Transporting a horse is always an experience even at its best. Loading is the first challenge and then there is the long haul. The longer the haul, the harder it is on the horse. When a horse is confined in a standing position for an extended period of time, he can become stressed, tired, stiff, and sore all over. The road vibration from either pavement or dirt roads is transmitted through the hoof and up through the body. This kind of continuous vibration can directly affect the soundness of muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints … the entire horse.
When a horse feels confined and confused by traveling at high speeds the muscles and other body tissue become constricted thus not allowing blood and Chi, life force energy, to flow harmoniously through the body. Some horses become so stressed that they refuse to drink water and become dehydrated, only adding further complications. The consequences for the horse’s body vary with each horse’s ability to cope with the difficulty of travel.
Horse guardians need to consider ways by which they can minimize the effects of long trips such as breaking up the time spent on the road, staying off of bumpy or high-vibration roads, giving the horse a larger area within which to move, always having a buddy with which to travel, etc. Another way to help reduce the physical and psychological stress on the horse is to perform an Acupressure Treatment before, during, and after traveling.
The Acupressure Treatment given in the chart can: enhance the flow of blood and Chi throughout the horse’s body, reduce soft tissue constriction by stimulating the release of natural cortisone, and, lower the horse’s level of fear by the release of endorphins providing a sense of well-being. This treatment can be offered to the horse within 3 hours prior to departure, everyday during an extended course of travel, and for the following few days after arrival.
About the authors:
Nancy Zidonis and Amy Snow are the authors of "Equine Acupressure: A Working Manual", "The Well-Connected Dog: A Guide To Canine Acupressure", and "Acu-Cat: A Guide to Feline Acupressure". They own Tallgrass Publishers, which offers Meridian Charts for horses, dogs, and cats, plus "Introducing Equine Acupressure", a 50-minute training video. Tallgrass Animal Acupressure provides training courses worldwide. To contact them: phone: 888-841-7211; web: www.animalacupressure.com; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A Guide To A Short Acupressure Treatment Session
Start by finding a comfortable location for you and your horse where it is calm and you both can relax. Slowly, take three even breaths in and out. Think about how you want to help your horse feel better; taking a moment to formulate the intent of your treatment is very important. Begin by resting one hand near your horse’s shoulder. Using the heel of your other hand, place it at the poll and gently stroke down his neck, just off the midline. Continue stroking down to the hindquarters staying to the side of the midline. To finish, stroke down the outside of his leg to the coronary band. Your opposite hand can trail along the same path touching the horse lightly. Repeat this stroking procedure three times on each side of your horse.
Now you are ready for Point Work in the chart for tying-up. Rest one hand on your horse wherever it is comfortable. You are going to perform the actual Point Work with the other hand. Use either the thumb or two-finger technique depending on what is most comfortable for you.
Thumb technique: Place the tip of your thumb directly on the acupressure point, also called “acupoint,” and hold the point gently, but with intent, for about three to eight seconds.
Two-finger technique: Put your middle finger on top of your index finger and then place your index finger gently, but with intentional firmness, directly on the acupressure point for approximately three to eight seconds.
Use six to eight acupoints per acupressure session. Watch your horse’s reaction to the point work. Healthy energy releases are: yawning, deep breathing, muscle twitches, release of air, and softening of the eye. If your horse is overly reactive to a particular point or exhibits a pain reaction, work the acupoint in front of the reactive point or behind it. Try that point again at a later session.
To complete your treatment session, rest your
hand comfortably on his shoulder. Place the heel of your other hand
just off his poll and stroke down his neck, over his back to his
hindquarters, keeping your hand to the side of his spine and down
the outside of his leg in exactly the same way you did to start
the session. Your opposite hand can lightly trail along the same
path as the working hand. Repeat this procedure three times on each
side of your horse. It can take 24 hours for the effects of an acupressure
treatment to be experienced. Occasionally, the initial issue can
seem to be worse during that time before it resolves.