New: Laser therapy!

I am very excited to announce that I am now offering Class IV laser therapy under Dr. Jewell of Heartland Vet! Dr. Jewell has been seeing the benefits of laser therapy for a couple of years now from owning the only portable laser of its kind in Kelowna. Equines as well as any companion animal (and humans!) can receive relief from a variety of conditions including (but not limited to):
– Arthritis
– Acute conditions
– Wounds/infections
– Sprains, strains, fractures
– Post-surgical pain relief
– Tendonitis

Laser therapy is easy, non-invasive and helps the body to heal itself quickly. Circulation is increased, nerves are stimulated for regeneration, and cells energized for tissue repair.

Contact me to book an appointment or with any questions about the laser. Cost will vary depending on treatment area.

*Some cases may require a veterinary consult beforehand to ensure laser is an appropriate treatment tool*

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I, for one, am excited to move forward into 2016! I eagerly await new learning opportunities, to further expand my business, and to help as many horses and owners as possible.
I have begun furthering my education on saddle fit, which is something that has grown to be a true passion of mine over the last few years. I feel like there is a true lack of knowledge in the industry, and the more professionals with this expertise, the better! Saddle fit is something every horse owner encounters at one point or another. This is very much a modality that is constantly undergoing research, and new technology for saddle fit, pads, etc is always being released. Of course, like many things in this life, marketing is hugely influential in the saddle industry. This combined with the trends that arise, and many riders that want to be wearing and using the “pretty” new tack that everybody else has, can negatively affect their horse and riding if improperly fitted. I personally have noticed this trend, and although many riders and owners do everything in their power to do best by their horses, how are we supposed to do better until we know better? It is easy to be swayed by flashy marketing campaigns, and saddle pads are the #1 most purchased item in the tack world. Without proper education about horse structure and movement, many saddles and accessories may look nice, and fit ourselves great, but could be potentially detrimental to our equine partners.

After much research and consideration, I am pleased to be partnering with two companies that are truly in the business of keeping horses healthy and comfortable: Thinline Global and Schleese Saddlery (Saddlefit 4 Life). I will be selling Thinline pads to clients to help improve saddle fit and comfort for horse and rider (blog post to come for this). I will be continuing to learn from Jochen Schleese and associates in the coming months to be able to offer even more in depth saddle-fitting services. I am beyond excited to share new information with you all and to be working alongside passionate individuals like Jochen, who has been creating better saddle fit for over 30 years!

Hope everyone’s New Year is off to a great start! Now go outside and play in that beautiful fresh new snow with your horse! 🙂


New Muscle Monday – #6 Transverse Abdominal


NAME: Transverse Abdominal

ORIGIN: Transverse processes of the lumbar vertebrae

INSERTION: Xiphoid Cartilage

ACTION: Compress abdomen

OTHER INFORMATION: This large muscle overlaps two other major muscles that also support the horse’s topline: the external abdominal oblique and the internal abdominal oblique. When working on this muscle you are also affecting the others. We will look at these further on another blog post.

Doing ‘cookie tests’ and belly lifts will help determine how well this muscle is functioning in your horse. Not sure what those are? I will explain below.

If your horse is lacking topline, this is one of the muscles that needs to be strengthened. Polework, cavelleti, and hillwork will be your best friends for that! Don’t forget to check your saddle fit or have someone qualified to check it for you – an ill-fitting saddle or incorrect cinching can damage this muscle (as well as the other abdominal muscles).

transabdom2        transabdom3

To perform a cookie test, stand to one side and have your horse reach around with their head as you hold a cookie just out of reach – ideally, a horse should be able to reach around to their hipbone area without difficulty. If they cannot reach that far, or can only do so by tilting their head and twisting their neck, or just want to move their feet to get the treat, the transverse or other abdominal muscles may need to be addressed. Do both sides and see if one is better than another (likely there will be a ‘worse’ side).

To perform a belly lift, use your fingers or a blunt object and run them down the midline of your horse’s belly. A normal reaction will be for them to ‘suck’ in their belly muscles and lift up their back noticeably. If there is no such reaction, or you get an overreaction (an irritated horse, pinned ears, tail swishing, moving etc), then you know there may need to be some work in this area. If an irritated response is consistent with your horse, please consult the help of a certified therapist or vet who can help identify the source of pain.
It is common for stallions to not have much of a belly lift response.


New Muscle Monday #5 – Semitendonous and Biceps Femoris

Ready for a two in one doozy today?? I figured we may as well do the Semitendonous and the Biceps Femoris together, as they (along with the semimembranous) make up the horse’s hamstring group!! This powerhouse group of muscles is very important to the horse – follow along to see just how they affect our equines.




ORIGIN: Gluteal Fascia, Ishium

INSERTION: Lateral Femur, Cranial border of tibia, Calcaneal Tuberosity

ACTION: Extend and abduct limb

This muscle affects the stifle and the rest of the lower limb so if problems arise in these areas, chances are the biceps femoris is involved. This very powerful muscle is easily felt and massaged under the fascia. Remember that to ‘abduct’ means to bring away from the body – this muscle’s job is to extend and abduct the hindlimb.





ORIGIN: Caudal sacrum, CD 1 & 2, ishitic tuberosity

INSERTION: Tibia, Calcaneal tuberosity (point of hock)

ACTION: Extend hip and hock, flexes stifle

The semitendonous is the muscle I mentioned last week, not to be confused with the inner Semimembranous muscle. Part of where it originates from, the ishitic tuberosity, is what humans sit on when we ride.
A common injury with this muscle is Fibrotic Myopathy (or Myositis Ossificans). This is when a muscle is torn, commonly from trauma, and ossification occurs when the tissue heals. In acute cases, the injury site is warm and painful when palpated. Chronic cases show a gait abnormality that is no longer painful, with the affected leg demonstrating a hoof-slapping motion. This is usually most evident at a walk. Here is a youtube video to show you.

The hamstring group (biceps femoris, semitendonous, semimembranous) are also linked/affected by the horse’s colon. Coming from a chinese medicine viewpoint, if your horse is experiencing issues with digestion or any/all of the above muscles, chances are they are linked and treatment options should reflect this.


New Muscle Monday #4 – Semimembranous

My apologies for the delay in getting a New Muscle Monday post up again! We’ll be concentrating on the hind end for the next few posts. Enjoy!


NAME: Semimembranous

ORIGIN: Ishium

INSERTION: Medial border of the femur

ACTION: This muscle is a retractor of the hind limb. It extends the hip and adducts the limb.

OTHER INFO: The semimembranous is a powerful muscle of the hind end and is the inner, more sensitive muscle that could be confused with the Semitendonous (another retractor muscle that runs from the hock to the sacrum).
Careful when palpating this muscle as not all horses appreciate hands in this area 🙂
Some horses surprisingly enjoy massage to this muscle – this often helps horses who seem to be moving narrow behind (not necessarily those horses who are base narrow in conformation). Once this major muscle can relax, the horse can resume a normal gait.

New Muscle Monday #3 – Middle Gluteal

Happy dreary Monday, everyone! I hope everyone had a good weekend, despite the gloomier weather around here lately. Up next for New Muscle Monday is a very important driving muscle of the hind!

NAME: Middle Gluteal

ACTION: Retract the limb and extend the hip.

The Middle Gluteal is a major retractor muscle of the hind end and commonly mistaken as one of the three hamstrings (which are the semitendonous, semimembranous, and biceps femoris).

AFFECTED BY: This massive muscle has a lot of jobs, including being the force behind a backwards kick, forwarding momentum over the hind legs, and also for rearing. Issues in this muscle may keep a horse from extending his hind leg(s) fully, just as if you had tennis elbow and couldn’t use your arm normally.
The middle gluteal is also a muscle that should be examined (among other things) when a horse is showing a ‘hunter’s bump’ (when the sacrotuberous ligament becomes raised and creates a noticeable ‘bump’). See here for an example.

OTHER INFO: For the keeners of anatomy out there, this muscle originates from the gluteal fascia and inserts at the greater trochanter of the femur.
The middle gluteal muscle is linked with the Pericaridum meridian (which also goes by the names Heart Constrictor or Circulation/Sex Meridians) and an imbalance of this meridian can negatively affect it. Some signs of an imbalanced pericardium meridian include: respiratory and heart conditions, anxiety, and problems involving the forelegs and forefeet.


Most horses love the middle gluteal area to be masssaged/worked on. I often find this muscle to be extra tight in horses in disciplines such as jumping and dressage, where the horses rely on it moreso than say a pleasure horse would. It is not a superficial muscle, so when massaging it you are also working on the superficial gluteal and the fascia layers.

Any questions or comments are always welcome 🙂 Til next week!