Diane Hash, REMT, at work.
The Horse Haven exhibit at The Calgary Stampede, 2012. This mare regularly competes in a variety of disciplines. Here, I'm doing her hands-on assessment.
At the Calgary Stampede, 2012. Safety is always of paramount concern, but in this case she was extremely receptive to my ministrations. Working "free" with her allowed her to cooperate actively with me. This is a foreleg flexor stretch.
This mare was lovely to work on. Notice her response...nostrils are dilated and blowing, lips are tense and she's chewing, and her head and neck are elongated. She's "self-stretching."
Many horses have fascial restrictions through this area. Massage using specific fascial technique helps release this, allowing greater freedom of movement through the limb.
Think of how expressive the equine ear is. Thirteen muscles rotate the ears almost 180 degrees, and they rarely rest. Very fine massage techniques can ease tension in these muscles, preventing headaches, TMJ disordersand tension at the poll.
If my position in this photo seems dangerous, it's because it is. Normally, I would never stand in front of the horse and below his head like this. But for photography purposes, we sometimes have to bend the rules...as carefully as possible.
Stretching is good for horses and humans...just ask any athlete. I usually incorporate stretches at the end of a session when muscles are warm and more pliable. Never stretch a cold muscle, and never bounce the stretch.
The horse carries 65% of its weight on its front legs. Because they don't have a clavicle (collar bone) as we do, the attachment of that foreleg is strictly by soft tissue.
The technique I'm using here is called light hacking or ulnar hacking. It's a Swedish massage technique used to stimulate a muscle and bring blood to it.