In winter, we may not get out to the barn
other than to scrape frozen manure off the ground and feed, yet our horses are frisky and still need exercise. Older
horses with arthritis need to get out frequently, even if for just an hour or two. Younger horses have a lot of energy that
they need to expel.
Sometimes in winter, horses standing around
mask other metabolic symptoms that don’t become evident until the spring, when we ride more. Limited movement can lead
to stiff joints, weight problems and even colic and founder. In New Mexico, we don’t have many green pastures where
horses can run at liberty, can reach down and snatch up mouthfuls of grass, stretching their spines in the process. Horses
may become irritable or badly behaved – something to take note of. Are they tired of being confined or in pain?
Usually people call me to work on their
horses when the weather is nice, when they either want me to address an injury, or maintain their horse for performance. If
it’s too cold to ride, it may not seem like a great time to get bodywork.
Actually, it’s a great time to get
bodywork – for you and your horse. Bodywork keeps body systems running smoothly, and supports health and movement. Bodywork
is activity in itself and complements movement. If you notice when I work on your horse, he receives, then he wants to move
around a bit, nibble some grass, integrate what has just happened. I do a little more, and repeat the process. He relaxes,
sinks down into it, sometimes falls asleep, licks, chews, rests. He gets in touch with his body.
It’s a good time to get in touch
with your own body too. Supporting the health resident in the system helps stave off cold weather illnesses. Mostly clients
come and lie on the table, but you can sit up, walk around. It’s your time where you are not expected to perform. And
don’t worry, you can come straight from the barn to my office.