Equine-Librium is the next phase in the progressive evolution of care for the team of horse and rider. Created by Erin Bobo , Licensed Massage Therapist and Expert Myofascial Release Therapist, Equine-Librium utilizes the John Barnes approach to Myofascial Release (MFR).
My mission in creating Equine-Librium is to address performance issues, pain patterns and overall balance in both horses and riders. It is my desire to educate the horse community about the effects that each member of this “equestrian team” has on the other and how balance can be created in both bodies in order to maximize performance, eliminate holding patterns that affect posture (and therefore performance) while allowing for comfort and ease of movement for any riding discipline.
It is my strong desire to work with members of the horse community who believe that the horse’s health and welfare are paramount and that there are ways to address the care of horses that honors their wisdom and power with compassion and a willingness to understand how the fascial system affects their performance and well-being.
MFR For Horse and Rider
The interplay between horse and rider is both dynamic and subtle. Horses can feel a fly land on their body so they can certainly feel even the slightest imbalance in the rider’s body and will inevitably begin to compensate for any imbalances. Because of this inevitability, treating only one member of the “team” is addressing only half the picture! No matter what discipline, riding is about connection and communication between the horse and rider. Therefore, imbalances in the rider’s body directly influence the horse’s body and vice versa. The horse and rider are one unit affecting one another through the subtlest of shifts in body weight and movement.
In most instances the horse is a being that wants to please you! Many behavior issues such as resistance and “acting out” as well as lack of suppleness, stiffness, disconnection, crookedness, and inconsistency in performance often stem from a structural fascial imbalance in the horse and rider team, not from a bad attitude. If horses resist on a regular basis they are often trying to communicate that they are experiencing discomfort. Sometimes the cause of this discomfort can be found in their own history of trauma, injury, overuse and having developed patterns from compensating for the rider’s imbalances. By addressing fascial restrictions in both horse and rider imbalances in the two bodies can be greatly reduced and the mirroring effect minimized, thereby, greatly improving the ease of performance.
Benefits of Equine MFR
Riders, Trainers, and horses of any breed competing in any discipline, such as but not limited to Dressage, Hunter, Jumper, Pleasure, Endurance and Racing. Myofascial Release Therapy can correct postural imbalances and holding patterns in riders that become reflected in the horse’s body.
MFR can reduce restrictions in horses that cause:
- Lack of suppleness and extension
- Stiffness of movement in any direction
- Tension in back, neck or shoulders
- Resistance and reoccurring injuries
Reduction of myofascial restrictions in riders can relieve:
- Stress, tension and stiffness
- Back, hip and pelvic pain
- Sciatica, shoulder injuries and headaches
- Muscle imbalances that affect posture
Dual Therapist MFR
In order to best economize time and maximize results from our sessions we highly recommend that all clients utilize both therapists in Dual Therapist Sessions to work on the rider and the horse. By doing so you are getting two sets of hands and eyes to assess and address the problems and thereby magnifying the effectiveness four-fold! Over the long run, it minimizes costs by reducing the amount of trips necessary to address the issues at hand. In addition to the cost effectiveness and efficiency there is one other valuable facet to Dual Therapy Sessions- there are many extremely effective techniques that can only be done by two therapists. Some techniques require one therapist to be at the lumbar area and the other to be at the poll, for example. There is no replacement for four hands with many equine MFR techniques. The same idea applies to humans. Many times one therapist will be at the head and the other at the sacrum or one stretching a leg and the other stretching an arm for a whole-body release to correct imbalances. It cannot be overstated that this is a great way to make quick improvements towards your performance goals!
In order to take advantage of the opportunity for us to assist your equine athlete your veterinarian’s permission is required. Myofascial Release and Massage are not a replacement for veterinary care and we do not provide a prognosis or diagnosis. It is necessary for us to supply written notice to your vet that you are wanting to include MFR in your horses care in order to confirm that this is approved by your vet.
What is REQUIRED before scheduling a session for my Horse?
In order to take advantage of the opportunity for us to assist your equine athlete your veterinarian’s permission is required. Myofascial Release and Massage are not a replacement for veterinary care and we do not provide a prognosis or diagnosis. It is necessary for us to supply written notice to your vet that you are wanting to include MFR in your horse’s care in order to confirm that this is approved by your vet.
What do I need to do for my horse's Myofascial Release session?
In order to maximize the amount of time for hands-on work on your horse and since we will most likely have multiple sessions at your stables, we ask that your horse be brought in if they are in the pasture by the time of our session. Our sessions with your horse will be most productive when your horse has the least amount of distraction. Please be sure that your horse has been fed before our session or that feeding the other horses in the barn is not occurring during the time of our session if possible. It is also helpful for you to determine a place for us to work on your horse with the least amount of barn “traffic” distractions for our session. If your horse is very energetic before the session it might be helpful to hand walk him or her before the session. We suggest that after the session your horse is hand walked for a little bit if they are not going out to pasture. Also, if you plan to ride the next day, we suggest that it be a very relaxed ride with a focus on allowing your horse to feel his or her body and not ask them to “work”.
What should I expect during my visit?
- Questionnaire: When we arrive at your stables, you will be asked to fill out a brief medical history questionnaire for you and your horse so we will be knowledgeable about all preexisting conditions and can work with you to determine the best course of action for the sessions.
- Information: We will then give you an overview of your session(s) based on the needs you have specified. Feel free to ask any questions about your session or discuss any and all concerns with us but remember that it is outside the scope of our practice to diagnose. For your horse’s session, we may ask you to assist in our assessment by walking him or her in different directions in order for us to evaluate movement. We may choose to do further evaluation on a lunge line or in a round pen.
- Hands-On Work: Your session times will each last 60 minutes and will include Myofascial Release techniques that will vary from gentle stretching techniques to direct but gentle pressure into areas of restrictions. Your session may also include craniosacral therapy and recommendations for home stretches between sessions. Our goal is for the client and horse to relax into the techniques so no harsh or forceful techniques will be used.
What do I need for my Myofascial Release Treatment?
For MFR sessions you will need to bring a change of clothes for your treatment. We recommend women bring a sports bra and loose-fitting shorts or a two-piece bathing suit. Men need to bring a pair of loose-fitting shorts. Most treatments are done with these treatment clothes on but if you don’t have them we will step out of the treatment area, allow you to undress to your comfort level and have you covered with a sheet throughout the duration of the session. For your first session the assessment will be approximately 10-15 minutes. This time is allotted for us to determine the best treatment plan and goals for your individual needs.