• Rose Gillies

Case Study: Seeley

One of my client's has very kindly allowed me to share details of what we've been doing with her horse for the past year or so to help him progress through training. Seeley is a 7 year old Oldenburg gelding, competing at Second level dressage and schooling Third.

I first worked on Seeley last year, around the time of the April CDI here in Katy. We added some Magnawave Sessions prior to his classes to help him relax and feel supple. Generally during a Magnawave Session I will also assess the horse with my hands, similar to if I was about to do a massage, and identify & work out areas with tension present or muscle spasms. This will also tell me if the horse could benefit from additional services, such as a full body massage session or kinesiology taping for example, or if there are any contraindications present.

We created a plan for Seeley's care to fit around his training & showing schedule. This included incorporating every other week sessions of Magnawave during show season, with added sessions at horse shows. We figured out that Seeley performs best if he has his session the night before his class, it helps to relax him both in body and mind and sets him up for success the next day.

Many horses can struggle with the transition from Second to Third level in dressage due to the increased requirement for collection and introduction of lead changes. It's important to build their strength and muscles to cope with this requirement, and alongside adequate training and nutrition, the use of alternative therapies can help them through any aches and pains during this time of change, just as we may seek a sports massage or take an epsom salt bath post workout if we are training for a new activity, have taken a different more intense class, or recently joined the gym after not working out for some time.

For a lot of competition horses, this move up coincides with important changes happening in their bodies. Often a horse is considered fully grown when it reaches the age of 4 or 5, which can be true of some and can be breed and size dependent. But many horses, especially larger horses and warmbloods in particular may not fully mature until they are 7 or 8. Sometimes these changes in their bodies can create issues they were not previously having such as lack of balance or unevenness while they go through a growth spurt. Learning to adapt to these changes can create compensation patterns, tension & even pain until they even out again. The higher you move in the body the later the growth plate fusion occurs, with most of the limbs complete by the age of 3 1/2 - 4, and the axial skeleton fusing between the ages of 4 & 8. It's worth bearing in mind that the vertebral column (excluding the cervical spine, which is usual finished by the age of 3-4) is the last area to cease growing, yet it's the part where we apply heavy tack and sit from a much younger age.

The other tool we have used in helping Seeley transition through stages of growth in his body and the increase in training is the use of Equi-Tape. Kinesiology taping is extremely popular for human athletes, and is becoming more recognized in the equine athlete. It not only provides support for joints, but can be used to relax or activate muscles, depending on the application, as well as effecting free nerve endings for proprioceptive benefits and pain reduction, increase in circulation and decrease in inflammation.

We found that Seeley could get sore in the hind end and lumbar area of his back. Veterinary advice was sought to ensure there were not any joint issues, and with the addition of hind shoes to help him with traction, we were able to support his hind legs, gluteals, pelvis and back through transitions in his body due to growth and increased training, which made him more agreeable to work.

Ashley has noticed an improvement in Seeley's attitude, performance and how his back feels from use of regular PEMF sessions and taping.

Ashley & Seeley competed at Great Southwest Equestrian Center here in Katy this past weekend at second level and second freestyle, earning High Point and Reserve Highpoint and qualifying for regional championships.

"Anyone can wave a Magnawave loop around, but not a lot of people actually know what they are doing. Rose at Restore Equine is one of the few people who truly understands the technology, how to read a horse's response, and how to adjust treatment based on the needs of each horse. 

I have seen the best impact from Magnawave when using it for regular, bi-weekly treatments as well as supplemental treatments during times of extended work, ex, horse shows. Rose makes scheduling easy and happily works around your ride times. I have one horse I like done the night before a test and one the day of a test and I've never had a problem scheduling. 

Rose also displays extensive knowledge and ability with EquiTape. Her work with my young and somewhat difficult dressage horse made a substantial difference in his approach to work. While not cold backed, he can be tense at the beginning of a ride. The tape helped him start his workout with a looser back and fewer shenanigans. Her ankle taping significantly helps horses who stock up when kept in a stall." 

I am extremely grateful to be a part of Ashley & Seeley's journey, and look forward to seeing them continue to grow!

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