Spring is Here, Stop Hibernating, and let’s not get Angry!


Spring is a happy time. The spring grass is emerging, and the animals love the return of longer days of sunshine, and warmth of the Spring air.

In TCM, spring is represented by the element Wood.  Wood represents birth and newness. Wood governs the spine, joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons, and the eyes.  A Wood energy imbalance can lead to spinal problems, poor flexibility, arthritis and eye problems.

The Wood element governs the liver.  The Liver meridian is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi , and smooth flowing Qi means balanced health, vitality, and balanced emotions.  The emotion associated with the liver, and the wind of spring, is Anger.  If your animal’s liver energy is imbalanced their Qi will be disrupted and they can become irritable, and even angry.

Spring into action and perform acupressure to balance the Wood element, and balance the liver. Spring into action, and give your animals and your clients animals a Spring Acupressure Session.

Massage the following points clockwise with your thumb, for thirty seconds on the right of  side of the animal, and then do the same on the left.

  • Liv3 , the Source Point of the Liver Meridian, to promote the smooth flow of Qi, and balance the emotions.
  • LI11, to help support the immune system. Extremely, helpful for animals with allergies.
  • Sp6, Three Yin meeting to promote Yin energy, and balance Kidney, Liver, and Spleen

Caution Spring is also when many of our animals are pregnant, remember DO NOT  perform acupressure on pregnant animals!!!!

In addition, this is the time to increase your animal’s activity. You animals need to come out of hibernation. Walk you dogs more often. If your horses have been off work all winter, start doing your ground work, and light riding. The increase in activity will be helpful for them, and you!

To learn more go to www.rmhhai.org for free newsletter, and six free online animal and human acupressure lessons, or contact Beth Pelosa, RMSAAM’s Animal Acupressure Instructor, and Professional Animal Acupressure and Massage Practitioner for more information 303-746-7786.  Check our website for RMSAAM acupressure courses taught by Beth Pelosa www.rmsaam.com

Company Spotlight: Centaur Trainology



A few years ago while in the Netherlands I met Dr. Menke Steenbergen, a young Dutch veterinarian who was developing a company called Centaur Trainology. As a high level dressage rider and coach, she had been exposed to the research of rein tension, especially with dressage horses. Wanting to focus on preventative health care and equine welfare, she and her team had gone through many prototypes and researched what other companies had investigated, as they developed their own version of a rein tension device (RTD). Through the past several years they have worked out kinks, developed software, and improved the technology. Now they are confident to offer highly reliable, light-weight rein tension devices that wirelessly transmit data to a program on the computer. This has proven to be incredibly useful for riders and trainers, coaches and consultants, veterinarians, and researchers.


Olympic dressage riders like Imke Schellekens Bartels have tested out the system, and happily use it with their own training and coaching. She and others want to know what is actually happening in the horse’s mouth as they train and ride. Veterinarians who work on specific regions of the equine body also find this device useful; from back problems to dental care to lameness to bit fitting. More and more practitioners are looking at the horse as a whole, where the mouth connects to the poll, to the back, to the legs, etc. By understanding what is happening at the mouth, it may be possible to reveal the source of other lamenesses and problems.

Dr. Steenbergen and her team of representatives around the world are eager to promote more conscientious training, riding, and competition practices. She has also written a book entitled Horse Signals: Look, Think, Act available in English that investigates equine behavior by looking at hundreds of tiny signals that give you a more solid idea of how your horse is doing and how you can improve working with them.

For more information on Centaur Trainology, rein tension devices, Dr. Steenbergen, or her book, the website is: http://www.centaur.pro/en/ or info@centaur.pro

Written by Callie Rulli, Skylark Animal Bodywork, LLC

Neuroscience: the Basics

Neuroscience…such an intimidating name for the study of the nervous system. There’s the joke that a brain surgeon goes to a party, and after asking each person what their job is says, “Well, it’s not exactly brain surgery!” After thoroughly angering everyone at the party, he is introduced to another guest who works for the space administration. “Ah, I’m a brain surgeon!” he pompously states. The other man cocks his head and replies, “Well, it’s not exactly rocket science is it?”

The nervous system, in simple terms, is how the body communicates with its many parts. The brain, brain stem, spinal cord, and nerves are the general make-up of this complex system. They all work together to keep the body safe and in working order.

There are many types of sensory nerves and neurons that communicate different types of information with the brain: pain, temperature, light levels, smells, flavors, pressure, proprioception, sounds, and more. All of these help keep the body safe and well-informed in space.

Why are these diverse and well-developed sensory pathways important? Some animals have developed very protective exteriors, like shells and calloused skin. Human, dogs, horses, etc. have not, so we all have developed a very sensitive “warning” system. Pretty nifty, right?

The central nervous system (CNS) is comprised of the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system (PNS) is comprised of all of the nerves and ganglia (cluster of nerve bodies) that lie out in the periphery. The autonomic nervous system (ANS) controls the viscera and involuntary function. The ANS can be divided into two categories: sympathetic and parasympathic. These are how the body responds to external stress—either things are “rest and digest” (parasympathetic), or “fight or flight” (sympathetic).

Those are the basics of neuroscience….stay tuned for more on this incredibly interesting body system!!

By Callie Rulli, Skylark Animal Bodywork, LLC

Who Opened the Gate for that Dog?


Written by Beth Pelosa

The 4 gates is an acupuncture point combination consisting of 2 different points; Liver 3 and Large Intestine 4, stimulated at the same time bilaterally. Since acupressure practitioners only have two hands, and don’t use needles, the gates are opened one side of the body at a time.

Liver 3 is a source point. It is known among practitioners as the most important point for stagnation of the inner body. Liv3 is helpful in animals to disperse stagnant liver energy and harmonize the liver energy. Liv 3 is known to help with detoxification, calming effect on the nervous system to alleviate restlessness, irritability, stress, and anxiety, low back pain. This point gets energy moving!   Liv 3 on a dog is located on the medial aspect of the 2nd toe, located between the 1st and 2nd metatarsal bones.

Large Intestine 4 is a source point. Large Intestine 4 balances the Large Intestine meridian. It is helpful when used to strengthen the immune system, helps reduce skin irritations, allergies, to clear heat and inflammation , to help any type of problem with the face which including TMJ. It is used for PAIN anywhere in the body. LI 4 on a dog is located in the webbing of the dew claw.

Together, these points circulate the free flow of qi and blood through the body. They help to open all the meridians, increase circulation, and decrease pain anywhere in the body. The 4 Gates can also be used for animals rescued from abuse to help release emotional issues such as feelings of being trapped or stuck in a situation.

Stimulate both points of the right side of the dog for 30 seconds, or less if you get a release, such as a lick, chew, yawn bark, or passing gas. Repeat on the right side.

Your dog will be happy you opened the gates!

If you are interested in becoming a Large and or Small Animal Massage or Acupressure practitioner, go to the Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure website for practitioner course information and dates www.rmsaam.com.

For private acupressure sessions for your dog or horse contact Beth Pelosa, Certified Large and Small Animal Massage and Acupressure Practitioner, and RMSAAM’s Animal Acupressure Instructor.

For an appointment or more information, Beth can be contacted at: 303-746-7786 bpelosa@rmhhai.org or visit Beth’s website Rocky Mountain Holistic Healing Arts Institute and sign up for her free newsletter, and receive 6 free online human and animal acupressure lessons. www.rmhhai.org

Success; when it becomes a thorn on your side

There is a very special ingredient to success – humility. (Image: Sandi Martinez)

There is a very special ingredient to success – humility. (Image: Sandi Martinez)

by Sandi Martinez

Try… and try again until you succeed. We hear this in many various forms and perhaps is even a quote somewhere. Time, energy, more time, and still more energy, and sloshing through doubts and insecurities – a time when you are being measured. When we succeed at something we set a high standard not only for ourselves, but for our peers. For without the proof, a way to measure success, it wouldn’t matter now would it?

There is a very special ingredient to success – humility. We have suffered, sacrificed, given up many things we thought we would like or enjoy better – or worse – would be more realistic and in our best interest to take a different route. Still, we chose to continue… why? With so many voices including our own, is the determination to continue on the ‘unknown’ path; the least tread and possibly the most frightening – where no man or woman has gone before.

And then as if a breath of fresh air or clouds parting on a rainy day, the sun slices through the sky we get there, success! We receive well-earned accolades, recognition, and respect for our hard-earned success. But with success comes commitment. The kind that takes up even more of your energy, more of your time, and increases the pressure a few notches more than where it was before.

Perhaps a bit of your old self is being filed away a bit at a time. Suddenly, the small amounts of free time you did have are now taken up by volumes of additional responsibility and expectation from others. Now time with your family, friends, and loved ones is being eaten up by what’s expected of you.

But I have an important question for you: What do you expect of yourself and how do you plan on carrying it out realistically, while balancing your family, friends, and professional life? Perhaps you might find that a bulleted list of helpful hints might be just what you need but instead, RMSAAM is asking you to come up with your own!

And we’ll take it a step further, and ask you to share it with us! We’d love to hear about the challenges and obstacles that became the stepping stones to your ultimate success as an animal body-worker, and what you considered to be thorns on your side on your way to success. Because a thorn on our side may not just be painful or uncomfortable but a reminder: What appears as an obstacle is merely a red flag that something is amiss in our plans. Stand tall, plan well, and prepare to reap the rewards of your success and do so with humility, for without it, you are just another blooming flower amongst hundreds, growing on the same row and in the same field.

Stand out, stand proud, and grow tall!

The New Frontier of Ultrasound

With my Acadia Equine Rehabilitation intern hat on, I accompanied Jenny and a client horse to the veterinarian for some diagnostics on the back: x-rays and ultrasound. As we trekked to Littleton Equine Medical Center, Jenny told me about Cooper Williams, a veterinarian who has revolutionized veterinary diagnostics with his use of the ultrasound. One of the vets at the Littleton clinic has studied courses with Williams, and we were excited to see what he would have to show us.

We looked at the x-rays, and then Jenny and I excitedly crowded around the vet and his ultrasound machine as he ran the probe along the horse’s topline. He pointed out markers of what we were looking at, showing us the shapes of the vertebrae and ribs sloping healthfully out. X-rays do not reveal soft tissue injuries, but the ultrasound is able to, so he took screen shots bilaterally to show us a damaged muscle and the opposing healthy version. We “ooo-ed” and “ahhhh-ed”, and then quickly made our way to the next room for the last ultrasound diagnostic. (Stopping briefly to peek in on a colic surgery, fascinating to see the portion of intestine out and moving from peristaltic contractions!)

For this version, the ultrasound probe is inserted rectally, similar to pregnancy checking in mares. In this scenario, however, the probe is rotated dorsally to “see” the vertebral column and sacroiliac (SI) area. Our eyes were bulging in excitement as the kind vet pointed out nerve bundles, the lumbar vertebrae, the location of the spinal cord, etc. He then rotated the probe to show us each SI joint, with the look of the bone and connections.

As we walked the horse back to the trailer, we bubbled in awe about what ultrasound can show. This truly is a fascinating diagnostic tool that is gaining more and more recognition for its ability to reveal soft tissue injuries. Talk about a nerd-ily awesome day!

Written by Callie Rulli – Skylark Animal Bodywork

International Society for Equitation Science (ISES)

ISESWritten by Callie Rulli-Skylark Animal Bodywork

This week, the spotlight is on the International Society of Equitation Science (ISES). This non-profit organization and membership pool encourages international scientific research and study of horse training to improve the horse-and-rider interaction. It promotes Equitation Science: a multidisciplinary, evidence- and science-based approach to understanding the welfare of the horse during training and use.

There is a conference annually in different locations around the world, and each year there is a slightly different theme. Top researchers from leading institutions in equine science gather to present research from themselves and student, give talks, and have question-and-answer panels on the issues of focus. It is an incredible opportunity to meet scientists and equine enthusiasts from all around the world, and gain perspective on how the equine industry is changing. There is strong emphasis on student research, where university-level students have the opportunity to present their own research. The local organizing committee also organizes outings in the area of the conference. These can be farm tours, racing facilities, breeding farms, schools, veterinary centers, training barns for Olympic trainers and riders, and notable equine-related places.

There is research on donkey welfare with its use in African countries, use of nosebands in dressage, bit fit and use, saddle pressure and fit, humane feeding and stabling practices, rein pressure, and welfare of the sport horse. With an added emphasis of education, they also encourage university students to perform and present their own research as well. Technological developments also come to light at the conferences; rein tension devices to measure rider hand pressure have come light-years in development. Pads that measure saddle pressure distribution and fit, biomechanical analyzing tools, x-rays for bit fitting, and more.

I personally have gone to two conferences so far: Netherlands in 2011 (“Equitation Science: Principles and Practices – Science at work ”), and Delaware USA in 2013 (“Embracing science to enhance equine welfare and horse-human interactions”). The networking connections launched me into the career path I’m involved in with equine science. I have met so many fascinating people from all over the world, all of them excited to see young people involved. This is an incredible organization, full of amazing people who want to see horses better understood by people who interact with them.

For more information, check out their website or facebook page!