Monday, September 10, 2012
What It Feels Like for a Girl
I have a special place in my heart for the daughters of Malibu Moon, so imagine my pleasure when I discovered I was grooming one of his very own in my corner of the barn.
This mare debuted at Saratoga as a two-year-old and three races later broke her maiden at Belmont as a three-year-old. Now she's five and can still kick up her heels on a sandy oval.
She's one of five girls in the care of mi maestro (my teacher/groom) and me. All of them are difficult, albeit to different degrees. Attempting the Masterson Method of equine massage on one filly and three mares who couldn't bear to be touched at all was a daunting task. But an experience I had with the one and only mare who was willing to be touched one day but too sensitive to be touched the next had light dawning in a myriad of ways. A check of the message boards on Jim Masterson's website confirmed what I had discovered.
These mares were feeling the heat of my flat fingers when I held them as far away as twelve inches from their bladder meridian. It was there that I was able to go under their radar and keep them from bracing. It was there where I found them responding and was able to work with them to release their tension.
Invisible Touch, indeed. How prescient that turned out to be.
My first success with an untouchable mare was the daughter of Malibu Moon. It's quite moving when you find a way of getting through to them and helping them in the most gentle of ways. It also hurts your heart a bit, realising that they have probably been misunderstood by so many.
These mares aren't difficult because they are mean. They are difficult because they are so sensitive. And yes, that sensitivity will make them cranky at times, like it does with most women who walk the face of the earth. Our equine sisters are not so different from ourselves.
It was ladies' day in the barn today. I worked on three untouchable mares, using the bladder meridian technique as taught by Mr. Masterson.
I returned to the daughter of Malibu Moon for her second massage. She needed the attention, as she became quite jealous last week when I was spending so much massage time with the race-day gelding in the stall next to hers. She surprised me when she started acting up in her stall and then sticking her head out and giving me the stink eye while I was attending to Val. She was wound up, so she was my priority today, first and foremost.
She enjoyed the time we spent together as I helped her release her tension and thrilled at her yawning, fidgeting, licking, chewing and shaking her head.
Next up was the mare who bit me in an unmentionable place the last time I attempted the bladder meridian technique on her. She was a step up in difficulty from the daughter of Malibu Moon and I was eager to see if I could help the child who spent her days with her ears perpetually pinned back.
With my two geldings, I put them on a lead shank and leave the shank on the stall floor, giving them full range as their cages don't rattle easily and it's the optimum way to allow them unfettered movement.
The mares are too edgy at this time for a shank, so I will start by using their tie chain and carry and extra tie chain if I feel they can handle more movement without compromising our safety.
Malibu Moon's daughter graduated to two tie chains today. The very tense mare who bit me was better off staying on one for now.
I am very pleased to report, however, that I was able to help her release tension to the point she actually relaxed her ears. She was completely engaged as I was working with her and I was able to stay under her radar and stop her from bracing. At one point, she turned her body towards me as my back was up against the stall wall. Amazing but true, I stopped her just by putting my hand up. She felt the heat of my hand about a foot away and stopped. I never even touched her.
My last mare of the day I had never attempted to work with before, so she was on one tie chain for her session. She was quite interesting, as while I was able to use a whisper touch on her left bladder meridian, when I got to her right side above her withers her ears pinned back and her head spun in my direction. I immediately withdrew my fingers, she calmed down straight away, and for the rest of her session I used the invisible touch on her, which worked for her.
This is pretty heady stuff.