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Holistic Horse Issue 113

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Felisa Holmberg

Is your horse in pain or does he have a physical imbalance in his body that keeps him from performing at full potential? What about your body? Whether it occurs in horses or humans, pain is an indication that the body is suffering, perhaps from an old injury, a lifetime of working too hard, or repetitive motion injuries. These injuries become adhesions in the Myofascial “or connective tissue.” Over time, the adhesions compress nerves and arteries and pull the body out of balance, causing a limited range of motion. When on your horse, if you are not sitting balanced you will cause imbalance in your horse’s body as well, affect your horses’ ability to perform, and may even be causing physical harm to your horse.

Our collective confined and sedentary lifestyles often limit our ability to function and move appropriately. Rolfing® Structural Integration (SI) has provided over 70 years of handson communication assisting people and animals to better function in their bodies.

Rolfing Structural Integration was developed in the early to mid-1950s by Ida Pauline Rolf (1896–1979) for the purpose of organizing the human structure in relationship with gravity. Rolfing SI releases adhesions in the fascia that restricts muscle function. The connective tissue supports the skeleton and soft tissues, positions the bones, determines the direction of muscle pull and movement, and gives the body its shape. A thin, elastic, semifluid membrane that envelops every muscle, bone, blood vessel, nerve, and organ, connective tissue plays an integral role in maintaining posture and proper movement.


Horses who spend their days in confined spaces lack the exercise and social interaction to help their bodies stretch and stay physically in shape. Being ridden or used hard, poorfitting gear, and an unbalanced rider, can also cause painful body issues. Rolfing SI can help identify where pain, tension, and compensation is taking place and assist in helping the horse balance its body as one modality addressing the whole connective tissue (fascia)
communication network.

Many body-working modalities have their origins in Rolfing SI, and many therapists have used Rolfing SI as a foundation to grow a deeper practice helping horses and humans since it focuses on the connection and communication of body, mind and emotions.

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