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Bodywork FAQ's

An initial session includes a review of your horse’s history, a static and dynamic assessment, and a full bodywork session. The history and assessments inform me of your horse’s baseline so I can pinpoint what would be most beneficial to them, and they provide you with vital baseline information as well moving forward. This assessment takes about 30-45 minutes and requires you to be there to handle the horse, hand-walk and trot them out, and preferably lunge or round pen at a walk, trot, and canter. It can include under-saddle observation as well.

A full session is usually between 60-90 minutes using a variety of techniques that could include sports massage, myofascial release, mobility and stability exercises, focal point work, stretching and activations. You are not required to be present for the session unless you prefer to be, or your horse requires a handler and there is no safe way to “mock” tie or safely cross-tie your horse. If your horse has not had bodywork before, I take extra care to incorporate training time for them to understand and process the experience. 

Post-session I instruct you on a few techniques such as owner massage or mobilizations that help maintain the benefits of the bodywork between professional sessions, and follow up with an emailed report detailing observations that include visual diagrams and recommended exercises to assist your horse in achieving optimal biomechanics. A maintenance schedule may be recommended depending on your goals and the horse’s needs.

Dynamic simply means “in motion.” I assess your horse’s movement during an in-hand walk & trot from the front, back and both sides, and prefer to observe your horse on either a lunge line or round pen to see all gaits and transitions. For a detailed assessment, I will observe your horse in all three gaits as well as under-saddle.  Static is “not in motion.” I observe posture, assess symmetry, balance, palpate soft tissue, check spinal mobility and range of motion in both the spine and limbs, and check for sensitivity in muscles, joints or focal points. I use this information to tailor an individual bodywork session for your horse.

Yes! While there are anatomical differences between breeds of horses and even within the same breed (such as the number of vertebrae they may have), and workload on specific muscle groups or structures may be different depending on their discipline, my job is to understand how theses variables impact YOUR horse and the demands YOUR sport places on them. Each session is tailored to the specific needs of your horse and your goals. Every horse deserves to feel and perform at their best!

Please schedule your horse’s session during a day free of other procedures (i.e. dental, immunizations, worming, farrier work, etc.), and not too close to a meal, turnout or riding time. Weather conditions and shelter availability may impact the time of day a session can be done. 

If your horse is competing, a session should not be scheduled too close to show day.  Schedule a minimum of 3 days prior to a show.

Please complete and return the history form emailed prior to your appointment so it can be reviewed beforehand.

Please plan to have a handler who knows the horse well be present for your horse’s initial session, able to jog the horse out and hold the horse if necessary. 

Please ensure there are no contraindications on the day of the session. (See FAQ’s WHEN SHOULD MY HORSE NOT RECEIVE BODYWORK?.)

This is completely individualized depending on the horse, their needs, discipline, sensitivity, workload, age, conditioning, etc. Some horses could benefit from a few weekly or bi-weekly sessions to start and then move to a monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly maintenance plan. Top performance horses benefit from bi-weekly sessions. After your horse’s initial assessment and session, I recommend a maintenance plan based on a variety of these factors. Your feedback after a session is key to establishing the best plan for your horse. Bodywork is an essential component to your horse’s wellness plan. It identifies new issues early so you can be proactive, keeps your horse performing optimally, and maintains top level conditioning.

Session Prep

If your horse has contraindications to massage (See WHEN SHOULD MY HORSE NOT RECEIVE BODYWORK?), please get bodywork cleared by your vet prior to scheduling a session.

If your horse is to be worked on the day of the session, please do so prior to our appointment with enough time in between to allow the horse to eat, drink, and rest before their session.

Please have any blankets, wraps or bell boots removed prior to the session and make sure the horse is clean and dry. 

Please do not plan to feed your horse treats or distract them during the session. They need to be able to process what they are experiencing and connect with Shana.

For best results, hand walk your horse for a minimum of 10 – 20 minutes within 2 hours after the session. A light hack is also okay, but no hard work or exercise should be done, and it’s even best to plan for a lighter ride the following day. This gives your horse’s body an opportunity to process and respond to the changes in movement after work has been done. Turnout is encouraged!

Hydrate! Ensure that your horse has plenty of water available to them as they may be more thirsty than normal after a session. Just like humans, they need more water after bodywork to rehydrate muscles.

Pease send an update and let us know how your horse is feeling following their session. I really appreciate the feedback and want to hear about the positive changes you and your horse will experience!

If your horse is to be worked on the day of the session, please do so prior to our appointment with enough time in between to allow the horse to eat, drink, and rest before their session.

Please have any blankets, wraps or bell boots removed prior to the session and make sure the horse is clean and dry. 

Please do not plan to feed your horse treats or distract them during the session. They need to be able to process what they are experiencing and connect with Shana.

It is best to just hand walk your horse within two hours of bodywork, or keep any riding to a light hack, but not a workout, with a lighter workload the following day. Particularly with deep work, this allows your horse’s body to acclimate and respond to the positive changes that have been made. Immediately after a session the horse’s muscles have been released, relaxed and stretched which can alter their stride and alter what you might expect in a more intense workout, which requires muscles to be activated and “turned on.” It would be like us running a marathon right after a nice massage and time in the sauna. Giving them this time to acclimate will enhance the benefits of the work and give you a horse who is moving and flowing more smoothly than before.

Contraindications are circumstances in which a horse should not receive bodywork. These can include lameness, signs of illness, elevated temperature and/or respiration rate, pulse, heat or swelling, colic, tying up, excessively loose stool, hives, some skin conditions, neurologic disorders, cancer or certain stages of pregnancy. Bodywork should not be performed the same day as vaccines, injections, dentals, surgery, or other procedures.
Any contraindications must be cleared by a veterinarian before I am able to work with your horse. In the case of lameness, if your horse presents as lame in the assessment and has not been cleared for bodywork prior, I cannot continue with the session. Please reach out to me or your vet with any questions or concern. I am happy to answer any questions and help with a plan to move forward!

Important: Shana is unable to diagnose any condition or unsoundness, treat an illness, or give medical advice. I cannot work on a lame horse, or one currently being treated for another condition without prior consent of the treating veterinarian to confirm there is no contraindication to massage. Only a vet can diagnose! (But I do love to work with your vet for the best outcomes.) Please make sure your vet has cleared your horse to receive bodywork.

*Bodywork is not a substitute for veterinary care but is a great addition to your wellness protocol to achieve optimal well-being and performance for your horse.

Payment is due at the time of the session via check, cash or Venmo, but it is not necessary to pre-pay.  From time to time, I may run package specials that would require pre-payment to receive the discounted offer.

Please allow a minimum of 24 hours’ notice for a no-charge cancellation.  Otherwise, you will be charged for the total session with an opportunity to reschedule.

About Me FAQ's

I received my Equine Bodyworker Ceritification through Equinology, one of the few insitutes that is RACE approved (American Association of Veterinary State Board’s Registry of Approved Continuing Education). I also keep up with continuing education and attend a variety of different courses and seminars. See my about page for more details.

SRC Equine Bodywork services the Treasure Valley and all of Southern Idaho as well as Utah from Tremonton to Spanish Fork.  A travel fee may be charged for service outside of a 30-mile radius from Boise, but may also be waived if 5 or more horses are scheduled on the same day.