Integrated Equine Performance Bodywork

September 21st, 2012

Going to the barn is one of the best high lights of my day. Two of my horses have been at local barn, for ‘me to get’ trained, ( I thought it would be the other way around!).  One of the people that I met there was Pat Turpening. She is one of those people that you instantly feel drawn to because of her soft spoken yet assertive actions with horses. You see, she owns a stallion that she has driven for years.

As a ‘fellow’ driver, I admire her ability to have complete control of her stallion, ‘Ultras Executive Order’ or lovingly E-Or, whether she is competing at the Kentucky Horse Park or driving around the stables. There is always a calming atmosphere around Pat and her horse.  She has accomplished a technique that opens new levels of communication and  relationships.  Pat’s account follows, and I’m sure you will be quite interested to find out more once you see how you can also ‘gain positive change in the movement of your horse and  evaluate what your horse is telling you!’

“Whether you use your horse for competition, trail riding or to simply keep the grass mowed, they can benefit from equine massage. Horses accumulate stress in key areas of the body and as this stress/tension accumulates, an owner may observe it in performance problems such as not being able to bend, sudden lead changes or changes in movement. As horse owners we are always looking for different ways to help our four legged friends perform better. Jim Masterson has developed a form of body work called The Masterson Method – Integrated Equine Performance Bodywork, by observing the horse’s responses when different levels of pressure were applied and watching for visual signs of release of tension. Through the body work technique, you learn to recognize and find and release accmulated tension in key junctions of the body that most affect performance. The process helps the horse to release tension by flying under the radar of his nervous system. Rather than massaging the muscles using force, a light touch is used.

“Out of all the things that were ever done while participating at the 2006 World Equestrian Games, the bodywork Jim did was the most beneficial.” –Jennifer Niehaus, USET Endurance Team Member

Working with the sensitivity of the equine system, it is possible to access a level of the horse’s nervous system that enables him to release deep stress in his muscles, connective tissue and structure. Massage not only helps improve performance, but it can also access a new level of communication with your horse. Most owners discover improved performance, suppleness, mobility, and comfort in their horse after just one session.  Horses are athletes and we are asking them to perform to their optimum ability during competitions. They work for us even though their muscles are accumulating tension and when they are not feeling at their best.  The beauty of this massage technique is that we can help them to be more comfortable. We can listen to them when they tell us “my poll is really tight” or “my withers or back is sore”.  Through the Masterson Method, we can help our equine friends be more comfortable and perform at a higher level”.

If you have any questions for Pat Turpening or would like to schedule an equine body work session, please contact her at 419-270-2336 , 419-335-6237, or email her at

Body work is not a substitute for veterinary care and if in doubt regarding the health condition of your horse, consult your veterinarian.


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