Horse Muscle Care - Rochfords' Way

Video based training for horses, delivering fast, effective relief from muscular pain due to stress, strain or overwork.
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  • Lectures 23
  • Length 1 hour
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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About This Course

Published 1/2014 English

Course Description

Gain An Unfair Advantage And Learn The Easy To Implement Equine Muscle Therapy That Will Almost Overnight Transform Your Tired Aching Horse Into A Performance Athlete.

EQUUS Muscle Management Therapy, ‘EMM Therapy’ is a unique equine therapy that brings fast, effective relief from muscular pain due to stress, strain or overwork.

Developed by Steve and Kath Rochford, the principles of Equus Muscle Management, who have been treating horses since 2001 and training therapists in their unique modality since 2004 across Australia, England, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The therapy enables your horses' body to unwind, returning the muscles to a relaxed and static state enabling faster recovery from injury, plus, gaining improved flexibility and greater freedom of movement.

What Our Therapy Can Do For You and Your Horse

  • Provide immediate relief to your horse from muscular stress and tension.
  • Allow you to quickly treat your horse yourself to get them back into competition or to work
  • Prevent injury or speed up recovery
  • Make your horse easier to work with and be more responsive
  • Save money by not paying for ongoing treatments with other therapies as you get faster results with less work using our therapy.

Who is it for?

The therapy is ideal for any horse rider or owner looking for the ability to treat their horses muscular ailments and improve their horses performance.

It is also an ideal introduction for practitioners of other equine therapies looking to get accredited in the EMM Therapy.

What You get?

  • All 20 lectures covering both the background information and the videos of the corrections
  • 8 detailed videos showing you how to apply the corrections to your horse.
  • Supporting video transcripts

What are the requirements?

  • An open mind and an affinity for horses is all that is required for this course

What am I going to get from this course?

  • By the end of the course you will have a good understanding of the therapy and how it can be applied
  • You will have an understanding of our therapy and the benefits that come from treating your horse with it.
  • You will also have the required knowledge to implement the 8 level 1 corrections to your own horse.

What is the target audience?

  • This course is suitable for all levels of student from beginner to advanced
  • It is also ideal for those looking to become accredited in the therapy

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.

Curriculum

Section 1: Start Here
About the Authors
Article
Preface
Article
Article

Read this Introduction by Steve and Kath Rochford.

Safety Review
Article
Section 2: Essential Skills
Using Your Hands
Article
01:01
Angles and Pressure

Please read carefully.

Care and accuracy with these elements will make or break your success. We know it all sounds simple and basic but when you are not getting the result you wanted, care and accuracy are usually the culprits - you don’t have to be a long way off to change your result.

Angles

The angle of your finger as you carry out these corrections is very important. If you neglect to follow the instructions, you will not achieve the results you desire. You won’t do anything drastic to your horse but you won’t get a good result either. Below we have given you a clear explanation to help you get the best results.

Direct Pressure

If the instructions state ‘directly in’, this means level your finger horizontally and apply pressure directly in.

Perpendicular

Perpendicular means ‘at 90° to the horses’ body’. This is important and as you become comfortable with the positions, feel and the reactions you are observing, go ahead and change the angle of the perpendicular finger. You will find you have a completely different reaction. It is important to be accurate!

Pressure

This is a gentle technique. It is very gentle for the recipient and there is very little strain on the operator. Learn to use your hands lightly and accurately. The points you will learn shortly can be very tender:

  1. when you are in the correct position and
  2. when you are using the correct angle.

There is no need to push your fingers through and out the other side of the horse. On the contrary, if you press too hard you will lose it and fail to recognise the point that you are attempting to activate..

So don’t bulldoze! Allow your fingers to become your eyes and you will be amazed by what you see and feel.

When you apply pressure you get a reaction (a twitch) and if the response is severe, back off a little.

Think about how sensitive, unhappy and crabby you become when you are sore. Your horse is no different.

Always be mindful of your pressure and remember, the harder you press the more painful these points become.

If your horse is very sore and reacts badly, then simply reduce the pressure. Maintain contact with the point, just decrease the pressure.

If you find a point where there is no reaction, then perhaps your horse doesn’t have a problem in this area. Don’t keep on pressing until you get a reaction.

We are aiming to EASE it into submission, not TEASE it into reaction so if there is no problem to begin with, let’s not create one.

00:25
Types of Movements

Our bodywork uses different types of movements affecting different muscle groups, but at this level we will only be concerned with 2 of them.

1. Direct Pressure

Direct pressure is applied with the end of our finger (clip your nails!!) and perpendicular to the body or as directed for that particular correction.

Use only as much pressure as you would apply to your own eyeball; you can test this on your own eye. That said, please be aware that you must activate the point; very light ‘fly’ touches will not activate the points and will only serve to irritate the horse.

2. Roll

Place your finger or thumb behind attachment as indicated. Apply tension against the muscle area to create a little stretch and the correction is performed by rolling over it. It is a definite roll over as opposed to a slide through.

Timing
Article
Test, Treat, Tension
Article
Observation
Article
Assessment
Article
00:24
Completing the Treatment

Soothe it

When you have completed each correction, make it feel good. Simply wipe the back of your fingers lightly over the area you just worked on - soothe it.

This is one of those super magic guru tricks that makes everything feel better. Really!!!

What it does is take the body’s’ focus of attention away from the point(s) you were just holding.

You will find that as you practice and develop your ‘feel’ you become much more accurate with the points, when you are ‘dead on’ them, even with very light pressure, they are very sensitive. Sometimes the sensitivity (your fingerprint) remains after you have released your hold -‘soothe it’

It is better you do not rub the points as this can be irritating, just wipe lightly across and leave it alone. If you neglect to do this, you can find the horse tenses up instead of relaxing after each move and that is not what we are aiming for.

Do this after every move and build the habit.

Move it

Once we have effected a change, it is very important to move the horse. Although he may be very relaxed, he needs to move out briskly, using his body as closely as possible to full natural movement. This helps the horse to realise that his discomfort and range of movement has changed.

Lock it in

After he accepts that his movement has changed, he must walk a reasonable distance (about 15 m) at a reasonable pace. We want to lock in this new pattern of movement so he continues to improve.
If we just allow him to shuffle along a couple of steps, instead of making him ‘move it’, he will not use his now relaxed muscles to their full extent.

Section 3: The Corrections
01:34
The Barrel Correction

The correction we are going to look at this time is the barrel area. Horses present as being tucked up, standing under, obvious barrel discomfort in mares and restriction in the hindquarter.

Position

With the barrel move, we are working on the inside of the horses’ leg so an element of caution is important.

For the first part of the move, always place one hand on the hip and stand toward the horses shoulder facing rearward as the horse may cow kick.

Slide the other hand down and into the horses flank area, then up the inside leg, so that your index finger rests along the inguinal crease. Where your little finger finishes is about the position where your pressure (middle) finger should be. Palpate gently to find a small hollow.


Your finger points in an outward direction in the centre of the hollow.

The second point of the move is between the second last and last rib.

1. Slide your middle finger down until you drop into a little hollow. This is the first rounded hollow you come to as you slide your finger away from the spine, down the groove between the last and second last rib. As you slide down, you will reach a shelf of muscle. You drop over this shelf and into the hollow to find the correct position.

2. Hold this finger perpendicular to the horse, in the centre of the hollow, and apply gentle pressure.

Procedure

To carry out this correction, you apply gentle pressure at both positions simultaneously until you feel a release or up to 15 seconds.

Ease out and soothe it.

This correction is done three times on each side, alternating between sides. When you have finished remember to ‘Soothe it’, ‘Move it’, and ‘Lock it in’.

Result

This barrel correction will have helped prevent the horse from standing under, will assist a farrier with stretching the hind leg out backwards, and will have eased discomfort in a pregnant mare.

01:18
The Buttoks Correction

Stress and tension in this area presents as short stepping in a forward direction, sometimes the horse might have trouble walking backwards, may cause problems for the farrier to lift the leg and bring it forward.

Position

This is an area of high stress build up and muscle tear. Can be extremely sensitive – always start with very light pressure.
The position for this correction is approximately three-four fingers below the sit bone, in the groove between the two muscles.

It is important to move ONLY across the inside (medial) muscle. You should be able to feel the edge of the muscle clearly.

Locate the sit bone by palpating.

Place the middle knuckle of your index finger beneath the sit bone, keeping you hand horizontal.
Where your little finger falls is about where you need to be. Swap your little finger for your pressure finger and recheck to make sure you are in the groove between the muscles and that you can feel the edge of the muscle.

Procedure

  1. Roll across the edge of the inside muscle, toward the tail, three times.
  2. Perform three strikes; three times on each side, (3x3), alternating sides.

3. Soothe it.

Again, it is important to move ONLY across the inside (medial) muscle. This correction is done three times on each side, alternating between sides. When you have finished remember to:

‘Soothe it’, ‘Move it’ and ‘Lock it in’.

Result

After treatment, you’ll find this area has become softer to palpate, the horse will now be able to get its legs under itself when it is performing and it will make it a lot easier for the farrier to lift the leg up and stretch it forward. This will also remove the chance of muscle tear in this area.

01:07
The Croup Correction

Purpose

The croup correction is used to affect the sacral area, the powerhouse of the horse. Discomfort in this area and short stepping is indicative of a back problem.

Position

To find this position, open your hand up.

Rest the mid part of your hand, (the karate chop point), on the top of the tail, just where the long hair starts to grow.

Let your hand lay forward, palm down. Your thumb lands approximately 4 fingers out from the spine, in the groove between two muscles. If you aren’t in the groove, just adjust your position slightly.

Using your pressure finger, apply gentle pressure. The pressure is perpendicular to the horse but pointing along the same angle as the groove in the muscle.

Procedure

Be warned, when high stress is present, this is a very sensitive area, so light pressure please.

  1. Apply gentle pressure, perpendicular to the horse, but following the angle of the muscle.

  1. Hold until reaction subsides or up to 15 seconds.
  2. Soothe it.

This correction is done three times on each side, alternating between sides. When you have finished remember to:‘Soothe it’, ‘Move it’, and ‘Lock it in’.

Result

We can now find that we have decreased sensitivity in the area, we have decreased stress into the back and the horse now has better use of his hindquarter.

01:00
The Hock Correction

Purpose

This correction is in the hock area. It is directed at eliminating stiffness in the hock and stifle area.

Position

The position for the hock correction is in this area.

Look closely and you can see that the muscles form a triangle

Set your hand in the relaxed ‘Tigers Jaw’ position.Place your fingers on the base of the triangle (curve of hock) and allow your thumb to fall onto the very tip of the triangle - just rearward of the boney structure.
This is your starting position.

Procedure

  1. Feel for the edge of the muscle and place your thumb just forward of it.
  2. Place some tension on it by slightly closing your hand (the jaw).
  3. Roll across it, towards the tail, by closing your hand a little more.

This correction is done three times on each side, alternating between sides. one roll on each side 3 times
When you have finished remember to:

Soothe it, Move it, Lock it in.

Result

You can find that once this correction has been done, the tension in the stifle and hock will has eased and the leg action will have improved dramatically.

02:24
The Lumbar Correction

Purpose

A very common area of stress in all equines. It is involved in lateral flexion and extension of the back.
High build up of stress in this area is indicative or symptomatic of back problems and bad saddle fit.

Symptoms include loss of drive from behind with general difficulty using the hindquarter, poor lateral flexion.

Correction

For this correction it is important that your horse has his weight on his leg, on the side you are working, This will keep the muscles under tension in this area. Remember to feel for tension before you begin.

For the first part of the move:


1. Place your hand between the last rib and the point of the hip. Keep your hand vertically straight and central so that your middle finger will be directly on the line that runs down the mid-line between the last rib and the hip.

a) You can do this by placing you little finger on the point of the hip and your thumb on the edge of the last rib.

Or
b) by nestling your hand centrally in the hollow between the hip and last rib

2. Slide your finger down the midline, away from the spine until you come just over the edge of the muscle. The distance is approximately four fingers but this will vary. A very large horse may be 5 fingers. A horse with a lot of tension here may only be three fingers. It is important to feel for the edge of the muscle.

3. Apply inward pressure, towards the spine. Use direct pressure against the edge of the muscle.

The second point of the move is between the second to last and last rib.

1. Slide your middle finger down until you drop into a little hollow. This is the first rounded hollow you come to as you slide your finger away from the spine, down the groove between the last and second last rib. As you slide down, you will reach a shelf of muscle. You drop over this shelf and into the hollow to find the correct position.

2. Hold this finger perpendicular to the horse, in the centre of the hollow, and apply gentle pressure.

Procedure

To carry out this correction, you apply gentle pressure at both positions simultaneously until you feel a release or up to 15 seconds.

Ease out. Soothe it.

This correction is done three times on each side, alternating between sides. When you have finished remember to ‘soothe it’, ‘Move it’, ‘and Lock it in.’

Result

You will find now that the horse will be softer to palpate, he will have less stress, less tension in his back and less pain. His lateral flexion will have improved no end and you will have an all round happier horse.

01:48
The Neck Correction

When there is stress and tension in the neck area the horse tends to carry his head high or low or to one side.
When the tension is in the lower part of the neck, the horse is unable to use his shoulders effectively.

There are three distinct ridges, top and bottom, that we will be working over. There are two separate parts to this correction.

Part 1

1. The first part of this correction is in the upper neck area. To find the position, we need to rest our fingertips on the top of the horse’s neck and find the bone that sits vertically behind the ear (wing of the Atlas).



2. Run your thumb down the bone until you come about level with the bottom of the ear bulb.

3. Next, move your thumb back in to the groove that lies behind the bone. Position your hand so that your thumb lies parallel to the wing of the atlas bone and pointing downward in the direction you will be moving. That is your starting position.

Ensure your thumb is just behind the ridge of muscle.

Procedure - Position 1

1. Apply gentle pressure downward against the ridge, so that it takes a little stretch. The move is a roll, down over the ridge, parallel with the bone and toward the horses’ nose.

Use light pressure to begin - this can be a very sensitive area.

2. Lift your thumb and move it up about a thumb width. Feel for the next ridge, apply gentle pressure, roll down once again parallel with the wing of the atlas, toward the horses’ nose.

Be aware of your other four fingers. They are there simply for light support. Pressure should be administered by the thumb only.

Lift your thumb again and come back up about a thumb width, feel for the muscle ridge, apply gentle pressure again and roll down toward the horses nose.

4. You should clearly feel the ridges under your thumb as you slide down over them. All three moves are parallel with the wing of the atlas bone.

Does it feel awkward? Check which hand you are using. On the near side of the horse, you carry out this part of the move with your right hand.

Procedure - Position 2

1. To find the second part of the move, place your fingers under his windpipe, and rest your thumb on the bottom outside edge of the neck muscle.

The fingers on his windpipe are a guide. Use them to LIGHTLY guide your hand down his

2. Run your thumb all the way down the lower edge of the muscle until it falls into the muscle groove, just forward of the front of the shoulder.

This is a distinctive grove that feels like a ‘bite’ out of the muscle.

This is the start position, in the ‘bite’ on the very edge of the muscle.

Procedure 2

1. Apply gentle pressure using a slow roll down, over the edge of the muscle, on the same angle as the shoulder.
The only pressure here is under your thumb - not on his windpipe.

Once again, be aware of your pressure - this area can be extremely sore.

2. Lift you’re your thumb and move up the neck about a thumb width. Feel for the ridge of muscle, take a stretch against it and roll downward on the same angle as the shoulder.

Remember: When you lift your thumb, break contact with the horse. These are three different positions, 3 seperate corrections

01:32
The Pelvic Correction

Problems in this area present as lateral restriction on the opposite side to the tension (pain). These muscles are also involved in ‘tie-up.’Overwork in one direction or an excessively left or right-handed rider can exacerbate these problems.

Symptoms can include short stepping on the compromised side, dragging the toes or dropping the leg through jumps.

Correction

It is important to make sure that the horse has weight on the hind leg, on the side you are working, to keep tension on these muscles.

1. For the first part of the move, place your thumb on the high point of the hip bone.

2. Slide your thumb over and diagonally down toward the front elbow.

3. Tuck the thumb in and under. Apply gentle pressure using a ‘hooking’ motion with your thumb.

Beware!! - Can be very sensitive.

The second point of the move is between the second and last rib.

1. Slide your middle finger down until you drop into a little hollow. This is the first rounded hollow you come to as you slide your finger away from the spine, down the groove between the last and second last rib. As you slide down, you will reach a shelf of muscle. You drop over this shelf and into the hollow to find the correct position.

1. Hold this finger perpendicular to the horse, in the centre of the hollow, and apply gentle pressure.

Procedure

To carry out this correction, you apply gentle pressure at both positions simultaneously until you feel a release or up to 15 seconds.

Ease out and soothe it.

This correction is done three times on each side, alternating between sides. When you have finished remember to ‘Soothe it’, ‘Move it’, ‘Lock it in’.

Result

Now that we have completed the pelvic move, we have reduced the risk of tie-up.
We have increased lateral flexion and reduced the tension and stress through the pelvic area.

00:49
The Thigh Correction

The thigh correction is used to affect the whole thigh area and when there is tension in this area, the horse will tend to walk stiff legged or to swing his leg outward as he walks forward. Forward movement also restricted.

Position

To find the position, we need to find the back point of the hip. The attachment of the muscle here forms an upside down tick.

Run your finger up the short part of the tick (over small muscle) until you reach the lower edge of the large muscle above.

Run your finger straight down the muscle (the long part of the tick) until you drop into a small hollow. This hollow is formed where the muscles cross and is quite distinct when there is tension present.

Procedure

Stand your finger up in the centre of the hollow and apply pressure directly in toward the horse, until you feel a release or up to 15 seconds.

  1. Ease out and soothe in
  2. This correction is done three times on each side, alternating between sides. (3x1) When you have finished remember to

‘Soothe it’, ‘Move it’, and ‘Lock it in’.

Result

We now find that the whole area has softened and become more flexible and this allows the horse to improve his gait.

Theory Assessment
15 questions
Article

Although your focus so far has most limey been practicing the methodology - correct angle, correct pressure, correct position - you have most likely noticed some unexpected) reactions from the horse.

While we are working with any animal, there is a constant communication that can greatly increase the theraputic benefits and open the doors to better understanding our animals and our therapy.

In this section we would like to share a little bit about EQUUS Communication.

Article

So it's time now to look at some of the basics of EQUUS Communication and it's application to therapy.

As we mentioned in the previous lecture, some of the animal body language is very clear and easy to understand. This is probably because we learned it as we needed to keep ourselves safe around our horses. We only ignored those flattened ears once or twice because if we continued to do so, we would usually need up with a bite (or a kick). It is reasonable to suggest that we learn very quickly when survival is involved. We also learn quickly when we have a desire or passion to learn or perform a new skill.

While EQUUS Communication was originally learned firstly to understand the horse as we were starting and training, and then secondly as basic care and well being, we begin to look at the basics here from a therapeutic point of view. At the end of this lecture we will be able to look at a horse and recognise the symptoms of pain and discomfort held in his facial features and work towards improving his comfort and therefore his performance and flexibility.

Section 4: Case Study Form
2 pages

If you are planning to become an EQUUS Muscle Management Therapist, you must complete 10 case studies per level. These 10 case studies must be completed and lodged before advancing to the next level. If you are completing this course for your own interest, you are not required to complete any case studies but you will not be able to change your mind an submit them later as the case studies show a progression of learning and understanding and must be completed on the timeline as you complete each module.

We have included a downloadable case study form to make it easy to record your treatments and they can be copied and posted in or scanned and emailed to us.

Enjoy the learning as you begin to explore EQUUS Muscle Management Therapy with your first 'clients' and we will look forward to following your progress.

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Instructor Biography

Steve and Kath Rochford, Leading Equine Therapists and Horse Trainers

Steve and Kath Rochford, the principles of Horse Muscle Care, have been treating horses since 2001 and training therapists in their unique modality, EMM Therapy, since 2004 across Australia, England, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

This therapy is not limited to horses, with plenty of interest being shown in canine short courses by those with show, racing, agility, obedience and working dogs. Wildlife carers with stressed and injured animals as well as cattle studs and even alpaca breeders who wish to show their stock in peak condition also appreciate the benefits they can see during and after a treatment

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