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Ashley's Corner

Stories & Success from using Holistic Equine Therapies

Ashley Powers is a talented dressage rider located at Jewel of the Valley Equine in Oregon City, Oregon. Ashley began riding at the age of nine and showed on the local hunter/jumper circuit for several years. She began teaching lessons in her teen years and soon after accepted her first horse into training. Ashley is a proud former Pony Club member who achieved her C1 rating. She has worked with a large variety of horses in various disciplines and has developed several horses off the track, including her own mount.

By combining classical dressage principles and holistic equine therapeutic treatments, such as microcurrent, laser light therapy, infrared and Qi Gong, Ashley is able to keep her equine athletes performing at their best. Her diverse experiences allow her to bring a wealth of knowledge to the training arena and to approach issues with an eye towards what will best suit both horse and rider.

Ashley's mounts have both come from unique circumstances and been developed exclusively through her training program. Captain Jack is a 1997 AQHA chestnut gelding by Buzzword and out of Miss Merri Mo. Originally trained to race, CJ came to Jewel of the Valley Equine to begin his second career. Ashley successfully piloted "CJ" through Novice before focusing her attention on dressage. CJ has shown through Second Level and is currently schooling Third.

Phoenix Rising is a 2008 Andalusian mare of unknown breeding. After locating her in a kill pen in Washington, Ashley nursed "Phoenix" back to health in the hopes that she would someday make her debut in the dressage arena. Phoenix, however, has far surpassed any expectations and is currently schooling Third Level movements.

 


 

The following are articles on some of Ashley's stories in using Thermotex, MicroCurrent and more to help her horses.
Click on the title to expand the article.

Django: Microcurrent for Relief and Treatment of Right Side Issues

August 2016. Django is a 9-year-old Thoroughbred.

We have only had Django about a week, and he came to us with some major right side issues. His right shoulder is completely crushed down and it looks like he had previously crashed into something. He is also very tense about his right hip, flank, and rib area.

Since Django is new to Microcurrent, I decided that his first treatment needed to be very inviting and relaxing so I decided to do a basic one-channel Topline Setup. I used the MicroPlus with an electrode on the top of his withers and then another on his Bai Hui. It didn’t take Django long before he started showing signs of relaxation and release, there was a lot of sighing, licking, and chewing going on.

Towards the end of his treatment he gave 4 or 5 very large yawns, so it was evident that even that basic treatment was really giving him quite a bit of relief. Afterwards, I turned him out into the arena and his gait appeared more relaxed and open as opposed to before where he was very reserved and tight in his movement.

thoroughbred receiving microcurrent treatment
Django receiving his first microcurrent treatment.

Galli: Rescue Horse helped with Bodywork, Microcurrent & more

July 2016. Gallie is a Paint/Draft Cross gelding, he is a rescue horse and is 15-17 years old.

Galli was passed along quite a bit in his lifetime and ended up with my Grandma as a rescue project. His back was pretty severely dropped and painful, coupled with the fact that he appeared to be unable to take deep regular breaths. His breathing was very quick, shallow and erratic. We did a combination of microcurrent treatments with the Silver Knit Back Pad, the Thermotex Blanket, and the Qi Gong Machine. We also had Bambi Dore do a couple bodywork sessions on him where she discovered that his rib cage was tipped downwards and to the right. He also had diaphragm and abdominal spasms. She recommended him to have 3 months off of work and we continued to do a combination of the microcurrent, Qi Gong Machine, and Thermotex.

After a couple months, I participated in Bambi’s Symmetry = Success Courses. I brought Galli with me as a horse to be worked on during the class. His back and rib cage was much improved from the last time Bambi worked on him, but he still had some abdominal and diaphragm spasms that needed work. His breathing seemed to settle after the bodywork but it was also suggested that we try the Vibra VM, which is a therapy tool that uses sound wave frequency and percussion to help with lung conditions.

Over the course of the weekend we did three Vibra VM treatments. I thought he would take quite a bit of time to get accustomed to the noises the machine made but he really seemed to enjoy the treatment; especially the massage mode. After each treatment he would blow his nose out and had quite a bit of drainage. The day after his last treatment he continued to drain a bit from his nose but the biggest change was the fact that he was already breathing deeper and more regular! We will continue his lung treatments by using the Microcurrent for Bleeders Guide and hopefully continue the forward progress with his breathing!

Rescue Horse treated with VibraVM for lung issues

Sandee Foster helping Galli with his first VibraVM treatment.

CJ: Addressing Soundness Issues

Part 1: I have used Microcurrent, Light Therapy, and Infrasound therapy on my horses for years and finally purchased a Thermotex Blanket and Neck Wrap to add to my collection. My horse, CJ, has been a performance horse his entire life; started on the Race Track and then moved on to the Hunter/Jumper Ring, Pony Club, Eventing, and then we finally landed in Dressage. He has always carried a lot of tension and soreness in his back and hips, he also has straighter hocks which has caused hock soreness. However, we have kept all of those issues in check using microcurrent and the other therapies.

On March 18, during a lesson CJ tripped twice in a row and I knew immediately that something wasn’t right. Sure enough the next day he was lame. He was holding his right hind leg very forward and pointing his toe to alleviate pressure.

I immediately started a mixture of Microcurrent and Iontophoresis treatments to try and calm down his hocks, back and hips (where the issue seemed to be stemming from). After two and a half weeks of treatment his pain level had decreased and he slowly was becoming more sound, but wasn’t 100%. When I received the Thermotex blanket & neck wrap I promptly did a treatment on him, which he thoroughly enjoyed. After a 45 minute session I turned him out to roll and was surprised to see that he rolled not only on his good side but his bad side as well. Until that point he was still being very guarded about his right hind. As soon as he got up he bucked and took off, and I was very happy to see that his movement was better, there was less of him jerking his right hind up. When I went to take him back to his stall I couldn’t believe how loose the muscles in his back and hind end were - they were like jello!

CJ THermotex Therapy

Part 2: 
After six treatments with the Thermotex Blanket & Neck Wrap, my horse CJ is sound!

I used it 3 times a week for 2 weeks and couldn’t believe the improvement in his soundness, as well as the all-over relaxation it provided for his whole body. After CJ was sound for a couple week, I started bringing him back to riding slowly while continuing to do Thermotex treatments.

After a few rides he started to have issues with his right hind again. This has been an ongoing issue with him and the last time this happened the veterinarians said it was an issue with his stifle. I had Bambi Dore come out to do bodywork on him and she immediately zeroed in on the fact that CJ was suffering from problems that had resulted from his castration as a young horse. His gracilis muscles were uneven and the left side was softer then the right, which was stringy, hard, and painful to the touch. His right seat bone was locked and his hip joint was jammed into the socket.

This completely intrigued me so I took Bambi’s bodywork course, Symmetry = Success, because I want to be able to identify this problem in future horses rather then let it continue on year after year. I am so relieved to know the root of this ongoing issue with the right hind and lower back tension, the Thermotex was a huge key in that discovery because it allowed his body to unwind!

 

Phoenix: Thermotex to Release Tension

Phoenix is a 9-year-old Andalusian Mare.

Part 1:
The next morning I used the blanket and neck wrap on Phoenix for 45 minutes. She has a tendency to hold tension in her back and neck. Being an Andalusian, it takes awhile for her to become stretchy and elastic under saddle because all she wants to do is collect and go. I was amazed when I rode her after her Thermotex session, she immediately was stretching over her back and into the contact instead of bracing. The biggest surprise of all was our canter transitions! She can be a bit grouchy in the transition but as soon as I put my leg back to ask for the canter she immediately picked up the most lovely canter without hesitation, both directions! She was also able to perform her lateral work with ease.

Part 2: 
I took Phoenix to a dressage clinic a couple weeks after getting the Thermotex Blanket. The first day of the clinic I ran out of time before my ride and wasn’t able to give her a treatment. She was stiff, not wanting to engage, and it took the majority of our ride to get her supple and really pushing from behind.

The second day I made sure to give her a treatment with the blanket and as soon as I was on, the clinician noted a difference in her suppleness and push from behind just at the walk! Before the third ride I also did a Thermotex treatment. I expected Phoenix to be fatigued and behind my leg as she normally is at the end of a clinic. However, I had a very eager horse under me and we were able to accomplish more than I had expected during our ride!

The Thermotex has definitely become a staple in my routine for maintenance as well as for clinic and competition preparation.

Thermotex Treatment

Argold: Physical Evaluation & Improvement

Argold is a 16-year-old Amish Bred Haflinger Gelding.

Argold was sent to me for training by his owner, who had bought him as a 13 year old stallion that was broke to harness and saddle, but was predominantly used for driving as well as breeding. When she purchased Argold, he was gelded and then turned out to pasture. The first day, I did an evaluation of him on the ground and under saddle. When he was turned out loose he really kept his hind legs tucked up underneath him when he was moving, in the canter he almost hit his belly with his hind legs. There appeared to be a lot of tension in his hind end, belly, and back. When I rode him briefly, he was very resistant to moving forward, very dull to the leg cues, and was very upset at the idea of cantering. He would buck, kick out, or crow hop as soon he picked up the canter.

In doing an evaluation of his body, the biggest issue that stuck out to me was in his back, hind end and hips. There was a very definite line of tension across the top of his hindquarters from side to side. His hips appeared shoved back and were uneven, his back was dropped and there was atrophy behind the shoulders.

The second day, I used the Thermotex blanket and neck wrap on him. After the session, his rib cage and hind end were sweaty where the plates in the blanket sat. I then free lunged him and noticed that his movement seemed less forced than the day before. When I rode him, he was more willing to move forward and I was able to get some canter both ways with less protest.

The third day I used the Microcurrent back pad, the dual electrode on his belly, and the large rectangle electrode across his hind quarters where the line of tension was. Once his microcurrent treatment was finished I did some bodywork on his hips to help straighten him out and send his hips more forward since they were shoved so far back. Once I finished the left side he was very insistent that I work on the right side and swung his hips over and looked at me like, “Okay, fix this side now!”

When I rode him he was completely different. He was much lighter to the legs, much happier to move forward, and I was actually able to do some little suppling exercises with him. When I moved on to the canter I got the most prompt, polite, and forward upward transition both directions!

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