This morning I spent some time with Tex.
We started by working on trailer loading. When Brett bought him four years ago, he was reluctant to load. But Brett used him regularly for trail rides and cattle work, and Tex got comfortable with the whole loading thing. But, he balked going to, and coming home from, the clinic last weekend. I've started working on this too -- I lead him to the trailer on a loose line and if he stops we back. I'm not forceful about it, but I am firm. Then we go forward again - which is much more relaxed. We practiced Thursday after I got home from work and we worked on it until he had loaded four times. After each successful time, I let him hand-graze next to the trailer for a few minutes. Today he loaded on the second try.
After a thorough grooming session, which he is enjoying more and more, I took him up to the dressage court. We reviewed having him line himself up at the mounting block and then I lunged him a bit. He offered some lovely trot; soft and fluid. When I do start riding him again, I'm going to have to make sure we figure out what makes him worry and brace.
Last, I took him back to the tie rail area and worked on him using the Masterson releases I've learned so far. I haven't completed the course yet -- I'm a little more than half way through.
I again started with the liver Meridian release and noted that pretty much all his tension is held in his neck and withers area. Excellent since I know most of the releases for those areas. The goal of the Masterson Method of massage is to alleviate soreness, strain and tension. The horse is an active participant in the process. After applying a technique, it is important to step away from the horse and let them process and give the release. Some horses lick and chew (Tex), some yawn (Lucy) and some shake.
After the liver Meridian, I work on the neck. This involves bending the horse's neck around, like you would in a carrot stretch, but in small increments as you move along each vertebrae. You also incorporate some gently movement at each step, to loosen the joint.
Next, is a head release. Lucy hates this one; she is very protective of her ears and doesn't like me messing around up there. She's getting better -- I only ask for a little bit. I thought Tex would resist as well, given how head shy he is, but he was actually much better than Lucy. He dropped his head for me and released.
Last, I worked on his shoulder blades. This involves three different techniques to release the scapula and the C7-T1 junction.
I still need to learn the how to work on the withers, the hind and the back.
The releases are difficult to describe in a blog and you really need to get the book or take the course (which is online and involves the book plus instructional videos). I think both this method and TTouch are good. The important thing is to find a method that you are comfortable using. For whatever reason, this method is a better fit with me.