I haven’t blogged for quite some time, purely due to having needed to focus my full brain power on my studies, passing my exams and then getting started with my new business! With my brain full to bursting, I was keen to make sure I utilised my knowledge and enthusiasm by getting straight out to work on some horses, this time as a ‘proper’ qualified Equine Massage Therapist!
Booking in appointments, organising therapy record paperwork, invoices and dealing with money has been very strange. I can honestly say I really don’t do it for the money…though I do need to justify my drop in wages from the reduced hours at my 2nd job!!
But the massage sessions themselves have been fantastic – now that I am working for myself rather than for an assessor, I feel more confident to learn from my OWN experience and plan sessions according to MY feel and preferences, whilst still keeping the techniques and theory I have learned firmly in my mind.
Every massage I do, I can feel my own ‘style’ starting to develop, I see what works for both the horse and for my hands, and work accordingly. No massage is ever the same – whilst the techniques are set, the order, pressure, time, speed and technique selection are always completely individual. I can even feel the strength in my fingers, hands and arms increasing with each one!
I give the option of having a selection of relaxing music playing in the background, which I find does relax the horses as per the research I have read. Repeating gentle melodies and rhythms have been shown to lower heart rates and stress response – though I must say the same can be said for myself, so I’m always secretly pleased when music is opted for 😉.
I have had an increasing amount of positive response from my horse clients, especially when given the chance to massage more than once, enabling them to grow familiar with my presence and how it all works. Some have fallen asleep, legs even buckling a few times, some have adopted the most unusual standing postures to encourage me to work more deeply, some even help me out by having a good scratch with me over areas they’d like focus on! When I hit the right spot, releases are obvious through the behaviour, body and mainly through the facial and jaw responses of the horse. These sessions, where I am communicating directly and effectively with my massage subject, are by far the best for me, and I often come away with a huge smile on my face! I am also always amazed by how energy-sapped I will feel after an effective massage, where I have managed to become utterly in tune with the horse and large amounts of tension have been released.
Some horses appear oblivious to my presence and intention – they will fidget, forage incessantly or even become a bit agitated or irritable. Working with these horses is harder, since massage will have little or no benefit when horses are not relaxed and ready to process the work, and lack of feedback from them makes targeting areas of tension trickier. Though it is surprising how often there have been big improvements in way of going of such horses after a seemingly ineffective session – I do believe that for some, lowering those control barriers is difficult, so they prefer to keep up the appearance of disinterest or to distract themselves as much as possible. Often the benefits still seep through the cracks if I persevere very passively, even if their apparent lack of response tells a different story!
So my plan is to increase my client base gradually, and I have some new services in the pipeline and plenty of further education lined up for myself, which I hope will benefit any current and future clients positively.