Shiatsu massage might make a big difference.
Here’s a testimonial from my client Karen Gerfen….
This is my son’s horse Dino. (Dino is 20 this year.) He became a part of our family early last summer after spending three years with another little girl who mostly ranched on him with her family. We felt very fortunate to have him join our family as he has had a wonderful reined cowhorse show career and was trained by some of the best in the business. When we got him, he was out of shape and quite overweight. After getting him legged up and reminding him that he does have a proper lead departure (he spent his previous time on the ranch long trotting and trotting into a lope), I checked out some of his other maneuvers. From watching him show in years past, I knew he was a great little lead changer. But, when I tried it with him, he was stiff, and also felt weak. I thought we just needed to get him into better shape and do some exercises with him to get that back. We haven’t had much time to ride and work on it over the summer and fall since we have been very busy with our major house project and haven’t ridden any of our horses since October…they’ve been lunged, turned out etc., but nothing else. So, the project of getting Dino’s lead changes back so Mead could show him a little was on hold.
Fast forward to today…….
Dr. Geary Whiting came out and performed Shiatsu massage on some of our horses. Dino was one of them. I could tell that Dino really appreciated Dr. Geary’s touch. After the session was over, Dr. Geary asked me to saddle up Dino and ride him a little bit. He wanted to see him go under saddle. I did, just a little bit to warm him up as I didn’t want to do much because it had been 4 months since he’d been ridden. Dr. Geary then asked me to try a few maneuvers where Dino seemed to be stiff in the past. I thought, “What the heck, let’s try a lead change,” so we loped through the middle, I asked for the change and it was like I was on a different horse, the one I had seen in the show pen years ago! I stopped right away and told Geary about this, because, wow, I couldn’t believe it. Geary wanted to see a few more, so we did few both directions, and Dino was smooth as silk!
When I asked Geary about it and explained to him that Dino had seemed stiff and weak previously and while he’s still not in the best of shape, the lead changes were effortless. Geary explained it to me in this way, he said, “When your muscles are tight and then restricted from their proper movement, you are in a sense weak, so that is why you were feeling that before with Dino. Imagine running up a hill in shorts, you can do that pretty well. Now imagine running up a hill in very tight jeans. You are going to have a very hard time getting up the hill, you may feel weak and be out of breath. This is because those very tight jeans are restricting how your muscles are supposed to work. When the pressure points activated with Shiatsu massage and the muscles are released then they can do the job they were designed to do.” It makes sense to me – it sure made a world of difference to Dino today!