Having owned and ridden horses past and present, I have experienced the constant strive for balance between farrier, saddler, physiotherapist and rider to achieve the optimum health of the horse that is fit and comfortable for purpose. However, domestication of the horse vastly contrasts the natural constraints on the horse and requires adaptations of the horse’s physiology to inhabit a stable and carry a rider and tack while performing. Therefore, regular conditioning and devotion to fine tuning the musculoskeletal system is imperative for a healthy and happy horse from the geriatrics, retired horses and happy hackers to all-rounders and top level performance horses.
My love for horses developed like many, from a young age when learning to ride quickly became a lifestyle of longevity. My first ride, my dad’s ex racehorse gave me an early taster of the variety of horse disciplines and structural compromises of the horse, sparking a life-long intrigue into the biomechanics and rehabilitation of horses.
Graduating from Oxford Brookes University in June 2016 with a 1st Class degree in Equine Science and Top Scientist Award, I found I had accumulated a broad range of knowledge to pursue a career in the equine industry having covered subjects such as nutrition, performance physiology, preventative medicine, business and ethics. However, as much as I enjoyed the theory of the course, my second year prompted me to look elsewhere for a more practical career with horses. During the summer of 2015, I then discovered Equinology Inc., educators of equine bodywork in several countries across the world delivering a different approach to equine assessment and massage and addressing almost every muscle within a session.
Before graduating from university I had qualified as an Equine Bodyworker EEBW and joined the International Equine Bodyworkers Association (IEBWA) to begin practicing the profession around my studies. The two worked hand in hand to keep me busy and sparked a real interest in rehabilitation, training and musculoskeletal problems of the riding horse, consequently providing the motivation for my final year projects; investigation of the pessoa and an overall investigation into the effects that 21st domestication has on the equine back. Just a week after final exams, I continued with my massage studies, undertaking two more of the Equinology courses to expand on both my skillset and anatomical knowledge, upon completion gaining an upgrade to a level 2 bodyworker.
Now, I am committed to helping equines and their owners to achieve the desired equilibrium between health and function and have created Box Soft Tissue Therapy to enable me to do so on a regular basis. I am passionate about continuing my education and developing upon both skills and knowledge and regularly attend lectures in association with BSAS, the RVC and independent specialists. I am a great believer that ‘knowledge is power’ and hope this will assist me with maintaining the selection of horses I am fortunate to treat.
A Soft Tissue Session entails three major components; Assessment, Treatment and Reassessment. In order for the session to be tailored and target the main imbalances, tensions and restrictions of the horse, I like to see the horse in hand, tacked up, on the lunge and sometimes ridden to get a full picture of the static and dynamic constraints on the horse’s movement. The treatment will then consist of soft and slow progressive movements over the majority of the body and major muscle groups using specific massage techniques with additional myofascial release and tissue and spinal mobilizations where required. Massage has been shown to yield great benefits to both the horse and rider for addressing adhesions prior to the development of injury, relieving acute and chronic pain, increasing blood flow to aid healing and releasing positive endorphins to generate overall wellbeing and relaxation to provide relief for all types of equines. It may be used as a treat or as regular maintenance for any equine companion. Once the treatment is complete, I will then often reassess the horse’s movement or response to specific palpations to ensure greater asymmetry or less sensitivity has been achieved. Depending on individual patients, sessions may last 1-2 hours or even longer for first appointments.
Please note that soft tissue sessions/ sports massage is not a substitute for veterinary assessment and care and therefore I am not permitted to diagnose any given condition or treat a horse deemed lame upon presentation in adherence to The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966. Consent from both the horse’s owner and veterinarian is compulsory before a soft tissue session can commence.
I Highly recommend Ruth! She's fab at what she does and so calm and patient with the horses. She fully explains what's she's doing and why and you get great results! I wouldn't go anywhere else! X
I would recommend Ruth to anyone, she is patient and sympathetic to each of my horses individual needs. She's up to date with latest techniques, I always see great results, she has helped my horses tremendously.
Could not recommend Ruth enough! Always gets a result with my horses and she is so passionate about the individual horse she treats.
Ruth was really patient with my older horse who can be a bit of a fidget and took a while for him to realise he needed to relax and stretch with her. But she really had him working with her at the end of the session.
She highlighted his tighter areas and explained different exercises we could try to target them in the future.
Reasonably priced and does a great job. Would highly recommend!!!
Thank you Ruth!