Athletes of all types can experience pain while training; animal athletes are no different. However, there are considerable differences in how that pain manifests itself. Many animals adopt behavioral issues characterized by aggression, diversion or simply failure to improve. Others work through the discomfort until the action of compensation causes asymmetrical travel patterns and often additional injuries. Many times issues in training are actually issues of pain. Trying to discipline or train an animal that is experiencing an unresolved pain issue can cause bodily injury as the animal is asked to repeat an exercise until it shows progress. Further, working with pain can cause a poor attitude about work that can have long lasting effects on an animal's relationship with its owner. Once the issues have been identified and relieved, the animal will thrive in its training and the relationship will improve.
Animals often experience relapses to injury, particularly those created by repetitive motion strains. Understanding when and how to massage will aid in their more permanent recovery. Identifying stretches that will support movement and range of motion is an important factor in rehab-therapy. Knowing which therapies will help and enhance healing time is key.
Prevention is not only for the young, but also animals in their geriatric years. The young may have conformational factors that will affect travel patterns, which can be addressed through therapies to strengthen muscle, relieve chiropractic stresses and allow for more comfort or better work product. Older animals, in particular, will have more issues as they age. The multiple therapies within the course of study provide numerous options. Tools like essential oils can relieve pain, reduce inflammation and provide daily comfort, allowing many of our geriatric animals to live longer with fewer drugs. Using techniques of Traditional Chinese Medicinewill enhance the therapeutic values of essential oils.
Physical pain is not the only factor that can plague an animal's comfort or well-being. There can be environmental factors, issues of nutrition, routine imbalances or issues in their herd or pack that create disruption. Private discussions with your assigned mentor takes all these factors into consideration for you and your animal, so your path forward is with informed guidance.
The ability to cross-reference several therapies as you work through an issue is much like preparing to paint a picture. You can only choose from the paint colors on your palate. More colors will give you more options of expression, depth, or beauty. Having a working understanding of several therapies gives you the same advantage while choosing what is best for the well-being of your horse or dog.
It might seem a bit overwhelming to think of studying several therapies at once, but the reason it works so well has everything to do with how the therapies are presented within the program. I will guide you through the basics. I'm with you through the specifics of your animal's issues as well. The individual attention allows you to glide effortlessly into new therapies feeling assured that there is someone there to answer your questions, correct misconceptions and help you develop the skills you are most comfortable using. For instance, a particular massage stroke in Tui-na (Chinese massage) might loosen tension in a muscle, while another massage technique in myo-fascial release might stretch the muscle but also relieve tension. One technique might be more comfortable for you over the other. If you are more comfortable, your animal will experience more relief. My goal is to help empower you to feel secure with these therapies, make them part of your everyday life with your dog or horse.
For three decades I've worked as an animal trainer and performed physical therapy on horses and dogs. I have worked with amateurs, professionals, and Olympic level athletes. As a horsewoman, I have competed at the national level in multiple disciplines and I spent many years showing and training horses and dogs. Early in my career I served as a veterinary technician for both large-and-small-animal clinics, and in recent years I have been fortunate enough to apprentice with several renowned veterinarians and other animal professionals around the country to expand my base of knowledge. While maintaining my own training center, I gained certification in massage for canine and equine therapy, after which I concentrated my work on the training and rehabilitation of injured or struggling dogs and horses. After accumulating thirty years of training and comprehensive study with literally hundreds of animals, I found myself in a unique position to create this course of study for anyone who wishes to learn how to maintain an animal's well-being through multiple holistic therapies.