Internationally-recognized veterinarian, hoof researcher and equine barefoot advocate Robert Bowker, DVM honored us with a visit to the SENSE Method Equine Workshop held in South Lyon, Michigan last month.
Dr. Bowker participated as I led the class through a Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement lesson, which is a series of gentle movements designed to enhance coordination, flexibility and posture. Participants learned how to free up their back, shoulders and neck by improving awareness of their spine, ribs and sternum. It was gratifying to see people being able to turn their heads easier, reach farther with their arms and eliminate back pain!
Next, I explained how we can apply the same concept to a horse, using my hands to invite awareness and motion to the horse’s spine, ribs and sternum. We could see how this improved the movement in the equine’s back, shoulders and neck. Pairing up with a horse, the participants then practiced the SENSE Method moves I had demonstrated.
It was wonderful to see how the Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement lesson had prepared the students by giving them an experience of the effectiveness of these gentle movements. They understood in their own bodies how increased mobility in the ribs, sternum and spine leads to freer movement in the back, neck and shoulders, so it was easy for them to help their horses make that connection too. These SENSE moves are especially useful for horses that are stiff, sore or short-strided, as well as those transitioning from shoes to barefoot.
After the class ended, Dr. Bowker generously shared his findings on the many benefits horses receive when we trim them correctly and leave them barefoot. We were an appreciative and captive audience! (BTW, an excellent resource with tons of great information on natural hoof trimming is thehorseshoof.com. Yvonne Welz does a fantastic job of producing a highly-informative barefoot hoof care magazine too.)
Happily, it looks like I’ll be returning to Michigan to teach another SENSE Method Equine Workshop in late August. Please contact me if you would like more information. Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you’ll consider posting a comment. I always love to hear from you! ~ Mary