate the chain reaction when an area is out of whack.

We don’t expect to be able to make major adjustments in the horse but Deb taught us little things we can do daily as we are grooming or preparing to ride each horse. Whether it is stretching the neck and limbs or massaging fascia, we learned that every little bit helps to supple your horse and help keep them in better balance overall.

Ida added tidbits such as the negative effects of toes being too long. This puts more strain on the tendons and affects the whole horse. Proper balance of the foot equates to proper balance of the body. Form affects function and vice versa.

We ask so much of our horses that are not designed to carry weight. It is what we have assigned them, not what they have chosen. Thus this clinic added one more thing to our understanding of good horsemanship and horse care. Besides good groundwork, riding, nutrition and turn out, proper vet and hoof care, horses need bodywork too!