Who we are & Why we do it.
Back In The Saddle is a Massage Therapy service that offers equines and their riders a unique, physical therapy support system, with deep tissue body work and sports massages for the maintenance of overall health and fitness, specialising in remedial therapy with fitness/rehabilitation plans when in recovery from accident or injury.
The company is run by Catherine Dachtler IIHHT ITec (Equine) VTCT who has over 30 years’ experience as a professional masseuse, equine handler, competitor and owner.
We are a conscientious ethical business which means that our core values are morally based and driven around the use of natural alternative therapies that can supplement veterinary care and are promoted to be an integral part of horses’ routine care and management.
The Mindful Touch
This methodology has been developed by Catherine over the last 30 years which sets her hands on therapy apart from regular sports massage. She uses this practice on both horses and people after confirming her experiences, knowledge and sixth sense can produce amazing results, simply. Evidence of the success of this technique means that she is keen to teach others to use this directly on their own horses.
Holistic Medicine is now additionally recognised in main stream healing and by those who practice conventional medicine – it goes back thousands of years and has shown great success. Because it isn’t something that science can logically explain there is an element of mystery as to why and how it works. When practiced effectively it considers the whole body rather than looking at independent elements, seeing the body as being inter-dependent. To an extent it is intuitive to the therapist, however any treatment advised may still be conventional as well as of an alternative nature. Catherine enjoys working with veterinarians and other health care professionals. The Mindful Touch focuses on optimal vitality and wellness and centres around overall health – physical, spiritual and emotional.
The core characteristic of this therapy is:
- Clinical in-depth understanding of anatomy and physiology, and the bio-mechanics of the person and the equus.
- An holistic approach and continued aftercare including Facebook groups and email, Watsapp access directly to Catherine.
- For Equine Therapy, a way of being present that allows the horse to express its needs and Catherine will teach the owner/handler how to do the same.
Catherine works with all types of horses and has great experience with all levels and types of equestrian disciplines – she has worked with Grand Prix dressage horses, international show jumpers, show horses and ponies, riding club ponies and horses and ponies that are purely for pleasure riding.
She also works with owners, riders, handlers, grooms and those who don’t have horses of their own on fitness and rehabilitation from injury.
Catherine is a qualified gym instructor and she works well with other health care professionals, can take and give referrals to GPs and works well in alignment with hospital guided physiotherapy plans. This support assists all types rehabilitation plans.
Sports massage therapy not only reduces the chances of incurring an injury (through body maintenance and exercise) but also aids recovery from pain, stiffness, injury and by keeping soft tissues strong yet supple. This means that joints and locomotion is efficient and supports performance enabling the body to peak and to keep at peak performance.
Clinical In-depth Understanding of
Anatomy and Physiology
All massage therapy is based on a thorough/deep understanding of how muscles work, how locomotion effects everything, and how everything affects efficient locomotion. Understanding the muscle types, their fibres, their directions, their origin and insertion to bones, their influence on joints and understanding muscles on their own or as a group. A physio needs to see a horse move and understand from a bio-mechanically trained eye how to maintain and/or improve effective locomotion.
A happy healthy horse will always choose to naturally move freely – it is in the horse to move this way. They will do all they can to cover up, any weakness or pain. They want to move well as they were born to do so with no stiffness or blocking. A stuffy unwilling gait or lame horse CAN actually be improved unless it has a diagnosed condition which can’t be granted massage help or has sustained a serious injury, again needing veterinary care. If a horse is relaxed and happy in its environment with a regular routine set to maintain or increase its performance level, it is highly beneficial that it gets regular massage from a professional as well as weekly massages from the owner/groom/handler. “Horses love to move – it’s their natural way – they are born to move, and if they don’t, or ‘can’t’ move freely then there is something very wrong“. Says Catherine.
There is usually an explanation, a reason, but first buy understanding what is wrong we can start to resolve and unravel the issues.
Signs to look out for: Rearing, Bucking, Leaning, Cross firing, Jaw crossing, Tripping, Stopping, Spooking, Napping, Tail swishing, Reluctant to go forward, Pulling, Cant Counter Canter, Rushing, falling out etc.
A Way of Being Present
Catherine uses what she terms being in the present to hear, see and feel the horse clearly for a true assessment.
Catherine describes one component of The Mindful Touch as being present and explains this mindset as a synergistic and holistic way of being with horses. Catherine’s slogan underpins, For the love of the Horse and the total well-being of the horse. This means keeping calmly focused on being present (see explanation below), yet always open to and accepting of change and influences.
“From this presence I believe we can really begin to distinguish many facts from fabrication – to be as one in the reality of the moments with the horse. By becoming, present, aware and grounded we can become well informed. By conducting ourselves from a calm state of inner peace, and from an attitude of pure gratitude to the Horse we can process the information he’s trying to give us more easily because we are less distracted – we become more aware in that moment. Our concentration and intuition level is heightened, and we can rise above any problems and emotions that may influence/confuse us or the horse and our relationship with them.”
Catherine learnt many years ago that by being present in the moment with the horse she can hear more than most and by her understanding of equine disciplines and the horses requirements she can understand equine behaviour and movement and how via being in the moment she can pin point specific areas of concern, some may call these hot spots or pressure points but Catherine also calls it being mindful to the horse as an individual.
Holistic Approach and Aftercare
Catherine’s approach which is different from many other physical/remedial therapists is that her aftercare is a critical part of how Catherine works with a team and within a horse’s regime. Once a client of Catherine, she will be an integral part of a horses’ care, this includes for example liaising with vets. Having worked alongside Olympic team vets for dressage, driving and show jumping she can help take the mind boggling terminology and help turn it into understandable layman’s terminology.
This essential part of your horse’s wellbeing must be fully understood not only for results to be seen clearly but for the benefits to be recognised and felt for the sports horse. Sports massage therapy aids to an equines optimum well-being and it is Catherine’s priority to support an owner as much as she can to provide a service of the highest integrity.
Sports massage therapy using the mindful touch gives optimum care, ongoing after care and advice as well as physical, emotional and even dare we say, spiritual care. This is why, when all else fails with your horse or something isn’t quite right Catherine comes into her own league offering an Holistic and professional service!