TTouch Massage Case Study
By Larissa Chapman
Grooming and Care Advice
12 June 2012 09:53
Sam and Prince’s story
Samantha has been using TTouch massage on her horse, Prince, and she can really see the benefits. Here, she tells Your Horse her story
Background: how I came across TTouch
I actually got into t-touch because our vet recommended it for our dog George. George was terrified of fireworks, any loud bangs, and sometimes refused to go out for walks if it looked like it might rain and both of our dogs were dreadful in the car. We were going away on holiday with the dogs to the New Forest so we knew we had to sort it out before then.
We enlisted the help of a practitioner called Hayley who came over to the house for several weeks and did t-touch on the dogs in two hour sessions, she also did t-team, which is groundwork to give dogs a greater sense of their own bodies, limitations etc. She taught me to do t-touch and t-team. She also said that these techniques could be used on any animal or human! Anything with a nervous system would benefit. At the end of the weeks it had worked wonders on the dogs, and we had the best holiday.
Horses and TTouch: my personal experience
I was riding at local stables around the time I was using t-touch on the dogs and there was a yearling there who was TERRIFIED of everything. He’d not be handled much, so I used two t-touch touches on him…the circles, and the cow-lick – the book explains each. This worked a treat and showed that all he really needed was the gentle reassurance that t-touch provides. He’s now used in the school and is very gentle and kind.
Prince and his ‘issues’
Scroll forward a year and I came across the gorgeous Prince (Mr P as we call him)! He was a case of more poor treatment at the hands of humans. I’ve used t-touch and shiatsu on Mr P since I met him, and now I own him, he gets it twice a day, every single day. In fact, he comes and asks for it, presenting the bits he wants done in that session…usually his hind legs, but also his tummy, chest, withers, and sometimes, his face.
The biggest problem with Mr P is his feet and his reluctance to have his feet seen to by the farrier. To deal with this, I started with t-touch (there’s a movement you can do on the legs called ‘leg lifts’), and shiatsu ‘leg swipes’. I also introduced clicker-style training to get him used to having his feet picked up.
Mr P was very lame when I bought him, so I put him on cortaflex, linseed, biotin, seaweed, and a mixture of herbs to ease pain and inflammation - these things also made it easier for him to have his legs handled.
He’s still not great with the farrier, but he’s had his front hooves rasped twice now, and we’re working on his hinds. Mr P is no longer terrified and having a fantastically kind and patient farrier (Andy Thomson) was the final ingredient in dealing with the issue. I know we’re close to getting all four done at once soon.
To build Mr P up after lameness, I walked him five days a week and created a little assault course of things for him to slowly walk over, round, etc. In effect, I did t-team groundwork with him. It’s helped him to place his feet correctly, to find his balance, and to know his limitations.
Aside of no longer being a shambling wreck, terrified of the farrier as he was last June, perhaps the very best thing that t-touch, t-team groundwork, herbs and shiatsu have done for Mr P is to give him back his confidence. He’s genuinely taller and more proud after Andy’s been and seen to his feet. People like to conquer their fears, so why shouldn’t horses?
I use t-touch on all the horses I encounter now and they all seem to love it, I believe that massage is a great way to bond with your horse and build his confidence.
Hayley Price is our t-touch therapist – she worked on our dogs and advised me on how to work on horses: http://www.ttouchnorth.co.uk/about_ttouch_north.htm
UK homepage for t-touch and t-team: http://www.ttouchtteam.co.uk/