Recently there have been a string of videos from my friend Dr. Kevin Haussler and the Veterinary Spinal Compendium talking about how to filter through information on social media, how to utilize the scientific method in your everyday life and how to best bridge the gap between the researchers and Veterinarians and the trainers/bodyworkers that are all actively trying to do right by our horses.
I cannot stress how important these conversations are.
Having division between these groups is one of the worst things that happens in our industry and so to see more professionals getting together for the betterment of it all is so, so profound.
So what does training using the scientific method look like?
Observe. Research Hypothesis Experiment Data Analysis Report Conclusions.
Using this approach is exactly how BTMM was created.
Both in my clinical practice as a licensed massage therapist and as a competitive rider and professional trainer for 20 years, I observed a pattern of tension in the majority of horses in the following areas -
TMJ/Nuchal crest/Base of Ears. Mid-base of neck. Lumbar. Hamstrings.
I then dove down into research and learned about the importance of the equine thoracic sling, nerve health and equine development and it's impact on posture and performance.
Due to the pattern tension being presented together, my hypothesis was that they were connected and if we could release one through suggested movement in our training practices, it could allow for the rest to follow suit.
I spent the next 5 years experimenting with this, alternating approaches and coming up with other hypothesis to add on to the initial one.
When I felt like it was something that was finally showing positive and repeatable results, I began to share my data with other professionals in the field.
Veterinarians, farriers, osteopaths, chiropractors, bodyworkers, trainers, and of course the heart and soul of us all - The amateur horse owner.
When they all individually reported back to me that they were seeing the same results in their own attempts with this work, then I felt confident enough to teach it to the public. This does not mean that everything is set in stone, and that what I teach is correct. (Which is why I'm always actively searching for more answers).
And what I love so much about this scientific method, is that once you draw a conclusion, you go right back to repeating the steps all over again.
Day in, and day out.
Every single case study that we work on, we are observing, checking our work, checking back with the groups that it failed along with the groups that it worked well with and responding with educated answers based on all that we have learned so far.
And learning and science is a LIFE LONG journey. Rarely things are fact, forever.
One thing that we think is true today, we could very well find out is obsolete tomorrow, and that is the beauty in all of this.
The internet is a world full of thoughts, opinions and scientific studies that we can all access on whim.
I think both are valid to consider.
Anecdotal evidence can have a lot of power behind it. It can also be heavily suggestive and therefore, flawed.
Scientific evidence can have a lot of power behind it. It can also be heavily suggestive and therefore, flawed.
I think at the end of the day the thing that is the most remarkable about the work that we are all doing is that when in doubt, we can always take it back to the horse.
Because in the end, it is the horse and only the horse who's opinion matters.