Horses are flight animals – their way to survive is to run away from danger – real or perceived. In the wild, horses cannot show being injured as this makes them a soft target for predators - so they mask any stiffness or aching, pretending to be fit and healthy. As a result of this instinct, domesticated, working horses build up a lot of tension in their bodies which, over time, can accumulate into major “injuries”.
At Hog Hollow Horse Trails we work with a herd of 33 (and growing!) rescue horses. Most of these horses come from a background of abuse and neglect where very often they have been forced to work very hard despite their bodies being injured and painful. Their trust in humans have been broken and their bodies abused. They have hidden their injuries for most of their lives in order to survive. Part of our rehabilitation programme is to allow our horses to release these tensions built up over time in their bodies so that their bodies can heal.
This is done using the Masterson Method – where extremely light human touch brings the horses’ focus to stiffness or obstruction in its muscles and nervous system, triggering a release – a letting go of this tension, shown by the horse sighing, yawning and licking and chewing. Sian Emily Jonston is a Equine Physiotherapist who practices these touch methods and she kindly allocated her time to show staff at our yard how to best apply this self-healing method which we now use daily to help heal our horses’ bodies.
You can read more about the Masterson Method here https://mastersonmethod.com/ or Sian’s work here http://www.happyfeetanimalphysio.co.za/