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Dr. Pat Bona - Doctor of Chiropractic

Frequently Asked Questions

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Commonly asked questions about Posture Prep

What is the difference between the three tools used for horses, humans, and dogs?

All three tools are of the same material, density and design except the handle is twice as thick on the horse tool. All three are very user friendly and designed to be an extension of your hand with 26 massaging fingers that can be used with varying pressure and across the contours of the body. The three tools have different techniques for their use supported with video instructions.

Why are they called Posture Prep and Wellness Prep?

Preparation is the foundation for the success of a project or goal. Good posture is the foundation for health, longevity and performance. Posture Prep will help improve the circulation to skin, muscles and fascia to help improve your symmetry and spinal alignment and posture. Improved body awareness and balance is often noticed.

What does Cross Fiber do?

Cross fiber massage aka transverse friction massage has long been utilized in physical therapy and massage to help release scar tissue and adhesions to areas of skin, muscle and other fascia that has been mechanically stressed by poor posture and body mechanics, injury or even surgery. Cross fiber massage is a type myofascial release. Massage will help improve circulation and lymphatic drainage. It can stimulate acupuncture points and more to ultimately help restore improve joint mobility, function and alignment.

How is Posture Prep tool different than regular horse curry?

It was ergonomically designed to complement the cross fiber system for grooming myofascial release (massage). The teeth are designed to go around the contours, nooks and crannies.

What is the Cross Fiber Technique for horses?

It is a system developed by Dr. Pat Bona to replace the old etiquette of haphazardly doing circular curry motion maybe starting at the neck or shoulder. We ride and drive our horses from the back to the front. So we should “groom” that way as well as for other postural issues as most horses stand head high and hollow in their back.

What is the difference between the green dog tool and the green horse tool?

The design of handle of the horse tool is thicker and firmer than the dog tool. The dog tool has a thinner much more flexible handle to let you truly pet your friend as you massage them.

What are these Dents and Dings in my horse’s shoulders and neck?

Too often they are considered blemishes by equine professionals horsemen alike if they are even seen. Dr. Pat calls them Red Flags: They actually are areas of scar tissue, adhesions in the muscle from a severe contusion/trauma like a kick. A hematoma is a deep bruise and as it resolves and the swelling goes down the body has to replace the damaged muscle tissue with thickened fascia which compromises your horse’s well-being causing compensations in symmetry, posture and even performance. Sometime they are mostly a mechanical restriction, some have more of a pain response like a trigger point.

Why does my dog have Lumps and Bumps around his waist and back?

A thick lumpy and bumpy waist/low back shows signs of tight thickened muscles. Remember fat jiggles. Puppies and dogs alike run hard play hard slip and slide and purposefully take each other. The cumulative stress is micro and macro trauma to our pets and even performance dogs. Often around 1 – 2 years old many dogs slow down and get fatter as well with less self -imposed inactivity from the joint and muscle discomfort and then often putting weight on. You can help your dog feel better and improve their posture and activity. Dogs love it! More videos to come early 2019!

Is there a smaller tool for smaller dogs or cats?

No. As you pet a small dog or cat with your whole hand, the Posture Prep is an extension of your hand with 26 massaging fingers.

Do Cats like them?

Cats are cats, around 50% of the cats love it for massage and general grooming.

What if my horse or dog has conformation flaws?

Conformation is best defined by the boney skeleton and proportions which in an adult horse cannot be changed. Posture is defined by the alignment and symmetry of the skeleton. Good posture can optimize all conformation types. It is the myofascial system/muscles and soft tissue that supports and affects one posture. Cross fiber massage will help to restore.

When is the best time to use the Posture Prep on my horse?

It should be done before you ride whenever and whenever you would curry your horse use the cross fiber system. It is great to do some posture prepping especially in the topline zone or areas you want to reevaluate after your ride. Posture Prep Cross Fiber grooming is a reproducible system to curry your horse with positive intent to help evaluate and warm him up before your work. Using it on your horse after you ride the muscles and fascia will be warmed up and allow you to get a little deeper or address tighter more sensitive areas. Always, always with strokes that are 3-5 inches so you can feel and observe your horse’s response and reaction. Use it before you bathe or to release the sweat marks use the Posture Prep or even a brush to go over the areas in the cross fiber direction to evaluate the horse.

When is the best time to use the Posture Prep on my dog?

Daily or as requested by your dog as part of bonding time. It is often used as a positive reinforcement and training aid to focus a dog prior to an agility run and within training session too.

Why do they get bumps on their skin after I use the posture prep?

Those are areas where the skin was “stuck” and the lymphatics and circulation are starting to “open up.” This is normally a horse that is not comfortable in his or her own skin to start. You are helping their skin/clothes fit and function for them better.

How much pressure do I use?

Great question. First and foremost work within the confines of safety first. Working within your comfort zone and understanding your horse or dog’s tolerance and response and reaction to the pressure. Mindfulness, intent and purpose always to start out lighter to be the skin moving/gliding freely across the underlying tissue. To free up the skin on a sensitive horse or dog you may use the pressure that you use to file your finger nails.

How frequently do I need to groom for good results?

Whenever you are going to ride, drive or work your horse you should do your Cross Fiber grooming. If you pick up a curry do it the Posture Prep Cross Fiber way.

How big of an area should I groom at a time?

On a horse I generally will focus on a section the size of placemat for a dinner table, always with my 3-5 inch cross fiber strokes. I may go back to an area as well as I progress from the hind end to the front end. Remember the basic system for horses especially is back to front, cross fiber grooming the Topline Zone first, Core Zone second and Timing Zone last.

How much time do I spend on a specific area?

When first learning your horse’s reactions and responses to Posture Prepping you may take 1-3 minutes in an area. Overall you may take 20-30-40 minutes with your pre-ride cross fiber grooming. The better you know your horse, the more effective you become judge if you can do a “quickie” Posture Prepping cross fiber session or you need or you want to spend more time.

Always consider what your goals for the day, week, season? Posture is the language of the what is your horse’s posture telling you, what is your body language telling him?

How long before I start to see results?

You may see results the very first day as you start cross fiber grooming. More than likely you will find some very happy areas that your horse will enjoy the new technique! Licking and chewing and relaxing more as you groom is a great result and reward for both horse and human. Posture prepping will help you to become more strategic as a rider as you can often relate what you find as you groom relates to your riding and training challenges. Postural changes may be slight or profound slowly or quickly depending on the dynamics of your interactions and observations with your horse. Do not be surprised if you feel that your warm up and ride goes better from the start the posture prepping system.

What do I do if my horse is very sensitive to the groomer and what does that mean?

Sensitive, reactive (grumpy) or “ticklish” areas are areas of pain or discomfort most likely due to some myofascial restrictions such as adhesions, scar tissue or “trigger points/ knots” in the soft tissues. Technique, technique, technique, short strokes 3-5 inches, across the fibers and starting from back to front. First is to get the horse’s skin moving freer across the muscle and fascia. Skin is the largest organ and is their clothes. Is your horse comfortable in his own skin? Better to go lighter than too hard too fast. Lighten up, like the pressure you would use to file your finger nails stay in a sensitive area only 30-60 seconds, look for release, lick and chew, relaxation and move on.

Posture Prepping post ride is very beneficial too. Tomorrow is another day to fine tune your technique as you groom. Remember posture is the language of the horse and standing four square with all 4 cannon bones on the vertical is a primary goal.

Stomach ulcers, Lyme’s disease, hind gut ulcers, poor saddle fit, nutrition and shoeing/foot issues are all variables that need to be monitored and considered at varying point for your horse’s health well-being and longevity. See out the appropriate professional when needed.

I have a very sore muscle, how hard should I press with the Wellness Prep tool?

The tool is an extension of you hand with 26 massaging fingers. Generally on a pain scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst you never want to use it on yourself or anyone else greater than a 5. Use your intuition and common sense less can be more effective than deeper and harder.

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