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Yes, I am wiggling your horse’s nose….

Describing equine massage and it’s benefits wasn’t challenging.  It was exciting.  It still is!  Yet now that I am offering an additional service to promote healing for your horse I must admit that I’ve procrastinated writing about it.  When you see it I trust you will understand…

I am currently in the fieldwork portion of my studies in the Masterson Method (MM) of equine bodywork.  While I first bought Jim Masterson’s book many years ago it wasn’t until I took the basic course in 2017 that I became deeply intrigued with what he had discovered and created.  And so it began…  Now, after studying and testing and traveling for more, and case studies and wise and talented instructors…  I am in the thick of pursuing certification.  This final achievement will take me a good while longer, well into 2020.  Yet I’ve been offering MM, as far as I’ve learned it, to my clients and have been prompted to be a bit louder about this journey.  The benefits have been obvious for the horses that I’ve worked on.

The challenge is describing MM as it often appears that I am either spaced out and doing nothing but my hand is stuck in the air, or that perhaps my back has seized up as I’m holding your horse’s hoof off of the ground and not moving.  Then there is the funky thing with the horse’s tongue and an assortment of techniques for the other end…

I hope these descriptions intrigue you.  I suggest you visit mastersonmethod.com for the proper description of the method.  I consider it a groundbreaking way of helping horses restore themselves to balance.  While there are times I suggest massage therapy for a horse rather than MM, most days I recommend a horse owner give the Masterson work a try.

Until I am certified I am charging the same fee for an MM session as I do for a massage.  I am also looking for horses to work on as case studies as I progress through my training.  That requires me to provide two sessions for your horse and I do not charge for these as they are part of my learning process.  So, please consider getting in touch – give me and my evolving MM skills a try!

 

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Yes, sometimes even the horses give me a curious look…

Life with horses is good, let’s make it even better with bodywork!

Ruta

I’m still here!

Oops, I just realized that although I have a Facebook page, not everyone is on Facebook and might not be aware that I’ve been letting people know that my land line phone is in hibernation.  That is a nice way of saying that the phone company has not managed to fix the phone line in these hills for the last 5 days.  I am getting a touch cranky and flattening my ears a bit at this situation.

Equine massage and bodywork continue in spite of the phone woes.  Please reach me by e-mail at rutamazelis@frontier.com or leave a message on my cell phone at 330-415-8662.  There is no cell service where I live.  I am checking the phone several times a day, so please be patient with me.  I am learning to be patient with the phone company…

Hope all are staying warm,

Ruta

What you can’t see matters to your horse…

I’ve learned wonderful things on this journey of providing equine bodywork.  There are few things that can make me happier than getting a call by someone asking me to come out and work on their horse.  I am delighted to see a more comfortable horse and a content horse owner in my rear view mirror when I leave.

Almost all the initial calls I receive are for specific problems folks are having with their horses.   Sometimes the horse is lame or stiff in the neck and back, sometimes performance has suffered and the horse is off and tight.  Bodywork has always brought the horse a measure of relief and improvement.  Sometimes the change is immediate and dramatic, sometimes subtle, evolving over a few days.

So what is my point?  If horses have problems and bodywork is helpful what am I needing to say?

I want you to know that horses suck up a great amount of discomfort before we humans can tell.  It is the nature of a prey animal not to show pain, weakness, or vulnerability.  It is part of the natural survival strategy of every horse.  By the time we can see the lameness, feel the stiffness or notice that they are getting cinchy when saddled they have been struggling with a problem for a while.

I had someone once tell me that my horse was “faking lameness so you won’t ride him.”  I believe I was called a sucker.  I wondered if he was right, this was long before my education in horses and bodywork began in depth.  I decided to ride and didn’t check his back (this was a horse that barely survived rescue and rehabilitation for multiple problems so I should have known better).  My usually calm beast taught me a memorable lesson.  I sat on his back and he eliminated his additional source of pain by sending my flying.  I brushed myself off, calmed myself down and assessed his back.  It was rigid with spasm.  Lesson learned.

What I am asking you to do is consider bodywork for your horse not only in times of obvious trouble, but as a means of rehabilitation, promotion of comfort and performance, and prevention of problems as well.  Consistent work often prevents problems from occurring or escalating.

Professional athletes, human as well as equine, trust in the benefits of consistent bodywork whether there is current soreness or injury, or not.  As horses will hide their discomfort as long as they can, please observe them closely or consider a regular plan for increased comfort and potential prevention of troubles.

And, if I may make a final suggestion… always get a sense of your horse’s comfort level before you mount!

 

 

 

Equine Anatomy Nerd Moment #1

I spent Mother’s Day morning enjoying the cool and chilly start to the day in the pasture with the herd of four.  While my yearling Sweet busied himself hopping around trying to get either human or equine to play “pokey-face” with him, the two elders wandered over in greeting.  Noble Checkers, our 30+ year old leader, put himself in my hands way, his signal that a morning massage would serve him.  No, with arthritic hocks and stifles, he does not need to be tied to stand for massage!

As I joyfully massaged this proud horse I looked around and took in how beautiful the others horses looked as they have nearly finished shedding out.  Having lost their winter weight they are sleek and muscular.  Stunning.

Then I snickered.  I was focused on one particular muscle that, when I was learning my trade, I had many questions about.  As I am a science and physiology nerd, I thought I’d share it with you, in case anyone else has interest in the pieces and parts of their horse’s musculature.

The “serratus ventralis thoracis” is a muscle that appears much smaller than you’d think given the length of it’s name. Most of it is hidden, only a portion of it is accessible to the hands of a massage therapist, yet it is a very important muscle to be worked on.

This muscle has a great deal to do with the movement of the horse’s shoulder blade.  It can be impacted by both riding and saddle fit, something to consider if it is sore.  But the reason I’m writing about this part of the horse today is that I’ve had several owners wonder what muscle I was working on as they thought that part of their horse was chub.  I thought about it and it made sense to me.  The serratus ventralis thoracis (SVT) is felt as a thick lump behind the horses shoulder, below where the saddle would end but above the chest.  I guess it can be mistaken for a “muffin top.”  I get a kick out of being able to affirm that horses with a prominent SVT are not in need of a diet plan!  Kinda feel like a horse hero given how much mine like every speck of grain they get…

Hope this is of interest to you and you go off in search of your horse’s SVT.

Happy spring,

Ruta

Winter massage and a “Sweet” special…

It has been a bit too long since my last post here, I hope all humans and horses are well and warm…  I meant to write a while ago about the value of equine massage therapy for horses at rest in the winter.  I’ve been asked by some owners if massage is valuable to a horse that is spending the winter eating and sleeping under a warm blanket. While some continue to compete in equestrian sports or trail ride in the winter, most of us slow down our activities for these months of cold and darkness.

It is a time of rest, and therefore, often a time of recuperation as well.  Horses can get stiff spending much of their day in stalls.  Horses in pasture often hunker down as well when the footing becomes challenging.  There is often less movement, it is winter.

Massage assists in healing the stressors of the past year.  The increase in circulation, one of the benefits of massage, helps nourish muscles that are now at rest but perhaps still a bit challenged from the activities of the past year.  Massage is always helpful.

That said, massage is always helpful to the horse!  I have been asked if it is necessary for the horse’s owner to hold the horse for their massage therapy.  After all, it is the owner that will be cold in the winter – your horse is warm and, well… so am I.  Doing massage is physical work and my hands are warm on your horse’s body… and you shiver.  So please note that it is not necessary for you to hold your horse for massage.  Feel free to leave your horse to my hands while you enjoy hot chocolate in a warm room.  I will let you know what my hands learned from your horse’s body when I am finished.  No need for you to be out in the cold…

That said, I am hoping to interest you in massage for your horse this winter.  While I am not prone to providing special offers besides the Small Business Saturday special, I am celebrating a new arrival in my herd.  I was, this past December, gifted a 10 month old rescue colt.  A handsome wild guy who has challenged me greatly these past weeks (see why I haven’t written in a while?).  His name is “Sweet Freedom” and in his honor I am offering $10 off of any massage from now until the end of winter (spring officially begins on March 20th).  To take advantage of the “Sweet” special please just let me know you’d like to take advantage of it and you will receive the discount.  No limits, this is a special occasion.  I am laughing as your equine massage therapist now has a horse who took over two weeks to allow himself to be touched.  Celebrate with me!

 

 

 

Small business Saturday, my favorite holiday…

Solstice Equine Massage Therapy is a small business and delighted to offer an opportunity for horse owners to benefit from a Small Business Saturday special.  This year’s date, the first Saturday after Thanksgiving, is November 25, 2017.  Any interested horse owners who get in touch with me on that day to request massages will be offered a “buy two, the third is no cost” special.  Feel free to use the massages for your horse, or offer the massages to friends, trainers, veterinarians, boarding facility owners, or farriers for their horses!

This offer is limited to two per person (6 total massages).  You do not need to pay at this time, you do need to let me know you intend to take advantage of this offer on November 25th.  Additional fees for mileage might apply depending on your location.  Massages must be claimed by June 30, 2018.

I hope to hear from you on the 25th!  Please feel free to call me at 330.627.5411, e-mail me at rutamazelis@frontier.com, or message me on Facebook and claim this opportunity.  Until then, I wish all a Happy Thanksgiving!

Yours,

Ruta

Rolling eyeballs and sly snickering…

As I continue to put the pieces in place for expanding my business I have come across an unexpected, yet rather common, response to my conversations about equine massage therapy (EMT).  I have been surprised by the reactions of some fellow horse owners that I have known for years, and who have seen my horses develop over a long period of time.  I seem to precipitate a good bit of eye rolling, chuckling and slight head-shaking when I mention EMT.  I have wondered why, so my curiosity had me asking questions…

It seems that the most common perception of EMT is a person getting paid to “rub a horse’s butt.”  That the EMT is a “feel good” activity for a horse but is not considered a therapy.  And some were firm in the belief that the techniques are simplistic and superficial.  Oh my…

The first question I asked people with this opinion was: “Have you ever had a massage from a master human massage therapist?”  The answer was always “No.”  The people who were interested in EMT and curious to see the changes in their horses after massage consistently had had their own experiences of massage being helpful for them.  Interesting, isn’t it?

I did some thinking… As someone whose education is in the sciences and who practiced as a physical therapist I reflected on what I had been taught and what I actually believed about massage.  In my physical therapy program I was taught the basics of massage.  It was a class that I enjoyed but I didn’t feel all that competent in treating people with massage.  I understood the anatomy and the basic techniques but felt that I didn’t have the “hands” I wanted to really be effective.  I limited massage to situations in sports medicine where it was helpful on occasion, especially when it was my teammates who were cramping up!

It wasn’t until I got stuck in my own healing from multiple injuries that were rather severe and complex that I explored many options.  When I needed surgery, I had surgery.  When I thought I’d benefit from rehabilitative exercise I joined a gym and picked the minds of the therapists there for their ideas.  The chiropractor realigned my neck and laughingly told me how many of his patients are horse people (it was only kinda funny at the time)…

These things helped, but didn’t heal.  I found myself at a bit of a loss, as I was determined to return to sport and live more vibrantly.  The leftover pain and dysfunction from severe leg and back injuries were affecting my ability to work with and enjoy my own horses.  I found my way to a team of massage therapists who are masters of their field.  Over time, working together, I felt my body heal and realign at my core.  I wasn’t piecing things together anymore but coming together, realigning, and moving much more freely.  The journey has been amazing.  And I admit that, despite my training, I had not really believed that it could have been so transformative.

I was the person who had at one time raised my eyebrows, rolled my eyes and snorted a bit of a snicker!  I understand those of you who do this too.  I encourage you to give either yourself, your horse, or the both of you the opportunity to experience a therapeutic massage.  Or a series of them, as the effects compound over time, and then make a judgment based on your own experiences and/or how your horse responds.  It just might amaze you.  All it takes is an open mind, some time, a few dollars, and a phone call to a massage therapist.  I hope you consider giving it a go…

And yes, I do admit to rubbing my horses’ butts, but not during massage…

All the best,

Ruta