November 2008



Equine–Librium Goes a Step Beyond, One Hand at a Time

Photos by Meris Watson


Susan Howard’s Austin USDF Reiterhof Dressage Show offered the perfect venue for savvy equestrians to learn more about the Myofascial Release work of “Equine–Librium” at a lunchtime demonstration. The owners of Equine-Librium, Eric Webb and Erin Bobo, are Advanced Myofascial Release Therapists trained under the founder of MFR, John F. Barnes, P.T. They demonstrated the Myofascial Release (MFR) approach with Maggie, a beautiful warmblood mare, with a long history of discomfort in her hind end resulting in their choice for her not be ridden as often and it has been a mystery to figure out what troubles her.

Maggie is, in general, distracted and unable to relax even at home. It was fascinating to watch even in the distracting horse show environment, as Maggie was able to relax under the hands of the Erin and Eric. We began with Maggie trotting in front of us looking for rotation or hesitation of limbs at push off and footfall, mobility of the rib cage (does it move more to one side or the other), head and neck carriage, mobility of the pelvis at the walk, holding patterns in the movement of the shoulders and head, and movement through the spine.

During the observations, Erin Bobo introduced the idea that, even though we were only addressing the horse today, in order to gain even greater success in performance, MFR should be utilized for both horse and rider. She went on to state that Equine-Librium goes one step beyond addressing the normal stiffness and lack of suppleness issues by approaching the body like a kinked garden hose by releasing each restriction then going to next so the body can flow in a more unified manner, thereby attaining suppleness in the entire body.

Observing Maggie’s gait, we all agreed that her right hind and pelvis was stiff and she may not be reaching under as much a possible. Nobody knows what might have happened to Maggie, but regardless of how long ago an injury occurred, the body may “hold onto” the injury creating structural changes in the equine body. Erin and Eric point out that every discipline of riding is about communication between horse and rider so every imbalance and “holding pattern” in the rider’s body affects the horse and vice versa. Riders, trainers, and competitors at any level and in any discipline may benefit from MFR.  



One of the unique aspects of Equine-Librium is that Erin and Eric work together in dual-therapist sessions to achieve the greatest results and to economize cost. As our two practitioners began to work on Maggie, she would assist them as much as possible by leaning into the pressure and began to show Erin and Eric where her body needed attention. It was obvious to observers of the demonstration what Eric noted when he stated “Horses really get that we are there to help them.” Once Erin and Eric began their session on Maggie, it was clear that she responded to the softening of her restrictions as she displayed the classic signs of release in her body. She began a shift in the rhythm of breathing and demonstrated deeper breathing and relaxation about the head and neck. Her head started to lower and the eyes began to soften. These signs and Maggie’s licking and chewing were a startling change for this high-spirited equine.

Some of the ideas that make Myofascial Release different from other types of equine bodywork are the considerations that pain or imbalances in one area of the body affect the body
as a whole, MFR sessions are individualized as opposed to “protocol-based” and the techniques are designed to provide long-term solutions to holding patterns as opposed to just temporary relaxation of the muscles.

During the demonstration our practitioners pointed out that their work is not a replacement for veterinary care, no diagnosis is ever made by them and they feel that Myofascial Release is an excellent compliment to all veterinary and chiropractic modalities
.

Eric and Erin are passionate about educating the community about this unique work and can be contacted to schedule sessions and demonstrations at barns or equestrian events by calling
512-964-8963 or by visiting their website at equine-librium.com.

(Back to Archived Features Page)
(Back to Home Page)