I first started riding at 5, after having the opportunity to sit on a pony at pre-school. Since then, I’ve tried to suck up any bit of knowledge to be had while hanging around various barns. While firmly in the “amateur” category, I have ridden dressage, three day eventing and endurance, and have always had a strong interest in conditioning my equine partners. My theory has always been how to best prepare my horses to carry me around, despite my riding imbalances!
How did I end up in equine structural integration? Over the years, I received massage and chiropractic work to deal with wear and tear on my body, including two knee surgeries. While the results were good, they were not long lived. Through my circle of riding friends, I was introduced to a Rolfing practitioner, and decided to give it a try. My experience receiving a series was so dramatic, and with lasting results, it drove me to consider the possibilities of structural integration on horses. I own a Canadian/Morgan gelding, Chevy, who had suffered an injury years prior that several vets were unable to diagnose and resolve. Four years of life as a pasture puff and guarding the old injury site left him with very atrophied quarters on one side. I wondered, could structural integration be the answer?
Through browsing online, I found equine structural integration existed, and enrolled at the Equine Natural Movement School in Battle Ground, Washington. Through my structural integration training, careful slow conditioning, focused exercises to help retrain new movement patterns, and the help of my vet and farrier team, Chevy returned to a riding career and is happy in his job as a therapy horse in Kamloops.
If it seems like I’ve “drank the Kool-Aid”… I understand! This adventure into structural integration was a happy accident that has positively benefited my health and riding immensely. With such a powerful personal experience, it turned into an endeavor intended to help my own horses, but I’ve found the results so convincing and the process so rewarding that I’m hooked. In addition to my other career as a correctional officer, I also continue to bring along my 13.2h Andalusian/POAx, Gwynnie.