From Infantry to Equine Therapy

Pipestone Flyer

 Thorsby, AB – For 21 years, he marched, trained and proudly wore a Canadian Infantry uniform. Those years included two Peacekeeping tours in foreign lands and teaching dozens of recruits. He was a consummate military man, a good friend, and a dad. Then he met Susan, married her and got a new chance at love and happiness; they settled down in Wetaskiwin, where his wife was born and raised. One of the things they had in common was a passion for horses, so keeping this in mind, he started to prepare for his next career, with the support of the military. He became a student and invested two years of his life to become the proud owner of an official accreditation that would create a dynamic new profession.

 Now, Retired Sergeant Doug Moran is an Equine Massage Therapist, owning several horses and developing the spacious farm that he and wife Sue have settled down in, West of Thorsby.  Following 21 years of a demanding career, helping horses feel better and living in a quiet and beautiful piece of God’s country is as close to heaven as most people would dream of…

 Approaching the end of his military years, Sergeant Moran knew that he had to plan his next career as he was entering his forties: then an event occurred that involved his beloved horse Kalhua, that was going to shape his future.  His horse developed colic, in a grave way, and he desperately needed an urgent solution: a friend sent him instructions to relieve his horse’s pain and discomfort through the massaging of precise pressure points all over the horse’s body, and his horse’s health was restored, in conjunction with veterinary care. Doug was so impressed by this successful treatment that he knew he had to learn more of these techniques.

 Doug had the experience and skills to become a horse trainer, but he felt that a specialty focused on the health and well-being of horses would be more rewarding, and he was totally right! Doug Moran became a Certified Equine Massage Therapist through two long years of studying with the British Columbia College of Equine Therapy, faithfully completing a practicum that provided him a vast experience with various equine ailments, personalities and objectives. With several clients in a one-hour radius and regular referrals from horse owners as well as working with his own seven horses, his days are busy and Doug is happy with his choices.

 To properly describe the nature and ‘feel’ of his treatments, he brought Champ, his 16.2 hands Mustang/Arab/Belgium palomino gelding out of the pasture and into the relatively bug-free and shady bush closest to the house.  While we chatted about what brought Doug to this unique profession, Champ stood there, looking at both us, calm as you’d dream your favorite riding horse to be.  Champ quietly submitted himself to an ‘assessment’ at Doug’s hands that started with the mouth and ended at his rump.

 Doug explained the purpose of his assessments and the treatment that follows: dental health irregularities might cause more serious issues issues so a horse’ mouth has to be checked (once or twice a year). Then the forehead and cervical spine muscles’ perfect alignment have to be checked because these muscles will tell if there are related issues that must be addressed: the hoofs and the symmetrical position of the hips are important regions to scrutinize. Of course, there are health issues that when discovered through such a thorough assessment, must be referred to a specialist, such as an equine dentist, a vet or a farrier.

 Doug shared the story of Lisa Ingleton, deeply attached to her horse Lacey (boarded in Leduc County) who slipped and hurt its back end: when the mare took a long time to recover, losing well over 200 lbs, several vets were consulted and came to the conclusion that she might never heal, be ridden again, or live without pain. Desperately looking for a solution to spare her horse’s life, Lisa was referred to Doug’s Massage Therapy: after numerous weekly massage treatments and a strict fitness routine, her beloved horse was healed, and was amazingly restored to her energetic, fit and healthy self. Lisa is now a firm believer in the healing properties of equine massage therapy, and not hesitant to  refer Doug to other horse owners.

 It isn’t just horses with injuries and health issues that end up requiring Doug’s healing hands.  Horse owners are constantly looking into methods and treatments to keep their horses in top shape, as in fact horses are athletes: so often horse owners consider massage therapy as a regular option to include in their horses’ recipe for good health and a happy disposition. 

 Like humans, horses react to the relaxing and healing benefits of a thorough massage: it can improve circulation, loosen up tense muscles, and restore strength to ailing muscles as well. It is a valuable investment of time to look for a certified, skilled massage therapist with positive referrals.

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