Sarah Linton

Gait Assessment & Massage Moves Demo

In my gait assessment demos, we look at different horses being put through their paces, learning about how each horse moves differently, any irregularities or issues, evenness or unevenness, etc.

The aim of the demo is to teach people what to look for when assessing the gait of a horse. This demo can be a lot of fun with a big group of people and quite a few horses to look at.

What we look at and discuss during this demo

1. We will discuss Signs of Soreness & behavioural issues. Everyone will be shown (if possible) a reactive horse and regular areas where horses are reactive. How to feel on the horse if they are sore and what to look for.

2. We walk, trot up and/or lunge each horse to view its movement on a circle or in a straight line from front and behind, looking for irregularities, evenness or unevenness.

3. I demonstrate a few basic massage moves and then everyone has a go and doing them on different areas on the horses. I discuss when a horse should and shouldn't be massaged. And then if we have time I will show a few basic stretches.

4. I always allow times for questions afterwards and give out notes as well.

NB: This demo does not in any way replace getting your vet or body worker out to assess your horse. It is designed to get owners to look and feel their horses more and learn to look for signs of imbalance and soreness.

Requirements of holding this demo

Venue: Must be a safe environment with an under cover area that can fit horses and spectators if the weather isn't nice. I don't like to postpone because of the weather so it is essential we get the right venue. Somewhere where we can tie the horses up safely - not too close to each other where they can happily stand for a couple of hours. We also need a good surface to walk and trot horses up on. Doesn't have to be flash - just an even flat surface. A toilet nearby for spectators to use. Most demos the group organising might put on tea or coffee afterwards which gives everyone a chance to talk and get to know each other.

Horses: For a demo ideally I need 4-6 horses, but the more horses the better to get a wide range of gaits and movement to assess. They need to be happy being touched, trotted up, being lunged and for people to walk all around them. Any size or shape is suitable for this demo. Whoever brings a horse will need to make sure they have water and hay for when the horse is not required. The horse also needs to be clean and dry (not washed, just with the mud off). Horses used for the demo are there for the demo, and not for a private assessment.

For health reasons: Please, no lame horses. People are there to learn, and if the horse needs to see a vet, that's where they should go. Also, make sure horses being used at the demo have no infectious diseases like colds or coughs, and no skin problems. Not only will there be many horses present, but spectators will be asked to come up and feel things on horses during the signs of soreness part of the demo, so we don't want to be spreading bugs around.

Minimum and maximum attendance numbers: I only hold demos for a minimum of 10 people - please make sure you have definitive bookings for at least 10 people. I encourage you to collect names, phone numbers and addresses of the attendees - that way if something happens and we need to cancel or change a time or place (bad weather for example) - then we can contact everyone to let them know. I also recommend a maximum of 30 people in a group, otherwise question time can become hectic, and horses get restless. I am happy to split into two groups if a demo receives high interest.

Discount vouchers for attendees: I hand out discount vouchers to people at the end of a demo, so if they want to make an appointment with me after seeing the demo there is no rush to do it on the day. Notes are also given out to everyone to take home.

Any other questions: Please contact me if you have any other questions, I am happy to discuss holding a demo in your area with you and all requirements if the above is not clear in a particular area.

That's just a very small run down of what I discuss but I try and make it very hands on so people are getting up and down and doing things and everyone seems to enjoy it and has a great time.

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