You or your designated representative must be present for the initial consultation to share the horse’s history and orient me to your barn. Paperwork emailed to you after scheduling should be completed prior to the start of your appointment. Once you are an established client, you are welcome to stay and watch or attend to other business.
Distractions make it a challenge for your horse to settle and relax. Please schedule your appointment for a quiet time of day. Feeding time is not ideal! Other distractions such as hay in the stall should also be removed. And during warmer months when the bugs are out, the application of fly spray or use of a fan may be appropriate.
Give some consideration to the location of the massage. Identify a place that is quiet, clean, and well-lit where your horse feels comfortable and secure. For some horses this is their stall or a small pen, while for others it may be cross-ties in the aisle.
If you plan on riding prior to your appointment, please allot at least one hour to allow your horse's muscles to cool thoroughly.
Your horse should be reasonably clean and dry. Upping Stone is available to groom your horse for a $10 fee. Please let me know in advance if you would like to add this service and have your horse’s grooming equipment available for use.
DURING THE APPOINTMENT
Horses’ reactions to massage and bodywork vary greatly. It may take your horse more than one session to understand the process and what is expected. It is natural for them to seem distracted, restless, or even a little agitated at first, especially when trouble spots are addressed. Some horses are much more comfortable showing visible signs of tension release while others may feel they are showing signs of weakness that in the wild would get them picked off by a predator or kicked out of the herd as a weak link. If your horse does not exhibit large releases, do not despair, it is still working!
Subtle responses indicate an area of tension has been found and include blinking or twitching of the eye; twitching or quivering of the lips; change in breathing (i.e. holding breath, breathing faster); sighing; grinding teeth; fidgeting; dropping head; and softening of the eye or facial expression.
Larger responses indicate a release of tension and include licking and chewing; yawning; snorting, sneezing, or grunting (especially repeatedly); “shaking loose”; passing gas; rolling back the second eyelid; stretching and flexing; wobbling behind; kicking out or snapping hind leg; and running nose and/or tear ducts.
AFTER THE APPOINTMENT
Allow your horse to move around comfortably and have access to plenty of water immediately following the appointment. Turn-out for the rest of the day is ideal; however, hand-walking for 10 to 15 minutes following the appointment is also acceptable if your horse is to be stalled. If there is no one available to hand-walk your horse, Upping Stone is happy to provide this service for an additional $10 fee. Please let me know in advance if you would like to add this service.
If you plan on riding, keep it relaxed and on a loose rein to allow your horse to “reset” his muscle memory and adjust to changes in movement.