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horseyculture

My journey with Abbey & other horsey bits 'n' bobs

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muscles

Abbey gets a new stable door

For ages now I’ve been aware that Abbey has tight muscles in her shoulders and neck.

My barefoot trimmer always mentions it, every physio observes and treats it, and I know from how she is about being touched there.

It’s been one of those niggles that has been on the to-do after her ulcers and the tightness in her back and left hamstring.

With those biggies sorted (ulcers with diet and stress management, back with treeless saddle and improved dressage training), it was time to tackle Abbey’s tight shoulders and neck.

I’ve figured that at least part of the problem is the height of the stable door. It’s too tall and Abbey has to lift her head up and over.

Our wonderful yard owner made all the stable doors and has been (very understandably) reluctant to take a saw to one. So I’ve purchased a Shires stall guard.

At first Abbey was suspicious, but after just a few days, I think she rather likes it.

Time will tell whether it helps relieve some her sore muscles.

PS I wouldn’t recommend this for a horse that leans into pressure or enjoys making escapes! Atm I park a wheelbarrow outside Abbey’s stable to dissuade her from trying to get underneath.

Getting hands-on with a charity massage course

It’s been an intense day full of learning with Sue Palmer, aka The Horse Physio (and who’s husband, Simon, is a partner in Ethical Horse Products).

Designed for horse owners, the course consists of introductions (met some lovely, interesting people), introduction to physiotherapy and massage, some anatomy, some massage techniques and practice on both people and ponies.

All the group members came for different reasons; from developing relationships with their horses to keeping their horses free from tension between visits from a professional physio.

I’ve tried learning the names and locations of different muscles before but they’ve never stuck. This evening, however, I can name 7. I can also find them on a living horse and know where they attach to bone. This is in no small part due to ‘Dollar’, my new equine friend:

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“Hey!”

After studying pictures and scientific drawings in the classroom, we headed to the stables to practice identifying the muscles on real horses (by drawing them on in chalk).

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“Very funny. You’d best not have drawn anything rude on my bum!”

After lunch we learnt some massage techniques and practiced them on ourselves, other students, and finally the horses. I think Dollar enjoyed some of it!

At the end of the day we’ve all come home with new skills, more knowledge and a routine to use on our beasts at home.

Together we’ve also helped Riding for the Disabled Association support two people ride horses for a year.

Big thanks to our tutor, Sue Palmer, and to Stourport Riding Centre for the use of the ponies and facilities.

Check out this video to find out more:

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