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Information for a bodywork session

Massage & Bodywork Information

The Masterson Method is a unique and light touch method of equine massage and bodywork in which both the responses and participation of the horse are utilized to find and release accumulated tension in the key junctions of the body that most affect performance. Many areas of the horse’s body accumulate stress and tension that can negatively affect movement, mobility and create discomfort and pain. This can be caused by a number of things ranging from dental or foot issues, saddle fitting, conformation, lameness or even from general work. As a prey animal, a horse will always try to appear strong and to hide any pain or weakness – this is why it can be so difficult to evaluate soreness. The Masterson Method helps by accessing the part of the horses nervous system that give signs to indicate where the tension is being held in the body, and when it is being released. By using the correct level of touch/pressure for the horse and reading the horses responses, I can help release this tension in the connective tissues and the joints deep in the body. With tension released from the key junctions in the body, the muscular and structural balance and alignment is restored and the horse can move better without tension, stiffness and pain.


Before the session:

Please advise if:

    • Your horse is receiving any other therapy at the moment; while the Masterson Method is very light-touch, some other therapies require a waiting period before any other technique is to be used.
    • Your horse is on any medication; particularly any anti-inflammatory such as Bute as this will dull the senses of the horse and make the Masterson Method less effective.

I also need to know any medical/accident history for your horse, whether it seems related or not. Often issues a horse has currently can be linked back to a seemingly unrelated injury from weeks/months/years prior.


During the session:

I prefer the horse not to be held by the owner/rider/handler and will either hold the horse myself, or have it tied up, depending on the movement we are doing. This reduces interaction from the owner/rider/handler and means I am better able to read the horses response to my touch. Any food also needs to be taken away before the session begins. Initially I will palpate the horse to note any tight or sore muscles and may ask you to walk the horse out for me to observe how he/she moves. Please note that while I am trained to assess certain aspects of your horses range of movement, I am not a veterinarian and am not qualified to diagnose anything, for this you will need to contact your veterinarian.

During the session I will often do some moves then step back for a few minutes. This is because I am stimulating the horses parasympathetic nervous system to relax and in a situation when there is a degree of tension, the horse will often need some time to process what we have done so far. Most horses become very fidgety during a session, this is an indication that I am working on an area with tension, or the horse is getting ready to release the tension. Generally I will move with the horse as required, as they need to work this out but if there are any clear behaviour boundaries you wish to be adhered to, please tell me.


After the session:

It is best if the horse has the rest of the day off and paddock turnout is ideal. This way your horse can ‘walk it out’ and relax properly. You may notice a change in movement or attitude after a session – often they move a lot freer and become cuddlier. The reaction will differ between horses and really, anything is normal! Contact me if you have any queries


How often does a horse have to be treated?

There is no hard and fast rule for this and it will ultimately depend on your horse. I do recommend a follow up session to really consolidate the results, as sometimes the sore areas can shift to the areas of the horse’s body due to compensation factors. If they have a large degree of tension or very restricted range of movement I normally recommend another 2-3 follow up sessions to really get them feeling their best. Normally it is anywhere from 1-2 weeks between sessions, depending on the individual case. You will be the best judge of how your horse is feeling and it will be your (and your horses) decision as to when you think a session in required. I do also have some clients have me out on a regular basis – once every 4-6 weeks as a maintenance session to help prevent any issues from arising.


General Notes

A session will generally take anywhere between 40-90 minutes and if you do not have an undercover area, may be weather dependant. Ideally a quiet time and environment is best for any bodywork, so please keep this is mind when making a booking.

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