Today I gave Lily a massage. It was a beautiful fall day, and Lily seemed to enjoy this massage more than the last one. I did this massage in the round pen, and she was free to walk away from me. I knew she enjoyed things, first, when she didn’t walk away, and second, when she stood perfectly still. The next best indication of appreciation is deep breathes. And finally there’s licking and chewing. Lily’s a bit stingy with the last, so I was thrilled when I got a few deep breathes.
We took an equine massage intensive two years ago because I knew that Lily really needed the work. We took her as a demo to that clinic, and it was amazing how she reacted to that first treatment. Initially the instructors told us to work on her, but eventually both of the instructors started working on her because her reactions were so extreme. She was stomping and biting, quite uncharacteristically, as we released tension from her body. She even got down and rolled to try to release even more tension. She’s done that once since then. I count it as progress when she doesn’t have that extreme a reaction to a massage.
I was talking to a friend last night and she mentioned that her favorite mare has body alignment issues in the same place that she does. I could only smile, as the same is true for Lily and me. Right now at least, I seem to have regular trouble with my atlas/C1 vertebra in my neck. Lily has been telling me recently that she needed to have her atlas adjusted. And while I don’t claim to be an animal communicator, there have been times when I’ve gotten very clear messages from my animals. One of those messages was from Lily telling me that until I solve the root cause of my neck issues, she’s unlikely to get better, too. I haven’t figured that one out yet, so I keep giving her massages.
I try to plan her massages for right before I go to the chiropractor, as there’s an adjustment I do on her neck that inevitably puts my back out. I always have to consult The Well Adjusted Horse: Equine Chiropractic Methods You Can Do by Daniel Kamen before I do the adjustment. It’s a great book, but it doesn’t come close to the hands-on learning we received in those Sporthorse Massage clinics. One of the biggest things I learned is that it’s helpful to be taller than I am to do that neck adjustment!