As owners and professionals approach the idea of massage, they know it is beneficial but they dread not only the hour or so they have to commit to it, but also the strain on their own muscles to work their arms that long. In the Total Balance Method curriculum, the busy lifestyles of owners are built into the design of therapeutic methods used. It is difficult to dedicate a large block of time to spend massaging instead of riding. However, what Dawn discovered is that in only minutes a day, with targeted therapeutic work, most owners can spend less than 30 minutes a week and increase the flexibility, compliance, comfort, and range of physicality for their horses without stripping away their riding time. It is to this end that each student’s mentor utilizes an abundance of resources, working with them to compile an accurate picture of the issues that affect each owner’s horse as an individual rather than as a species. With a target issue in mind, the therapies are more accurately applied, saving time, energy and money.
Massage is widely held as an effective tool. But what is less known is the influence of stretches. Stretches must be properly administered in the right location for the result desired as well as with great care given to duration, range, frequency and owner stance. If any of these factors are not correct, expected results will certainly be less and there is more of a risk of actual injury for the horse. Through Dawn’s careful mentoring, students receive guidance through each phase of therapy, carefully navigating intimidating or conflicting symptoms to achieve effective results. Students learn new things about their horse based on the evidence presented by the horse itself.
Traditional Chinese Medicine provides multiple perspectives to accomplish better understanding of how the internal horse reflects the horse seen on the outside. With patient instruction and easy-to-absorb text, students learn to navigate the intimidating nuances of eastern-based philosophies. With applied Five Element Theory, a principle TCM tool, owners learn to recognize subtle changes in their horses as time progresses. And maybe more importantly, owners become skilled at providing relief on their own terms, using skills they will develop through the course work. Horses and owners are better served as they can resolve many issues on their own without having to engage professionals for problems they may resolve themselves.