by Kathleen Rossi of Integrated Equine
Flipping through the pages of any equine catalog, you’ll notice a plethora of therapy products.
Liniments, wraps, boots, magnets, supplements, massagers, fairy dust, ice packs and hollow promises all suggesting THEIR product will help your performance horse.
How are you to chose: Brand endorsement? Color assortment? Newly improved? Horse-approved? It’s tiring to say the least. I know at one time or another I’ve found myself sarcastically asking, “which product should I waste my money on today?” I bet you can relate!
The EquiVibe plate however, stands alone. It’s a low profile platform run by electricity that vibrates at different speeds. When a horse stands on this platform he receives benefit from the vibration – stimulating bones, muscles and nerves, thus supporting performance, rehabilitation and helping to prevent injury.
My personal mission statement at IntegratedEquine.net is:
To teach relationship building between horse and human and to develop an intimate understanding of horse psychology and physiology through progressive horse keeping.
The reason I am passionate about sharing the benefits of EquiVibe whole body vibration specifically, is because it’s been a valuable and reliable form of therapeutic support, not only my own horses (and Heather’s), but the world’s most winningest horses, and can be for your equine partners as well!
When we’re trying to condition a performance horse, or simply keep their wellness at a maintenance level, we should have certain expectations from the start. Riding your horses and feeding them hay, for example, is NOT enough to sustain an athlete, let alone win. But if their conditioning routine was thorough and included: stretching, muscle building, toxin ridding, fascia releasing, and mentally stimulating components then you would probably be the one to beat.
One of our favorite types of therapy also happens to be one of the most proven therapies for helping horses.
Whole Body Vibration Therapy is non-invasive, side-affect free and enjoyable for horses. WBV helps with overall circulation, enhances bone density, activates dormant muscle groups, accelerates healing and provides relaxation to horses and humans alike.
EquiVibe’s webpage says, “A mechanical wave enhances gravity. We have gravity that pulls us down into the earth and we have ground reaction force. Whole Body Vertical Vibration, if properly mechanically designed, like the EquiVibe, gives us vertical hits of the same kind of thing from the bottom up. Therefore, if we are caught in the middle, which the body is – between gravity and the whole body vertical vibration machine, we also realize the benefits we are getting from the load of gravity, from the ability of the gravity to stimulate our bones, stimulate our muscles, and stimulate our nerves, which becomes a very, very powerful resource.
Using an EquiVibe is fairly simple. While properly positioned, the entire body vibrates due to the frequency of the platform, which causes the muscles to contract and stretch in order to sustain balance. These natural reflexes are involuntary and happen very rapidly, much like the human knee jerk reaction tested by doctors.
Depending on level of fitness or rehab, the duration and frequency of use will vary. Before when a horse exercised they might be using 40% of their muscles, with EquiVibe they are using nearly 100% of their muscles. Some muscles they may have never used before.
One of the immediate effects of Whole Body Vibration (WBV) is improved circulation of both blood and lymph. Anything that can improve circulation is of significant benefit to the equine athlete. Increased blood flow improves oxygenation of the tissues, removal of toxins and metabolic waste, and enhances the body’s ability to heal itself, drug free.”
EquiVibe has had many accounts of nothing less than miracles occurring with proper application of their machine. Bowed tendons, soft tissue injuries, viral diseases, stiffness, and hoof problems are just a few of the ailments that have been resolved with this type of therapy.
By properly and gently ‘warming up’ a horse to accept the EquiVibe plate first (a process I went into detail on here), it prepares the horse to receive the greatest possible benefit while on the vibration plate.
I can personally attest to how vibration has helped. In this post I shared how the temperature was reduced in my barrel horse’s fetlocks, the temperature increased in the hoof capsule, and the size of his fetlocks decreased in just one session. By ten vibration sessions later, his muscles began to fill in and appear less rigid as the fascia finally relaxed beneath the skin.
Below are images of my gelding’s tendon after diagnosis of a previous major tendon injury (which had occurred before I bought him), then AFTER four months of EquiVibe therapy – a rehabilitation progress I went into more detail on in How to Resolve a Major Tendon Injury.
If you have any questions about how whole body vibration can benefit your horse, I’d be happy to help!
Please click here to email me if you think your horse can benefit from an EquiVibe plate, or call Randy with EquiVibe at 1-866-858-9481 and let him know you read my post (Kathleen from Integrated Equine) and he can help too!
If you aren’t in the market for a platform or near someone who provides EquiVibe whole body vibration at their facility, consider IceVibe boots. They’re an economical alternative, and although they don’t actually provide whole body vibration, they’re effective and surprisingly powerful. I’ve had them in my therapeutic arsenal for a while and they don’t disappoint.
To learn even more about EquiVibe and get the most out of WBV therapy, follow the links below:
- EquiVibe Frequently Asked Questions and Winners Circle
- Good Vibrations II – Introducing the EquiVibe Plate to a Horse
- Good Vibrations III – EquiVibe Therapy Sessions for Horses
- How to Resolve a Major Tendon Injury
Visit Kathleen’s website to receive her “Three Key Components to Becoming an Equine Expert” mini e-book when you join the Integrated Equine Network!
by Kathleen Rossi of Integrated Equine
Start where you are and finish where you want to be.
What costs nothing, but gives a huge return on effort invested?
What’s accessible to everyone and doable by anyone?
What will benefit your health, your horse, and your riding?
Consistent, intentional movement that gently pushes you outside your comfort zone will expand what you’re capable of as a jockey. And if you secretly know that YOU or your horse is ready to get fast (and stay fast) this post is packed full of practical advice on how to get there.
If you aren’t doing this right, you aren’t doing anything right…
Here’s the thing… I’m just as guilty as anybody. I hunch in front of my phone or computer screen and look for ‘fit-spiration’ on Pinterest while eating left over pizza. If that isn’t an oxymoron I don’t know what is.
But the good news is I’m proof you don’t have to be a complete healthy nut, hemp seed eating freak to win on the barrel pattern. If you simply know how to sit or stand up straight then the odds are in your favor – because most people don’t even realize just how important POSTURE is.
In barrel racing, we’re not judged on how well we can “sit pretty.”
But it’s critical that we don’t adopt a clock as clock can attitude, either.
This is because HOW we get across the timer line matters. It matters most, to our horses.
After growing up dabbling in 4-H, I learned that a “good rider” was one who kept their toes in, heels down, seat glued to the saddle, and had straight shoulder/hip/heel alignment.
However, learning to hold a particular posture in the saddle so we LOOK like a good rider is no substitute for actually becoming one.
In fact, if we don’t intentionally learn to “go with the flow” and ride with fluidity (even at speed), no amount of equitation lessons will help us if we don’t also have THE FEEL.
The LOOK alone will never be enough in a sport that requires so much quickness, balance, timing and athleticism from horse and human alike.
Outside of appearances, a lot of us aren’t guiding our horses as effectively as we could – not necessarily because we haven’t yet followed through with that fitness program, or because we’re not athletic enough, but because we’re always, just ever so slightly out of position.
While some of the changes we’re after in our horses and ourselves will require time and commitment, today I wanted to lighten the load a bit and share a LONG list of “quick tips” that have the power to turn a less than stellar run into a winning one, in a literal instant.
by Kathleen Rossi of Integrated Equine.
Chances are, you are reading this and already own a seasoned barrel horse. So what does it matter if he likes to be haltered or not?
Simply put it: it is a matter of relationship and response. The better your relationship with your horse the better (and quicker) his response will be when running the barrel pattern.
If your horse can yield his thoughts and body when doing the simplest things like haltering, he’s more likely to be supple when you ride as well.
Cheating your horse a course in basic horsemanship just because he is a natural talent is really cheating yourself of the fullness of what you can offer each other. A horse that doesn’t greet you, look at you, or acknowledge you when you approach him, should be the first signs of feedback that your first initial point of contact is broken.
If your spouse greeted you with flowers and a smile every day after work, you would always be happy to see them! The same is true with our horses. Haltering is the first chance we have to make an impression on them, and will help write the intention of the rest of our training session with them.
Haltering is the Gateway Drug…
I’m a starfisher and I’m NOT proud.
You read right. Thanks to the attention this unflattering position has gotten lately, most of us are familiar with the spread eagle, daylighting moments captured on camera in the midst of an intense barrel racing run.
Of course there are the critics saying that it’s an indicator of poor riding, or less than stellar horsemanship, and that it’s damaging to the horse – all of which I can’t say I disagree with.
Then there are the “starfishing proud” folks, making it seem as though it’s a good thing, necessary, cool, or that it’s fun to do it on purpose – as if the more radical, the better!?
I on the other hand, don’t claim either camp, and here’s why…
The TRUTH about high-level barrel racing is that it’s not always going to be perfect and pretty. Some of the best, most competitive horses are not necessarily easy or smooth to ride.
There is SO MUCH to learn from photos, and while they may tell us a lot – they never quite tell the whole story. If we want to get really critical and look at every aspect of a winning run with a microscope, we WILL see at least minute moments of disharmony in what otherwise seems to be a correct and fluid, fast run when viewed with the naked eye as a whole. Read more… »
One of the first memories I have relating to finances was thinking I would never be able to go to college because “we didn’t have the money.”
But that was a lie. Well, part of it…
It’s true that my family didn’t seem to have enough funds to meet even our most basic needs at times when I was growing up. It was the way of thinking I inherited as a youngster (and later changed) that was drastically inaccurate.
I DID go to college and get a degree in Veterinary Technology, albeit on my own dime. Whether I continued to assume that my life was doomed – OR that I could or couldn’t influence my future, was up to me.
Today there are a lot of adults still not living their barrel racing dreams because they have no hope – believing that being a professional barrel racer is only for people with “a lot of money.” Today, let’s blow that false belief outta the water too, shall we?
I won’t argue that making a run for the NFR for example, does indeed require hefty financial backing (see below for actual examples). But if barrel racing professionally is your goal, it’s time to get real and get busy creating the strong financial foundation to support it.
by Kathleen Rossi of Integrated Equine
For some of us, horse care might take on an ancient algorithm.
It seems that one person can glean results from a certain process or product, and the next minute – another lady is suggesting you stay far away from what the first person had success with. Opinions and traditions are enough to make your head spin.
Equine dental care includes a lot of “buzz” when it comes to choosing one method or another. However, there is one scientifically proven way that works for every horse. The crazy thing is that the “buzz” about this procedure has NO buzz at all.
When it comes to improving the health and performance of an equine athlete, considering whether we should implement a detox program is more a matter of HOW and WHEN vs. IF.
Today more than ever, performance horses especially are assaulted with a barrage of toxins from their environment, feed and medications, and it’s no coincidence that Veterinarians are seeing an increase in many disease conditions. Allergies, arthritis, metabolic disorders and even cancer are becoming more common and occurring earlier in age than in years past.
Back in the day, horse care and feeding programs were pretty simple. Old timers might even say that “ol’ Sorrely didn’t need all that stuff.” There could actually be some wisdom and truth in that statement! While the competition today is also tougher than ever – what performance horses didn’t need back then, and don’t need now are toxins that come along with the many tempting well-marketed options for supporting them. As we’ve evolved and our choices have grown, symptoms of the “body burden” our equine partners experience has risen as well.
When a horse’s system is already overwhelmed with toxins, it’s especially important that we know how to read the signs and take appropriate action to avoid a game of “chasing symptoms” which often includes adding even more toxic substances, further exacerbating the problem.