I was a “successful” trainer for years.
What was my metric of success?
My horses won. I won. My clients won.
National and International titles.
I could name the joints in the body, trim my own horses feet and had a solid eye for lameness after being a Vet tech for years.
I never thought of myself as uneducated.
Until that fateful day that I was introduced to bodywork and I realized the gut wrenching hit that the horse that I had been actively “training” was really just communicating discomfort.
I have a lot of personality flaws, but my mother deeply instilled in me that it’s a gift to be humbled.
And calling this experience “humbling” was an understatement.
I thought I did the right thing by making it mandatory for every horse in my program to be on a consistent bodywork program.
10 years ago it wasn’t the fad it is now, so I really thought I was ahead of the game in mindful horsemanship…
Over time I decided I wanted to be able to do it myself and then yet another humbling experience came into play.
It's one thing to pay someone to work on your horse and put on a beautiful band aid for all of their “hard work”
It's a completely different experience to be the one personally releasing the tension and then seeing how quickly it came back…
How were my sound, happy, “successful” horses MORE locked up after I rode?
They were breathing well during our rides, they were improving their behavior and their movements.
Every metric that I knew to test against suggested I was doing the right thing.
Except for their bodies.
And friends - Bodies don’t lie.
So I “had a nervous breakdown” and did a 180 in my business.
It was just bodywork from here on out and I wasn’t allowed to ride again until I could figure out how to make the horse better BECAUSE I rode it.
What I realized on this journey over the last 5 years, is that I actually didn’t know anything about the equine body.
Not in terms of correct development anyway, which ultimately is what every owner and trainer should understand before ever asking a horse to do the jobs we require of them.
I uncovered the truths about the myths.
1. There’s no such things as a base narrow horse.
There are no clavicles or bones holding the front end together, it’s all muscle and fascia. So it’s either developed, or it’s not.
2. There’s no such thing as a roached back horse.
There’s a horse that has chronic psoas tension that has pulled it’s back into a roached hump.
3. There’s not such thing as a U-necked horse.
There’s a horse that had birth trauma and didn’t have adequate attention done to it’s shoulders so it could properly unfold and allow for the neck to relax.
4. There's no such thing as a horse that chips jumps.
There’s a horse that doesn’t have developed pectorals.
5. There’s no such thing as a horse that’s “heavy”
There’s a horse that doesn’t have a developed thoracic sling.
6. There’s no such thing as a horse who “falls in on the circle”
There’s a horse who isn’t developed to find the outside of their body.
7. There’s not such thing as a horse that stays behind the vertical.
There’s a horse that doesn’t have a developed serratus ventralis thoracis.
8. There’s no such thing as horse that randomly explodes for no reason.
There’s a horse that has chronic nerve impingement that fires during specific movements.
9. There's no such thing as a horse that needs maintenance injections for it’s job. (Unless they have a defect or actual injury)
There’s a horse that’s been living in biomechanical failure and putting unnecessary loading on its joints as a result.
And so, so much more….
There is so much science continuously coming out about how we can better show up for our horses, and even though it’s terrifying to think that maybe we’ve been doing it “wrong” for a long time, how freaking cool is it to know that there are ANSWERS on how we can do better?
Even with all of the success my work has reached globally, you know what I’m doing tonight?
Reading up more about all kinds of equine anatomy and nerves so I can learn even more.
Every lesson I give is still just a cased study to me.
Don’t be afraid to become more educated. Don’t be afraid to have been wrong.
Being humbled, is truly a gift.