Why animal bodywork? Lil saw massage as a way to ease the horses’ job and help extend their careers through caring touch. As she developed her craft, Lil found that building a relationship with an animal through bodywork wasn’t just a way to encourage relaxation, but also a vital part of an animal’s wellness program. It is a way to support training techniques and to build communication between animals and their people.
A skilled practitioner that handles your animal frequently is often able to help you stay ahead of ailments that may cause inconvenient delays to your horse’s training program. Are you trying to build muscle or correct poor training habits? Frequent bodywork is an excellent way to correct the tightness that can prevent your horse from fully becoming the athlete she is meant to be. It allows the horse to give the practitioner consistent feedback about imbalances or ailments that horses need their riders and trainers to be aware of. It will also help your horse be more comfortable as the muscles correctly develop for the work you would like her to do.
Bodywork techniques are also able to aid in certain training aspects. For example, when positive reinforcement is your preferred method of training, but a task (such as nail clipping) has put your animal over threshold leaving him mentally not in a state where he can take a food treat; in an instance such as this, acupressure points or massage techniques can be an enormous help in relieving the stress of a situation. Using massage in this manner is not a quick fix, however, it is a very effective fix given the right amount of time (the amount of time is always determined by the animal). (I’ll probably write a blog post on this & then maybe we can put a link in here to help elaborate on the topic.)