Archive for the ‘Anatomy’ Category

Here’s a rare glimpse under the skin at living fascia (connective tissue) through a microscope.

I have the DVD myself, “Strolling Under the Skin,” and am thrilled to see at least a little of it available on YouTube to share with you.

You may be fascinated by what the narrator is saying, or totally overwhelmed, but just please enjoy the “wow” factor of the visual images, and don’t let the speed and complexity of the narration put you off the overall impression, that fascia is cool! (And so is Myofascial Release!)


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This and the next post feature resources from ReactorPanel Saddle Company. I will then also included some posts with other excellent resources. Yes, I do have a slight bias toward RP saddles because I own two myself, one for each of the horses we ride (with a saddle). I’ve tested both with the Port Lewis Impression Pad, and both show no pressure spots, which is pretty remarkable, as you know if you’ve ever tested any saddles yourself. That said, RP saddles are not for everyone, nor for every horse, and any saddle that fits both horse and rider is just great!

So this post is to highlight a series of YouTube videos from the RP company, and the one I suggest you start with even if you have no interest in RP saddles, is the one looking at a horse’s conformation through the eyes of a saddle-fitter….
(Note: At the end of the video, across the bottom of the screen you’ll see additional RP videos you can click on to watch.)

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Here’s a great Q&A article from theHorse.com. Veterinarian Dr. Joyce Harman, DVM, MRCVS, offers her response to a question about asymmetrical muscle development and how it can relate to both movement and saddle fitting issues.

And be sure to note her comments in the last paragraph, “So what can you do about this asymmetry?”!

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My three horses, Kiona, Rainbow and Prince, just had their spring appointment with Veterinary Equine Dentist Dr. Richard Vetter, DVM. (His website is very informative, check it out!) About 10 years ago I learned something about the difference between a dental specialist versus a general practitioner vet doing dentistry (floating teeth). Ever since having my eyes opened to this contrast, I make it a point to have my horses see a dental specialist at least every two years, and generally every year (or more often if necessary). (In fact, before this week’s appointment it had been two years, and now I regret waiting that long. That is, they’ve been checked by other vets every six months, and even floated some, yet were still overdue for the level of care that a specialist can provide. I know this not only because of what Dr. Vetter could show me in their mouths, but also by Rainbow’s difficulty chewing recently, Kiona’s sores inside her cheeks, and the limited side-to-side range for chewing/grinding for all three horses).

For the “inbetween” appointments, in my case usually for the fall shots for example, or perhaps at a chiropractic appointment, I certainly appreciate any vet taking a look in their mouth to check on them. General practitioners are very capable of basic care, of course, but how can they be expected to do any more than this minimum without the time and training devoted to teeth as a specialty? Would you rely on your doctor to take care of your own teeth? Waiting for sharp points and sores on the inside of the cheeks to do some floating is like waiting for your horse to go lame before doing preventative care for their muscles and joints, like massage or chiropractic care.

Using massage as an analogy here is especially appropriate because of the close connection between a horse’s teeth and their musculoskeletal system. Problems with the teeth, whether pain issues or problems with the symmetry and range of motion for how the top and bottom teeth meet and move, can have very direct consequences for your horse’s ability to move correctly, athletically, and comfortably. Again, I invite you to check out Dr. Vetter’s website, because you’ll find lots of information there about these topics!

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Dr. Deb Bennett, Ph.D., author of several books including the wonderful series, Principles of Conformation Analysis, is also the founder of a great website, Equine Studies Institute. Check out especially the “Knowledge Base” area of the site. As described there, “This section of the ESI Website is intended to grow as readings are added yearly. The central theme is the “natural history” of rider and horse. This takes in anatomy and biomechanics (both human and equine), zoogeography, evolutionary history, and developmental biology.”

I had the opportunity to take an anatomy class from Dr. Deb several years ago, and to say she’s a wealth of knowledge is a gross understatement!

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Now that you’ve done the wither rock (see last post), try the wither lift to help your horse open the joint spaces of the back and ribs, relax the back muscles, and engage the belly and shoulder sling muscles. Feel in the girth area for a slightly hollow spot. That’s the end of your horse’s sternum, or breast bone. Scratch/tickle your horse there while looking up at the withers and expecting to see them rise. Some horses will lift more than others. If yours doesn’t lift well yet, it can improve with this exercise and other bodywork. It’s often possible to get noticeable improvements by simply repeating the wither rock, wither lift combination a few times.

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Horse Tip Daily #144 – Megan Ayrault on the Stifle:


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If you haven’t already seen this video through the All About Animal Massage site or newsletter, here’s a link to a video taken from an equine massage class I taught, which shows a technique for helping your horse’s ribs, breath, and back (so therefore everything really :)) It also includes some discussion of the anatomy behind it, which is how I teach all the techniques and anatomy in The Horse Lover’s Guide to Massage: What Your Horse Wants You to Know. That is, I like to teach them in chunks together, so they enhance each other through the connections.

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OK, so I technically started this blog almost a year ago now, but then got a little distracted by the other events and tasks related to launching AllAboutAnimalMassage.com and publishing books and e-books on horse and dog massage. But 2010 is clearly the year to really get this blog rolling. Watch for tips, links, videos, podcasts and the latest e-books. I’ll even let you horse folks know when the cat massage book will be ready, though don’t tell your horses or dogs I said that 🙂
(And PLEASE don’t tell your cats their book came third, chronologically at least!)

I’m happy to launch this new beginning with a resource I know many of you will positively drool over, a FREE On-Line Equine Anatomy course! (Free only during 2010, so don’t wait!)
This is a very generous offering from Equinology to the horse world. So check it out, and I hope you enjoy it! (Actually, there is a $15 fee to cover administration costs, but in 2011 the cost will be $150, so still a steal of a deal for anyone interested in horse anatomy, equine massage, or equine massage training.)

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