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Rider Inspiration

What will be your next #matchy purchase?

By July 16, 2019 July 22nd, 2019 No Comments
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Are you a coffee, chocolate or just straight to the hard stuff? Prosecco or merlot?! I’ll have all of them thanks!

Yes, I’m talking about the PS of Sweden range, but I’m also talking about the coffee that I need before I can even fathom the energy to ride, working part time with a baby and the wine I drink to hide from my credit card bill, eek.

#afterpay #nailedit #lookthepart

What I’m even more passionate about than matchy saddle blankets is the muscle health of our horses and how they travel underneath that shine and glitter. We spend $130 on a saddle blanket but can sometimes balk at $80 for body work. Ok, I’ll admit we get endless joy from the saddle blanket and body work is ongoing depending on the horse’s workload, but do you get my point?

How many horses are going without for their owner’s matchy addiction? I’m going to say none, because we are all horse loving dedicated riders basically eating baked beans to make sure our horses eat export quality hay. But truthfully, we sometimes forget what’s underneath the tack and forget that horses were never designed to be ridden and that their muscles get sore and stiff and need maintenance.

Fascia is shiny like the PS of Sweden range, but unlike a saddle blanket, we forget it’s there as it’s hidden. It is the tough connective tissue that surrounds muscles and other structures in the horse’s body from head to hoof. This amazing three dimensional web connects all the systems at a cellular level and acts as a hydraulic, hydration, regulation and communication system. Thomas Myers, an American myofascial specialist, has shown that fascia presents itself as a whole body system describing the body as only having “one muscle, hanging out in 600 or more fascial pockets”.

Some of the best classical dressage trainers I have heard of like Manolo Mendez, Klaus Schöenich, Charles De Kunffy and Dr. Gerd Heushmann all pay attention to balance and straightness and the role that fascia plays in the biomechanics of the ridden horse. It is well researched that fascial or soft tissue dysfunctions lead to pain and lameness for both the average ridden horse and top athletes.

So what does this have to do with saddle blankets? Over the last few years the quality and variety of horse tack we can buy has drastically changed. There are shiny saddle pads, glitter helmets and matching spurs and bell boots. What hasn’t changed is the physical capabilities of our horses and how their bodies function underneath. Retail is really great at marketing products and, unfortunately for the humble massage therapist, we can’t compete in this space to educate or promote our services and products.

I’ll admit first hand, you don’t often see the benefits of massage in one session because, for many horses presenting with issues, it takes a few sessions to get on top of things and then they may need ongoing therapy for maintenance. However, if owners are committed to learning themselves, they can do a huge amount to reduce this and incorporate strategies themselves for keeping their horses muscles healthy.

When muscles are tight the fascia suffers. As I mentioned above, it connects all the systems of the horses body at a cellular level, so, without healthy fascia it’s hard to have strong healthy muscles – it’s all connected and affects range of motion and flexibility, all of which is imperative to riding.

My goal is to share my passion for the biomechanics and health of all our horses. As a society we are driven by image and I will totally admit that I enjoy horse shopping just as much as the next person, but we should be managing our horse’s physical health before retail in all circumstances.

Consider how great your horse will look in the new release saddle blanket freely moving, tracking up and lifting their back with ease and comfort. This is priceless in comparison to the cost of an average saddle blanket.

If you can’t stretch your budget to afford body work, consider signing up for a low cost option where you can learn some techniques yourself. Equestricare is leading the way nationally with their education. For as little as $24.99 you can download online stretching for suppleness, fitness AND basic massage and tissue mobilisation here – and… you can even Afterpay! So next time there is a 20% off sale on your favorite matchy set, consider using those savings to invest in what’s underneath.

Jem and Den

Jem and Den

Author Jem and Den

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