Horses reach a “still point” becoming very focused and inward.
Achieving mental balance in horses incorporates Soma-Emotional Recall, developed by John Upledger. Connective tissue, is known to have memory. When the body experiences a traumatic event, the energy enters the body and often gets stuck, then walls itself off and becomes a block to the body’s natural energy flow. This is often called an energy “cyst.” Horses often hold traumas in energy cysts in fascia that has become restricted. (See Craniosacral Therapy, Upledger and Vredevoogd, 1983, pg 250.)
Conformation Balancing allows release of an energy cyst. The value of full release of held trauma for horses can’t be over-estimated.
A word of caution here, while it may seem that performing releases is easy or simple, working with horses is not predictable. This is specialized work. Horses may react very suddenly or violently to a memory.
The “still point” is when the horse becomes very focused and inward; the eye is soft, and there is a chewing motion or movement of the lower lip. This is where the most important changes take place! We do not interrupt the horse’s change.
Head balancing is a major aspect. The horse chooses how he wants to balance and how often.
Head balancing focuses on balancing the tissue around the ears, poll and forehead. Since horses often bang their heads, or even land on their head in birth, head and poll imbalance is common for horses; this brings a host of behavioral and functional problems for the horse and rider. Safety issues alone make head and poll release a very high priority. These changes also benefit the horse’s entire conformation and topline.
Benefits for the horse:
- Relief from defensiveness near ears or poll
- Asymmetrical head features are re-aligned
- Mental focus improves
- Guarding and anxiety patterns are relieved
- Playing with the bit ends
- Relief from collection strain
Help your horse release traumas through fascia balancing!
In sessions, Margret’s hands warm the fascia tissue, layers open and constrictions melt. Muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones are all connected by fascia, which is why so many imbalances and injuries don’t heal fully until the stuck fascia is balanced and structurally re-integrated. The softening of the fascia allows old injury and strain areas, which have stiffened and become stuck, to melt, open and balance. Elasticity returns. Fluidity replaces resistance.
For example, a horse may strain a hindquarter muscle, but the rest of his body will immediately compensate to hide this injury by affecting the shoulders, back or poll. This compensation, while it prevents a predator (including us humans!) from seeing the injury right away, also brings mobility problems for the horse that remain long after the original injury has healed. So, a hindquarter strain from jumping will affect the horse’s back, shoulders, front knees and other areas. A poll injury will create mental confusion, loss of self carriage and back strain. A stuck gelding scar will prevent a smooth canter and tighten up the shoulder creases.
The miracle of fascia balance is that the results are lasting and the balancing proceeds at the horse’s level of ability and acceptance. There is no pain or soreness for the horse. Plus, the horse progresses into more physical freedom on his own from the ignition of the session.
Compare Conformation Balancing with “Energy Work”
Conformation Balancing is direct hand contact with connective tissue; energy work doesn’t always include contact.
Conformation Balancing offers specific paths for the fascia to respond and change. This bodywork addresses compensation patterns often hidden by the horse’s need to appear healthy and sound to prevent predator attack. Energy work usually focuses on a targeted healing goal.
Conformation is Balanced. Restoring the horse’s natural movement patterns.
Fascia fitness is the functional re-balancing of the body which releases compensation patterns and restores the horse’s natural movement patterns. As Conformation Balancing proceeds, structural integration allows other affected parts of the horse’s body to also re-balance.
For example, as the elasticity returns to the hips, the shoulders must open further to allow the hips to remain fluid. Or, as the cranium of a horse is rebalanced through head and poll releases to heal a poll injury, the neck of the horse needs releases from the compression in the shoulders and withers.
Without fascia fitness, the healed area will regress because the other compensation areas are not addressed. Imagine, your right knee injured in a skiing accident… then, you notice your left hip hurts, and it progresses to the neck and shoulders.
Without care to all areas, you just won’t feel good and able to move freely. Unlike humans who have entertainments, horses live focused on their body and their athletic ability. It’s not a good day for a horse when they can’t move well and without pain. There’s no movie to watch for distraction! Their attitude toward work sours and they lose confidence in their athletic abilities, which creates continual anxiety.
Fascia fitness is a must for keeping the gains of fascia release and head and poll change. While Rolfing can be rough or painful, fascia release for horses must be soft and noninvasive. Horses must approval all releases and integrations.