Category Archives: Medical


I’ve written about Gillian Higgins previously.  Her company, Horses Inside Out is fascinating to me… probably because she has such a great architectural mind as well as a very artistic mind.  You’ve probably seen her work with the insides of horses.

click image to go to website


Todays email was again, fascinating.  Here you go!

By Jessica Limpkin, Equine Massage Therapist


This week I have been really excited about the return of ‘Webinar Wednesdays’ with Gillian Higgins of Horses Inside Out. This month’s webinar was on the subject of ‘Understanding Muscles and Fascia’. Being a Massage Therapist these are of course 2 of my favourite subjects!

Watch a recorded version of this webinar in the Horses Inside Out Academy
As I am sure you can imagine I was excited to take part in this webinar and find out what more I could learn in order for me to improve my knowledge, understanding and of course my treatments. I have also been recommending these webinars to my clients, as even though there is tons of in depth information included in the webinars, the way Gillian presents the information with a great enthusiasm and sense of fun, there is something for everyone to learn and every horse can benefit from an owner/rider/trainer with a more in depth knowledge of how their horse works!

As with all of Gillian’s webinars, the benefit of watching live is you are able to ask questions during the webinar and have them answered live by Gillian. However, there is also the opportunity to purchase life-time access to a recording of the webinar at a later date from the Horses Inside Out Online Academy and I definitely think this is worthwhile with this particular webinar as the run time was over 2 hours and there was so much to take in you may need to pause and take notes!



During the webinar you will learn about the different types of muscle contraction and how to recognise them and what types of exercises or movements require each type. These are: · Dynamic contractions (Eccentric and Concentric) · Static contractions (Isometric)



Gillian also explains DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness and the importance of cross training. Something I am often discussing with my clients. We all know how it feels when we complete a tough workout at the gym, or a long walk or run that we are not used to doing. We feel it in our bodies, not the following day but actually the day after the day after…….. that is DOMS and horses get it too! It is so important to design your horse’s exercise plan with this in mind.

Gillian also advises in this webinar how to structure your horse’s training around this. And how to design your horse’s exercise plan around their age and stage in training. You will also learn how to test for sore muscles and develop your palpation skills. I think this is really important for all horse owners to learn, I am always happy to demonstrate to my clients how to check their horse’s muscles for tightness or soreness.

If you regularly do this with your own horse you will learn what is normal for them and what is not, and also when you need to call in a professional such as myself to treat your horse. And hopefully if you can do this you will be able to call in the professional before your horse gets too sore and this either leads to a pathology in the body and/or they feel so sore you get bucked off! Gillian then went on to explain the stretch and recoil systems in the horse’s body. This is the way in which the body stores energy created from movement and used it to propel the body forward.



It is truly quite amazing how much the soft tissue in the body contributes to energy and movement. Moving at slower speeds requires more strength from the body, where as moving at faster speeds requires more stretch and recoil contribution to movement. And we then got on to learning about the Fascia, which is actually the largest system in the body. The 3D web that encapsulates the muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and organs. I think Fascia could have had it’s very own webinar. Although I do understand why Gillian linked muscles and fascia together in one webinar as they are so intrinsically linked. In this webinar you can learn about the 4 different types of fascia: · Superficial · Intermuscular · Visceral · Deep You will also learn how fascia is innervated, making it a sensory organ, often said to hold emotions and feelings. I often talk to clients about how fascia needs to slide and glide and how it requires hydration (not only with water but also good nutrition) and also how pressure points (such as ill-fitting tack) can cause dehydrated fascia. I’l also explain how fascia has a ‘memory’ and can return to shape once it has been stretched and how it has a high proportion of proprioceptors assisting in our horse’s awareness of where their body is in space. This is all explained in this webinar.



I could easily write my own blog on the fascia, going into more detail, however I would never be able to present it in quite the same way as Gillian is able to with her fantastic images and also years of experience and research.

So, if you would like to learn more about the muscles and fascia in your horse, what they are, what they do, why they are important and, also why what I do as a therapist is important for your horse, whatever their job or discipline, I urge you to take a couple of hours to watch this fabulous webinar and find out more!



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Have you heard of EOTRH SYNDROME? Resorption lesions of the incisors… very painful.

Sunday, August 2nd, 2020 | Filed under Medical

I belong to a riders’ group and this email was in my box.  I found it very interesting… I have plenty of older horses around here and I need to check for this.  However, it can happen in younger horses, too.

The article:


This attached brochure is from GCTC members, Karrie and Vern Dunham. It was given to them by their dental specialist vet from Oregon who came down to consult with their local vet on a horse with suspected Equine Odontoclastic Tooth Resorbtion and Hyperementosis, or EOTRH.

EOTRH is becoming more common, and you can keep an eye on your own horses.

EOTRH Syndrome
Equine Odontoclastic Tooth Resorption and Hypercementosis, also known as EOTRH, is a syndrome in horses that results in resorptive lesions of the incisors and sometimes canine teeth. It is usually gradual in onset, though often isn’t diagnosed until quite extensive lesions are present. Most commonly it is a condition of older horses (15+), though we have seen it in horses as young as 13.

More in-depth information.
This is a fairly recently recognized disease that can cause severe changes to the tooth roots and surrounding gingiva (gums) in older horses, most often in the incisors and canines, although some very new research indicates it can affect their premolars and molars, as well. In moderate and severe cases it results in chronic infection of the tissues and is very painful to the horse; it can also cause loss of affected teeth or enough pain that they must be extracted to allow the horse to eat comfortably.

The cause of EOTRH is not known for certain, though it appears to be correlated with equine pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID, or equine Cushing’s disease), a history of overly aggressive dental procedures by improperly trained individuals, horses that are not allowed to graze (i.e., kept on a drylot), and the presence of certain types of bacteria or other microorganisms in the mouth. Geldings seem to be predisposed. It’s theorized that saliva constantly bathing the teeth, as occurs in the head-down grazing position when horses are at pasture for many hours per day, may be protective, so incorporating this into your horse’s management program might be helpful.

The earliest externally visible signs of EOTRH are gingivitis (inflammation of the gums around the teeth) or small draining tracts from the roots of the tooth that look like pimples in the gingiva–these appear as tiny red dots initially. These might occur years before the more obvious loosening of teeth or tooth root enlargements, and your veterinarian should take note of this during routine dental examinations. Dental radiographs taken at that time might show the start of small resorptive (bone breakdown) lesions in the tooth root or the laying down of cementum around the roots, which is the body’s attempt to stabilize the teeth.

Early identification allows more proactive care and can prevent your horse from experiencing chronic pain and complications such as chronic infections. When the affected teeth become painful or loose, veterinarians recommend extraction. Often, if all or most of the incisors are affected, the veterinarian removes them completely. While it seems like a drastic measure, owners find that their horses recover quickly, are much more comfortable afterward (with previous hard keepers often gaining weight more easily), and can still graze grass effectively!”

Radiographs from UC Davis

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