Stellar Equine Performance Therapy

Stellar Equine Performance Therapy Corrective bodywork, restoring balance and improving performance in equine athletes. Serving the upper midwest and east coast.

Just like humans, horses can injure muscles in a variety of ways. Horse Massage works by manipulating the soft tissue, compressing muscle fibers against bones and spreading those muscle fibers apart. Circulation is increased, helps to remove metabolic waste (lactic acid) and allows healthy nutrients back into the horse's muscles. Massage also releases endorphins which help to lower pain response. The biggest benefits of massage are prevention and improving athletic performance. Contact me today to see what I can do for you and your favorite equine athlete or friend! Trust me when I say they'll love you for it!



Too funny !!

Kaheeb & Newel

Kaheeb & Newel

Bromance. 😍🐴❤🐴





Wishing the absolute best of luck to Meaghan Burdick and Ferris as they get ready for the Ocala Jockey Club this week!!

Nothing structurally alarming with this gelding, just some general body soreness from the intensive training he’s been g...

Nothing structurally alarming with this gelding, just some general body soreness from the intensive training he’s been going through in prep for his 4* three day event this week. Can you guys see how he was sore and stuck down in his back? This tips the pelvis forward, braces the shoulders and pulls the base of the neck down which lifts the upper neck. Notice the lift in his back, drop in his neck and the angles of his shoulder and pelvis now! I love a good hardy horse that maintains health so easily, but they can always use a tune up to keep them feeling even better before a big event!!

Dressage Hub

Dressage Hub

How to train your dragon videos right here on DH!

Such a good example of a twisted thoracic sling! The internal musculature that suspends the scapula or shoulder blade to...

Such a good example of a twisted thoracic sling!
The internal musculature that suspends the scapula or shoulder blade to the ribcage on the right side was so restricted and tense that it was holding the shoulder in close and up high, limiting motion which then causes the horse to overload the left front and hold the base of the neck to the right to counter balance. Guess what else wasn’t dropping and rotating properly?? The right hip. Directly related to the overloading of the left front, things almost always connect diagonally!

JT Hoof Trimming & Horse Care

JT Hoof Trimming & Horse Care

What it looks like when horses are ridden with their heads pulled in too tight. Imagine that headache!!

“An increasing amount of scientific research shows that certain cells found in the connective tissues not only communica...
Fascia Acts as a Second Nervous System

“An increasing amount of scientific research shows that certain cells found in the connective tissues not only communicate directly with the nervous system, but can actually communicate with each other as well --- potentially over great distance.”

So what they’re saying is that there is a neuromuscular connection in the fascia just as there is in muscles 🤩🤯😍 confirms my thoughts on why addressing fascial planes and restrictions FIRST is priority over anything else in the body!

Research is showing that Fascia acts as its own Nervous System.

Stellar Equine Performance Therapy's cover photo

Stellar Equine Performance Therapy's cover photo

Bryony Burt Equine Osteopath

Bryony Burt Equine Osteopath


Do you carry out high intensity work with your horse? Racing, hunting, eventing and even showjumping (and the associated fitness work) are the prime examples - then respiratory coupling will be of interest to you. This is an obligatory coupling system where in the canter/ gallop the horse takes exactly one in-out breath precisely timed with one stride. It’s important because horses can only get so far in high intensity work on anaerobic metabolism (energy generated without additional oxygen from breathing - a short sprint), most will convert quickly to aerobic metabolism (where inhaled oxygen is used get energy out stores within the body) - so the health and functionality of this coupling system is important!

During high intensity work the horse relies completely on the efficiency of the respiratory-locomotor coupling system to effectively move the required volume of air in to and out of its lungs. This coupled action is the only way breathing happens in the canter/ gallop, and it happens thanks to a combination of factors - the action of the forelimbs and the motion of the abdominal contents (‘the visceral piston’). Inspiration happens during the suspension phase and expiration during the stance phase of the forelimbs.

As the forelimbs leave the ground move forward in the suspension phase, tension is released from the shoulder girdles and the unloaded rib cage expands drawing air into the lungs. Additionally as the horse moves more uphill to bring the hindlegs under the visceral contents shift backwards making more room for the lungs. Move to the stance phase and the loading of the forelimbs and tension of their muscle girdles facilitates compression of the rib cage between the weight bearing limbs to squeeze the air out of the lungs. In conjunction with this, as the forelimbs roll through their stance phase the horse is heading more onto the forehand, the abdominal contents shift forwards and actively force air out of the lungs.

So its easy to appreciate that dysfunction of this coupling is a limiting factor on ability to breath, thus exercise, therefore fitness potential and concurrently performance. So what do we need to consider to maximise our horses ventilation capacity? When a horse breaths in during exercise approximately 90% of the resistance is in the upper air ways of the head/ neck (nostrils/ nasal passages and larynx) - a topic in itself...but make sure you consider things like noseband tension and working head/ neck position.

Relative to respiratory coupling the exhalation seems to be the key limiting factor, with 55% of exhalation resistance shown to be due to the lower airways (within the lungs). When at the gallop, with less than 50% of the total stride available for expiration anyway we want to make sure we aim to maximise exhalation potential. Limiting exhalation can lead to hypercapnia (CO2 retention), acidosis and increased speed of muscle fatigue.

The main limiting factor to effective exhalation during respiratory coupling is the function of the forelimbs. Functional forelimb action can be effected by things like soundness, saddle fit and girth tension. For example unsound horses will not want to load the forelimbs evenly impacting the relative compression achieved between the forelimbs. Badly fitting saddles, and overly tight girth’s will limit expiration by decreasing the effectiveness of the muscles around the shoulder and chest that move the forelegs which is essential to the efficacy of the coupling action. Equally we shouldn’t ignore gut health, as the active back-forth motion of the guts is an essential part of the system, a horse with gastric distress (ulcers etc) may resist the natural action of guts at high speeds, increasing air movement resistance.

We want to do all we can to support the movement of air into and out of the lungs, and with as little effort for the horse as possible. This increases the amount of oxygen available for the muscles, delaying the onset of fatigue and increasing the horses capacity for exercise.

Super excited for this announcement!!!

Super excited for this announcement!!!

I am so excited to officially announce the formation of the Plain Bay Syndicate! This group has already enabled the purchase an amazing 5yr old, Dutch bred gelding from Fernhill Sporthorses that has some exciting plans for 2020 and beyond. I have learned how important it is to continually develop depth in ones string, and ones team. My hopes for this syndication are to continually give everyone one hell of a ride as we push to the top. Some truly incredible people have become a part of the Plain Bay Syndicate that will be an integral part of reaching my goals for the future! #Bringon2020 #PlainBaySyndicate

Happy Halloween!!!

Happy Halloween!!!

Are you following me on Instagram? If not, you’re missing out!

Are you following me on Instagram? If not, you’re missing out!

King Equine Osteopathy

King Equine Osteopathy

I often talk to clients about the importance of using techniques/exercises that engage the neurosensory/proprioceptive system in the rehabilitation of their horses. 🥕Carrot🥕 stretches are a great (and easy) way to do this and I’ve added in a few other helpful exercises as well.

⚫️ Reprogramming Dysfunctional Movement

The horse’s big, fleshy gymnastic muscles that engage as we school him are not the ones where habitual patterns, sometimes called “muscle memories,” are stored. Nor are they the ones responsible for joint and posture stability. In fact, they carry a low supply of nerves and therefore have a weak relationship with the horse’s neurosensory system. Working these muscles is not the fastest way to instate new patterns and habits.

Proprioceptors are the sensory receptors in muscles, joint capsules and surrounding tissues, that signal information to the central nervous system about position and movement of body parts. When patterns need to be changed or introduced, we must access the muscles close to the spine and around joints, that contain these proprioceptors. This means using exercises outside our regular training routines. Exercises that consist of finely controlled movements that access slow twitch muscles that have direct communication with the central nervous system.

🥕Carrot Stretches🥕🥕

Carrot stretches can measurably change the tone of a horse’s postural muscles when practiced at least five days per week. Three separate studies conducted by Michigan State University measured an enlargement of horses’ supporting back muscles by two centimeters when they practiced these movements daily for six weeks. This activation of spinal stabilizers equaled better symmetry and balance, more efficient movement, and in some cases alleviated pain that was affecting performance. These are an easy, effective way to activate dormant muscles.

❇️ Images showing the carrot stretches below

🔵 Tune Proprioception Using Different Surfaces

In a person that has had an ankle injury (strain/sprain/break), the proprioceptive feedback mechanism becomes less effective which then makes us more likely to reinjure that ankle. We prescribe exercises to regain proprioception such as - balancing on one foot, balancing on one foot with your eyes closed, standing on a less stable surface (rolled up towel or a wobble board), doing the same unstable surface again with your eyes closed, doing those exercises also standing on one foot and then with your eyes closed etc. We progressively make the exercises harder in order to create better neurosensory feedback.

For your horse, you can alternate the surfaces you ride on (firm ground, stony areas, uneven paddocks, sand, small jumps, drops, hills- as many as you can incorporate into the same ride) to create a better neurosensory feedback. Walking and trotting the horse through these surfaces causes his neuro-receptors to function rapidly. These adaptations help to improve overall motor-control.

🔵 Lateral Exercises

Lateral movements (either ridden or on the ground) at a walk can serve as a therapeutic treatment for poor postural condition in a horse’s hips and spine. Because they require a rearranging of neuromuscular coordination, these exercises improve proprioception of joints, tendons, and muscles. This produces better locomotion. Even in cases where lateral movements are not performed at a competition level, they still play a physiological development role. A few minutes of asking a horse to execute shoulder-in from the ground before riding, for example, activates the stifle joint and psoas muscles. It can mobilize the rib cage and pelvic stabilizers.

🔵 Pole Work

Patterns of ground poles are frequently used to rehabilitate horses from injury or to correct neurological conditions owing to their role in altering a horse’s patterned movement and recruiting stabilizing muscles. Ground poles tune up the horse’s sensory nerves by making him more aware of where his feet are. This creates better reaction and agility, muscular coordination, and lighter movement in the front end. Also, as the horse takes measured strides with distances set by poles, he corrects gait irregularities and poor rhythm.

🔴 Adding any of the above into your weekly riding routines will help fast track your horses’ musculoskeletal stability, balance, spatial awareness and overall muscle tone.



Farm Dog Level: Expert



i can't look 🙈

David van den Broek Farriers


In order of appearance:

The deep flexor is pulled out of the collar formed for it by the superficial flexor.

The superficial flexor is held in place at the fetlock by the palmer annular ligament (that extra flap of white tissue).

You can see the subtarsal check ligament on this hind limb deep flexor, so much smaller and less significant than in the forelimb.

Then you see the carefully dissected distal sesamoidean ligaments (before they're dissected they're just a mass of tissue).

First the straight or long distal sesamoidean ligament which has been cut at the bottom.

Second the two branches of the oblique distal sesamoidean ligament which has been cut at the top.

Third the diagonal strands of the cruciate ligament nestled deep below.

QH Congress!!

I'll be at the Quarter Horse Congress 10/17 to 10/20! Please reach out to me if we haven't already chatted about bodywork appointments as my schedule is extremely limited! Safe travels and BEST of luck to everyone going! And don't forget to have yourself some bourbon chicken 🤤

Rieducazione posturale del cavallo

Interesting 🤔 Notice how much the back changes when the neck is fixed!


Uno dei più comuni errori commessi quando si monta, e che funziona a far assumere brutte posture ai cavalli, riguarda l'uso delle mani. La mano, infatti, agisce su tutta la dorsale del cavallo, e può modificarne forma e funzioni. Dobbiamo partire, come punto di riferimento, dal movimento naturale dell'incollatura del cavallo, che naturalmente non è che il prosieguo del movimento dorsale, lombare e delle anche. Questa incollatura, come sappiamo bene, fa dei movimenti, nelle andature basculate, che hanno la specifica funzione, e conseguenza, di far deambulare il cavallo come Natura gli ha imposto, nell'ovvio rispetto della sua salute e del suo benessere. Le ondulazioni prodotte nel movimento degli arti si propagano fino ad arrivare al collo, testa e bocca del cavallo.

Ma osserviamo ciò che succede se andiamo a interferire con questo naturale movimento.Se il cavaliere tiene le mani ferme, parliamo di passo e galoppo, il cavallo può fare due cose: o mantiene il suo istintivo e fisiologico movimento, e così incontra (scontra) l'imboccatura regolarmente (due volte ogni quattro battute ,nel passo e una volta ogni falcata di galoppo), oppure, conclusione della totalità dei cavalli, per non subire le inopportune pressioni in bocca, ferma e blocca anche lui il collo, come la mano. Questo bloccare il collo, però, non è gratis. Per farlo, infatti, il cavallo deve irrigidire tutti i muscoli di questa parte portando, fatalmente, al rovesciamento della colonna cervicale, a cui farà seguito quella dorsale, ecc.., fino ad arrivare alle anche, che si allontaneranno inesorabilmente dal centro del cavallo.

Possiamo osservare un dato di fatto. Con un cavallo addestrato e abituato a muovere e disporre naturalmente della sua incollatura, basta che il cavaliere, che stava seguendo con la mano, rallenti e arresti i suoi movimenti, rallentando e fermando quelli dell'incollatura del cavallo, per vederlo fermarsi istantaneamente, volentieri e in equilibrio, senza quasi accorgersene. Diverso è il caso del cavallo a cui è stato privato l'uso del collo: lui, senza poterlo muovere, se ne sarebbe stato fermo, ma quello sopra ha insistito perchè si muovesse; e lui lo ha fatto, in quel modo bloccato e dannoso che abbiamo visto. Per fermarsi, poi, non resterà che tirare ... peggiorando il tutto logicamente.





The blood vascular system of the hoof... I just can’t get over how intricate it is ♥️

Let’s talk about why you should have the young ones looked at! This cute little 2 yr old Reiner had the start of a dysfu...

Let’s talk about why you should have the young ones looked at! This cute little 2 yr old Reiner had the start of a dysfunctional front end.

Look closely at her sternum above the white arrow in the front picture... notice how it’s higher on HER left side? See how much that changes the left front leg, externally rotating the shoulder joint (which internally rotates the elbow joint) as well as the knee and then the foot. This eventually would have created tension in the poll, neck and ribcage, not to mention a weird wear pattern in her hoof. Another thought to ponder.... which side to we tighten the cinch on?? Visualize what that does to the body when you pull it tight 🤔 Now we see how easy it is to start the pattern of training dysfunctional movement.... without even noticing it!
Opening up her front end and releasing the pelvis also turned a down hill 2 yr old into a “slightly” down hill 2 yr old 🤣🤦🏼‍♀️



How long do you spend warming your horses up??

How long do you spend warming your horses up??

My absolute favourite saying ❤️

This is a great way to remind yourself that you must warm up all of your horses’ muscle groups every time you work them, before you start harder, more gymnastic or higher intensity training.


Aiken, SC


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