If you've been reading the blog for any length of time, you probably know that I am a pretty big fan/sucker for anything that purports to make my horse's life more comfortable. Magic saddle pads, magic liniments, magic bodywork, magic supplements... If you can market it as somewhat magical, I will probably buy it.
To my credit I usually suss out whether or not each "magic" thing actually has any magic.. if it doesn't I move on to the next shiny thing I can play with, but if it does, I make copious notes and probably start blabbering about it to everyone who will listen (whether they have horses or not).
I've always felt particularly strong about the value of good bodywork, but holy shit - after watching Prair get her spa treatment on Thursday I think I am slightly obsessed.
I operate under the assumption that if I like my semi-regular bodywork and acupuncture, then I'm sure my horses also appreciate it - plus when I consider that not only are they more athletically inclined than I am (at this point), their shear size and mass sort mean that we're fighting an uphill battle between fitness, comfort and the destructive force of basically being a big beached whale suffering under its own weight.
Given all that, it's a tad surprising that I haven't had any bodywork done n the mare since we moved barns, but part of my enthusiasm around any type of bodywork stems from a trust and confidence in whatever practitioner I am using. Having moved beyond the travel range of my previous bodywork-er, I let Prair's maintenance schedule slide.
After several positive reviews from within the barn, I decided to give a new lady a go, and holy moly - so glad I did. I have literally never seen Prair have more (or more obvious) releases in a single session. Sure, maybe there was some serious low hanging fruit given the lapse in regular treatments, but wow.
So much work got done on that crazy tight Nuchal Ligament, along with releasing her poll/atlas and some serious tension in her throatlatch. After some simultaneous work on her poll and throatlatch Prair was licking and chewing so much it was like she was trying to spit something out. Then she sighed and closed her eyes.
After a big release at her poll she had a yawning fit (like 12 yawns in a row?) and her left hip also dropped about 2" in response.
Amazing how everything is connected... I mean we "know" the topline is one big connected spiderweb, but it's pretty powerful to see how directly impacted one area is by the tension (or release) of another.
By the end of her nearly 90 min sesh - Prair was leaning into her bodywork-er and begging for increased pressure at certain points. Pretty cool. Even in some super sensitive areas, she never avoided the pressure, but rather maintained a concerned eyeball until things released enough for her to relax into the work.
There were also a few spots of tension I wasn't expecting - like Prair's deep left pectoral, and her left hip, so those got some attention too.
Follow-up appointment is set for about 10 days from now to try and really stay on top of that neck/poll/throatlatch tightness. I'd love to start to get those areas to stay soft on their own, hopefully the combo of Prair's new muscles and training along with the injections and bodywork will help support some continued relaxation.
I'm particularly motivated to keep that Nuchal Ligament happy - since stretching that down and forward (in a traditional "frame") is what helps physically lift the withers and allow a horse to truly work over its back, and that's exactly what Prair needs to be doing and strengthening all the time.
If the Nuchal is spasming or Prair is unwilling to stretch - that will inhibit our effort to continue to build up her back muscles, support that Supraspinous Ligament and alleviate the Kissing Spine symptoms...
So cool. Plus it was super fun to watch and learn more about what the bodywork-er was doing/noticing/feeling and Prair was such a happy mareface that she was just nuzzling, grooming and licking me the whole time. I'm not sure the people at work appreciated the total tongue bath in mare spit when I got back to the office, but it was a fun snuggle time for me so who cares.