I first became interested in The Masterson Method when my horse, Tye was injured with a tear in his hind suspensory ligament in 2011. Tye had not been the happiest horse when I bought him the year before. He had been placed in a corner stall at the barn where he lived because, I was told after purchase, he fought with the other horses. He was demanding and aggressive when it came time to eat and was not a horse who moved forward easily. On the positive side he was very attentive to me, cooperative at times, and he licked my hand when I stood next to him in the stall. I was a new horse owner, back to riding in my forties after having been away from it since childhood. Tye was “my horse” from the moment I saw him. Part of that was because of my naivete and lack of experience but I also believed we would make good partners.
With the hind suspensory injury, my plans to continue riding and learning dressage came to a halt. The tear in the suspensory ligament was severe, requiring surgery and a long period of rehabilitation. I was determined to maintain my relationship with Tye and do whatever I could to aid in his healing.
One evening I was searching online for equine massage and found The Masterson Method website. I was excited by the description and short videos of The Masterson Method and sent away for my first video. I liked the fact that The Masterson Method was more than massage. It allowed me to interact with Tye, helping him calm and have greater comfort as he healed. It didn’t take long for me to realize that in addition to a typical bodywork session I could use The Masterson Method in a variety of situations. I expanded the ways that I used it; to help Tye calm during a vet visit when he was scared to walk on to a wet black mat, during stall rest and during veterinary procedures. When he had to have nerve blocks, I used The Masterson Method to help him stand still so the vet could give lower hind leg injections. I also used it when Tye became nervous after loading on to the trailer. I’d stand at the front window, do a little bladder meridian along his neck and wait for the licking and chewing.
I felt empowered because I could influence his level of comfort, mental state and behavior with this method. Tye learned to trust me through our experiences together. Our connection became stronger over the two years of hand walking that was required before he could be ridden again.
Tye did heal from his suspensory injury. He is now nineteen years old and I ride him doing some lower level dressage. He is happy when working and people remark on how connected he is to me. A person at the barn once said “he would get in your car and ride around with you if he could”. Tye currently lives in a stall and paddock with horses on each side of him and I’m happy to say there are no issues with fighting. He is having some vision issues with light and shadows these days requiring an even greater need for there to be trust between us. He is who he always was in some ways, and better in others. He has a greater willingness to work then he did when I first met him. He is a happy horse when I walk into his stall and will allow me to gently place my arm over his face while he rests it calmly at my side.
Tye’s injury was probably a gift to both of us. I learned how to be with him when all we had was our relationship. Using The Masterson Method helped me foster that relationship. Tye knows that I don’t only show up to the barn to ask something of him, but also to do something for him. He knows he can have fun and doesn’t have to protect himself from fear of demands from a rider.
Along this path that Tye and I have traveled together, I became a Certified Practitioner, Coach and Instructor for The Masterson Method. I live and practice in Redmond, Washington under my business name The Soul Horse. I consider The Masterson Method to not only be effective at improving comfort, mobility and performance for the horse but also to be an integral part of supporting a healthy state of mind, attitude, trust and willingness in the horse. All of this allows for greater connection and this transfers over to the ride.
I thoroughly enjoy working on horses from a variety of disciplines. I’ve been able to bring comfort to working horses, mares and their babies and retired horses as well. There have been many special moments when the horses and their owners have let me know how much they are helped by The Masterson Method. In those moments I realize what a privilege it is to make a difference and to feel that sacred connection with the horse.