Thoughts on Bodywork

by Equestriangradstudent

This bodywork woman is brilliant. I feel a bit odd using the term “woman” for someone who’s only two years my senior, but “girl” seemed wrong. Either way, she’s pretty fantastic. She worked on eight horses here over two days, including Abs and Avery. I don’t know about you, but I love learning new things and she had a lot to teach me.

During the time she spent working on horses yesterday, I watched and occasionally  handled for her. We discussed the differences between this and other therapies I have tried with my horses. We talked about the changes she was making and the improvements I should feel when I ride them next (I’ve ridden all of the horses she’s worked on. I’ve been here less than a week and already ridden every horse on the property–except the pregnant mare and the one who just foaled).

I’ll skip the truly fascinating conversations we had for time’s sake, though I do highly recommend looking into this stuff. The woman, Kathryn Schiess (because I can’t stand calling her “the woman” any longer), works in Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia, and perhaps other areas as well. I remember her mentioning New York, but that sounded like a special trip. She has a consistent travel rotation through the other states. I’ve shared her full name in the hopes of getting her more business. If you’re in the area, she’s definitely worth a call. Look her up, you won’t regret it.

Some interesting/weird/sad things I learned about my horses:

Avery has EPM. That would explain a lot of things, especially his disappearing top line. I noticed it happening in the last year and a half I was at the Manor, but I thought it was because he was going in the program, with rank beginners. I had been riding him exclusively for about the last two months, and while the rest of his musculature has improved, his topline continued to deteriorate. I questioned myself and my riding, but never thought it might be something systemic. It’s not terrible and she has recommended some treatment options (I’ll call the vet as soon as I get phone service again, as it is apparently non-existent here). I just hate the fact that I didn’t know. He’s being resistant, he looks like shit, he’s too wiggly. I should have known! I feel like the worst owner ever. This horse tries his heart out for me and all I did was bitch and complain that he wouldn’t soften. Kathryn said that he’s very sore at his pole and hyper-flexibe through his spine both laterally and vertically. That coupled with the lost topline is a strong enough indicator that she referred me to a vet that specializes in immune mediated diseases. I hate the Manor right now. The damned rats and raccoons eating out of my horse’s bucket. That has to be where he picked it up, because he looked damn good when I brought him there, and for a good six months after. I’m trying not to freak out right now. I’ll get him treated and hopefully he’ll be back to his normal, sweet self.

Abs was the weird one. We’ve struggled with her hips since I bought her. Her right hip specifically. She’s had massage, chiropractic, and special shoeing in addition to extra stretching and suppling work under saddle but it’s not yet been worked out. Based on her reactions and the tilt of her pelvis, Kathryn told me that it’s very likely her ovaries. Weird, right? Don’t get me wrong, she is the witchiest mare on the planet, but I’d never thought of her ovaries as a possible cause for her physical problems. Kathryn thinks that she’s dropping her right hip to protect against the pain they’re causing. After the session she was much looser and able to stand more evenly. I rode her and noticed a huge difference. I could actually feel her right hindquarter underneath me. At first I thought I was sitting crooked, because I haven’t felt that before. Well, the corrective shoeing helped a bit, but it was a temporary fix with a pad that didn’t take into consideration the pain she was probably trying to avoid. She was a bit weak because she was using her body in a new way but she felt more even. She was definitely tentative, so I only did a short ride. I didn’t want to push things. She didn’t completely let go of whatever she was hanging on to, but Kathryn said that she’s probably been holding this for several years. It certainly would explain most, if not all, of our battles!

I’ll leave you to think on that, it’s dinner time and I’m starving.