We are blessed at Gypsy Station to have an equine masseuse who has a passion for horses, Melissa Kalember.
Melissa became a certified equine sport massage therapist in 1999. She received her certificate through Equissage, located in Round Hill, Virginia where she learned massage strokes, muscle structure and the benefits of bodywork on the equine athlete. When Melissa returned to California she applied her techniques and then studied how each horse responded. What massage techniques help their musculoskeletal problems? What programs do they need to optimize their athletic performance, and how does one nurture the horse’s emotional state to keep their hearts happy.
Hungry to learn more Melissa began taking courses offered by Equinology. She took Equine Biomechanics and Applied Anatomy taught by Barb Crabbe DVM. In this course Melissa studied the functional anatomy, biomechanical principles, and conformation of the equine athlete. Melissa then studied the physiological effects of exercise on the musculoskeletal system in Equine Exercise Physiology taught by Hillary Clayton DVM. She learned conditioning principles, fitness programs, peaking and tapering strategies, and how to regulate the daily workout for optimal athletic performance.
Branching off from Equinology, Melissa found Diana Thompson, founder of Hands On Horse Care located in the little town of Fulton, just north of Santa Rosa. Diana’s courses offered Melissa intimate instruction of advanced massage techniques, stretching and saddle fitting. It was also with Hands On Horse Care that Melissa began to study Equine Acupressure. She studied the 12 acupressure meridians, traditional Chinese medicine on 100 acupressure points, western medical applications for each point, use of the Chinese herb Moxa, Bach Flower remedies, and how to select acupressure points to improve the physical and emotional health of horses.
Ten years later Melissa is still expanding her knowledge. She is currently studying and reading, Beating Muscle Injuries for Horses, by Jack Meagher, Conditioning Sport Horses by Hillary Clayton, and The Horse’s Muscles in Motion by Sara Wyche.
Melissa approaches the equine athlete holistically. She doesn’t just look at their training program, she studies their lives. What’s their day to day schedule? Turn out time? Riding program? Training regime? Diet? Melissa understands that many factors influence the lives of our equine friends. She studies each one to create a life of comfort and happiness for the rider and their equine companion.