I’m a certified equine massage therapist who focuses on the total rider/horse connection.
Operating as usual
I am expanding available modalities to accommodate the various possible dysfunctions a horse may have. I am incorporating ultrasound to help relax deep tissue muscle knots which will allow better reception of massage techniques.
I am always thinking and building my tool box to best serve our equine partners!
STL Equine Therapy strives to help not only the horse but the rider. I am combining both equine massage modalities with a holistic energy approach. I am CEMT and CRMT certified!! I will be adding KT and CranialSacral therapies to the list of modalities. I will be looking for horses to do case studies on for those certifications.
I strive to create a full tool box of therapies that can help animals and humans. Each person is an individual, not one is the same. It also applies to horses. The more flexibility in the tools used on an animal, the greater the success!! PM me if you have any questions!!!
STL Equine Therapy has expanded their therapies to include energy work consisting of acupressure like therapy and Akashic Record readings for you and your animals (horses, dogs etc).
A partnership is vital in relationship between human and horse. It is a give and take, with a ton of trust on both sides. Just as humans have their "baggage" so do horses. The goal as an equestrian is to establish such a close relationship with your faithful steed that you can almost "read their minds" and work in unison with precision and grace. STL wants to help you in your journey!
I am a very big supporter of other businesses in the equine industry and if I don't have an answer, I have no problems referring other businesses to help. The main goal here is to help the welfare of your horse. I will do all I can to help you and your horse!!
Message me for any questions!!!!
Does this look familiar?
When horses stop and stand, fixated on something faaarrr from their rider or handler, it can be super frustrating as the horse stops responding to you, or responds erratically, with hurried, jerky movements and little focus.
This characteristic pose is called a ‘freeze’. It might last a few minutes, or just a few seconds and despite the fact that the horse isn’t moving, it actually means they are really quite fearful and worried about the situation they find themselves in. Their body is completely still, but it is preparing itself to run or fight. The horses stress hormones, heart rate and breathing rate are all increasing as part of this preparation.
The freeze ‘pose’, includes a very high head position, wide eyes, flared nostrils, raised tail, fixed ears and tense back and neck. They may p**p.
As a handler, it is easy to feel very small and vulnerable as your horse appears to grow another hand and stop listening to you at the same time! Not fun!!
To be fair, its not much fun for your horse either, as they are struggling to cope with the situation they find themselves in. So what can we do to help?
Essentially, we want to identify what is triggering them and reduce the intensity of that trigger, to help them calm down, for example:
- If we have taken them to a new location (say on a ride out, or even a new area of their home property that they don’t usually go), take them back somewhere more familiar,
- If they have moved away from their normal companions, take them closer to a familiar horse, or have a familiar horse brought close to where you are working your horse.
- If there is something novel in the environment that they are worried about (eg: a type of animal or vehicle they have never seen before), take them further away from it
- Once we have reduced the trigger, help the horse to calm down further by encouraging them to graze for a bit. If they are too worried to graze, they are not calm enough for training and we need to reduce the trigger further.
If we catch the freeze early and can calm them down quickly, we may be able to continue with some training, just not quite the training we originally intended.
When our horse goes into freeze mode, it is not a good time to try and train them to cope with whatever situation is worrying them, they are too worried to learn well and very likely to escalate into fight or flight mode, which can be dangerous and lead them to learning to be even more scared.
What we can do is help them to calm down and make a note of what it was that worried them. This is training GOLD right here! Then when our horse is safe and calm, we can go and have a cup of tea and make a plan to gradually address the issue another day.
This is just too cool!!
Photos from Bring Ace Home - A Lesson In Faith's post
Congrats to Team Barlow Performance Horses on their successful show!!!! A super packed few days with more competitors than normal but you still rocked it!!!! BEMER was a big part in keeping Damion in tip top shape and recovering optimally to perform to his fullest!!!! So happy and proud of your successes Alice!!!
Really great information!!!
LICKING & CHEWING – SUBMISSION OR STRESS?
There is a popular belief amongst some natural horsemanship trainers that if a horse is ‘licking and chewing’ during training they are submitting to the trainer. Some even believe the horse then sees them as their 'leader'. One example is the practice of driving a horse forward in a round pen until they stop fleeing and start licking their lips and chewing repetitively. This chewing is then interpreted as submissive behaviour.
Many trainers are using this behaviour as a way to measure how well their training is working, but this is only an assumption as there is little scientific research available on this topic. Making assumptions about horse behaviour in this way is very dangerous ground and can often compromise horse welfare.
Last week at the International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) conference a fascinating study was presented that finally addresses this topic. I want to say a huge well done to Margrete Lie and her team for being prepared to tackle this touchy subject.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
This is the official press release on the study from ISES:
"Horses sometimes lick and chew during training and this has often been interpreted as a sign that the horse is learning or showing ‘submission’ to the trainer. However, a new study suggests that this non-nutritive licking and chewing behaviour is a natural behaviour that is shown after a stressful situation.
To gain insight into the function of licking and non-nutritive chewing behaviour in horses, a team of equine scientists from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences observed the social behaviour of feral horses under natural conditions.
M.Sc. Margrete Lie and Prof. Ruth Newberry spent 80 hours observing feral horse herds in Ecuador and collected data on 202 sequences of behaviour when licking and chewing behaviour occurred. Margrete Lie presented her findings at the 14th International Society of Equitation Science (ISES) conference in Rome last week.
The team wanted to investigate whether non-nutritive chewing was performed to signal submission to another horse and also to study whether horses performed the behaviour in between stressed and calm situations.
To find out whether non-nutritive chewing was performed to signal submission the researchers tested the idea that when one horse (the aggressor) approached another horse (the recipient) in a threatening manner, the recipient but not the aggressor would perform the behaviour. The team observed and recorded different behavioural sequences that involved aggressive interactions (for example if one horse herded or threatened another) and recorded whether the chewing behaviour was performed by either horse.
The results were fascinating: the team found that the chewing behaviour was performed by both the approaching and the recipient horses. Non-nutritive chewing was actually performed more often by the aggressor than the recipient, refuting the assumption this behaviour is a submissive signal.
The researchers also investigated whether non-nutritive chewing occurred between tense and relaxed situations. When observing the horses’ behavioural sequences, they found that the majority of the behaviours before chewing were tense and the majority of behaviours after chewing were relaxed. The chewing behaviour occurred when the horses transitioned from a tense to a relaxed state.
The researchers concluded that chewing could be associated with a switch from a dry mouth caused by stress (sympathetic arousal) to salivation associated with relaxation (parasympathetic activity).
The results of this study suggest that non-nutritive chewing was not used as a submissive signal by horses in the contexts observed, but it occurred after a tense situation, likely as a response to a dry mouth.
The research team acknowledge that further research is required to measure the stress responses associated with non-nutritive chewing. However, this study does highlight that licking and chewing likely occurs after a stressful situation and may be used as a behavioural indicator that the previous situation was perceived as stressful by the horse."
To view the ISES position statement on the use/misuse of leadership and dominance concepts in horse training please visit:
From researcher Margrete Lie:
“We looked at feral horses living with as little human interference as possible to see how they behaved in their natural habitat. It was important to look at completely natural behaviour and therefore we wanted to see horses living without restriction. These horses were living in a 334 km2 national park, and in the area we observed there were a little under 200 horses. No stallions had been removed from the population as is so common in domestic horses.”
“It was interesting to see how often the horses performed the chewing behaviour and also how clear it was that all individuals did chew – not only ‘submissive’ individuals.”
“The study showed that the horses were chewing between calm and relaxed situations, but it does not say if chewing comes as a response to relaxing or if chewing helps them relax. To able to look at this more closely I believe a more controlled study with stress measurements is needed.”
Researchers: M. Lie1,2* and R.C. Newberry1
1. Department of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, P.O. Box 5003, NO-1432 Ås, Norway
2. Hesteglede, Ås, Norway
Email Margret Lie: *[email protected]
Bear loved his treatment Victoria Whitehead! Thank you so much for having Team Barlow Performance Horses LLC. test your product on the Gypsies while we gear up for the JJ Horse Celebration Georgia National Fair! I was able to body clip Bear in record time today with no fuss
I’m a huge supporter of BEMER..... it does great things for both rider and horse!!
BEMER Equine | BEMER Life Better Circulation | Better Health | Better Life
Congratulations to Alice and her horses Aries, Damion, and Coal on their very successful show in S. Carolina!!!! Team Barlow is my greatest BEMER supporter and it shows in the performance of her horses!!!!
Aries - All Breed Open Champion
Damion - Overall High Point Gypsy Vanner Performance Champion. Damion performed in every single Open class like a Beast! He won every Open Driving class and the Jackpot Driving class.
Updates on Coal's standings coming!!!
Congratulations again Team Barlow!!
How important is it to have a good fitting saddle for your horse? How about you?
It is vital to be balanced on a horse for a number of reasons. A properly balanced rider allows for the horse to move fluidly.
Have you ridden ba****ck? What are the motions your hips move at a walk? How about at a trot? These motions need to be there with a saddle too.
Any impingement of the shoulders or on the spine, will produce a sore, cranky, horse. So before you think your horse is acting out and has behavioral problems, check your saddle. Horses don't have voices to tell you when it hurts, they act out in behavior.
I can help assess your horse to determine what could be going on. :)
I love using BEMER!! Why? The technology allows the body to restore, repair, and renew after exercise, injury, stress, and just living. The people version has done great things for humans. I only own two BEMER vet units which I use on my two horses, clients, and renting them out. I’ve got great success stories about the technology!!!
As you saw I rolled and chip fractured my ankle 3 weeks ago. Stressed that I’ll have to stop riding for a while, I slapped on that BEMER cuff 3x a day for the first four or so days. ((((The BEMER vet unit is a bit stronger than the human (though the human unit does have a mass variety of programs and levels). The vet unit is made for the density of the horse.)))) at any rate, my ankle is almost healed, never bruised, and swelling was down by day 4. I’ve been walking in it comfortably and of course riding.
I iced it, used Deep Blue, a magnesium creamer, Motrin and BEMER. Ladies it’s magical how BEMER helped me to heal. Imagine what it could do for your horse???!!! PM me if you’re interested in a demo!!!
Why does my horse balk at certain things...??? Well, from a horses sight perspective....,this is how they see!!
What do u do when you roll you ankle something awful...... pull out that BEMER cuff !!!!
STL Equine Therapy is open for business!!!! As the weather gets more like summer, everyone can finally get out to ride! A BEMER/Massage session is a great way to work the kinks out of your horse's body as you begin to put them back into work. Something to consider!!!
Be safe out there fellow equestrians!! The flies are OUT and so are those dang ticks!
How are you coping with this self isolation? I see light at the end of the tunnel and a ton of saddle time!!! What training plan do you have for your horse when you start back to riding?!
I am off for the next three weeks due to the pandemic. However, STL is still open for equine massages! There is no evidence that the virus can be transmitted onto the horse and then onto the owner or myself.
Consider spreading the word that STL is open for business. We all need some pampering and healing massages!!! If your horse is exhibiting a particular issue, please PM me so I can figure out the best massage modality to use during the session prior to coming out to your barn.
I know I am getting a lot more saddle time these days!
Sharing this message from the president of IAAMB:
Corid-19 does not appear to affect animals' respiration. They would not be carriers to transmit it through their breath. As potential vectors, any virus that they might have their skin could be available for transmission in the same way as it might cling to our phones, doorknobs and shopping cart handles. Equine and canine massage are solitary activities. I cannot see any reason not to massage animals. For equine and canine massage practitioners, while working with an animal client, use the same precautions suggested by the CDC. Wash your hands before and after treatments. Don’t touch your face with your hands. As an LMT and RN, I know that most viruses are degraded by soap and water, diffused by fresh air and inactivated by time in the sun. So, advise your clients to give their horses baths, turn them out often, and ride in the sunshine. Warmest regards, Jonathan Rudinger, President IAAMB/ACWT
Welcome Wendy to the STL family!!! Wendy got a special acupressure treatment today!!! She definitely loved it and showed great releases too!!! The weather wasn't too shabby either!!!! Wendy is owned and loved by Kathy Barlow!
Looks like we have been blessed with a mild winter!!! Usually between March and April my mare, Skye, would give me a bit more pep to her step, and a bit more mood too. With this warmer than colder winter, it seems to have begun already. Even the geldings are a bit more friskier. How are your horses doing with his extra ordinary warm winter???
For those who are located in the NoVA area.... come and learn about BEMER!!! My clients horses have a BEMER session as part of their therapy!!! Learn about the human BEMER Too!! Message me with any questions!
Merry Christmas from my herd to yours!!! May all your days be healthy and happy!!!
Busy day at STL!! I got to see my favorite guy, Al (owned by Morgan) and he got pampered like a retired horse should!!!! I also got to meet Morgan's new girl Princess who got some acupressure for cribbing and a massage afterwards. Then I got to meet Nelly (10yo) and Prince (3yo) owned by Sarah and Step Aside (12 yo) owned by Alex ... all got the STL treatment with great responses!!!! Busy day but so very rewarding!!!
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!!! I hope your weekend is filled with family and horses!!!!!
Abscesses. It's a nightmare, for the horse and for the owner. The horse turns three legged and the pain is horrible. Generally speaking, when you ask a vet or someone who has experienced an abscess on their horse, it takes 3 weeks on average for the abscess to blow. The length of time varies. Sometimes from being three legged for so long, the other leg abscesses once the other abscess blows.
Skye, my sweet TB, got an abscess from a stone bruise. She had recently been shod and must have nailed a stone pretty hard. Needless to say, she was lame. Broke my heart to see her in so much pain. What did I do?
I used the BEMER blanket and cuff everyday. 15 min setting on both. Everyday I went to treat my other horse's eye, I put the blanket on Skye and the cuff on her fetlock. Her abscess blew a week later through the nail hole of her shoe. ONE WEEK!!! BEMER works with the circulation to allow the body to do what it need to do, to fight infection. One of the great things BEMER does!!!
So the top three horses in yesterday's Grand Prix at WEF all use BEMER. The BEMER amplifies the horses circulation to promote recovery, rebuilding, rejuvenating of the body’s systems!! Great for pre-training and post training to allow recovery and regeneration. Not to mention recovery from the long hauling to shows!!!
When you suspect your horse has an abscess.... BEMER blanket and cuff are in order!!!
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