Stretching Vs. Pandiculation – What’s the difference and why does it matter?

The Somatic Movement

Let’s look at the key differences between stretching and pandiculation. Pandiculation is used extensively in Clinical Somatic Education to regain the brain’s control of tight painful muscles.

Stretching sends sensory information only as far as the Spinal Cord
When a muscle is stretched, the sense receptors within that muscle send information to the spinal cord to indicate that the length of the muscle has changed, in this case lengthened. The spinal cord in response sends an impulse to the muscle being stretched, triggering a contraction (tightening), it also sends an impulse to the opposing muscle inhibiting a contraction. So, stretching a muscle causes it to respond by contracting. This is counter to what you’re are trying to achieve when you stretch. This is a very basic explanation of the stretch reflex. As you can see the brain is not involved in the process at all, the stretch reflex is a spinal cord reflex

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Heart Horses

Relaxed & Forward: AnnaBlakeBlog


“He’s my Heart Horse,” she says by way of introduction. A hush falls over the room. Or maybe that’s just her expectation; that all within earshot will understand that this particular horse is different, a cut above the standard elite perfection of a horse, and hearing a horse introduced as such, that we will share that owner’s same reverence.

I’m not sure when the term Heart Horse came into our vernacular, but I understand the intention. It’s the designation we give to a special horse in our lives. No, even more special than other horses, even with the understanding that, sure, all horses are special. But no, really, this horse is especially special among the special. He is special-est.

To be clear, everyone tells me that their horse is special. He’s incredibly smart. He has a way of connecting that is so different. He is so sensitive. No, they assure me, so…

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Building the Bubble #5. Just Honor Them

Especially after this week I spend with Equitopia Founder Caroline Hegarty and Dr.Karin Leibbrandt with a small group of very knowledgable people, these words hit right in my heart again.

Relaxed & Forward: AnnaBlakeBlog

Some of us value horses for their physical working ability on ranches, we “use ’em hard.” Decent care, no frills. Some of us think horses were put on the earth to be spiritual healers and therapists; we use them emotionally. Some of us commit to a lifestyle, we call ourselves horsewomen and horsemen, with the accent on the first syllable. We are evolving.

Horse thought balloon: (they’re confusing. they’re confused. about who they are. who I am. some leaders are too hard. some frail, almost invisible. some are all noise. some just crowd me.  some hold fear close, others anger. some have peace. some listen. some accept me. most want to change me. feeling their expectations. anxiety. emotions. good intentions. confusion. loud. shut down or explode. it’s too much busy.  just a horse. always be just a horse

Opinion: I believe with every fiber that horses were…

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Photo Challenge & Poem: Out of This World

This puts so well together all the feelings I had lately ❤

Relaxed & Forward: AnnaBlakeBlog

You are right to be wary of us, 
Little Mare. Your hooded eyes
dark and silent, you must be 
concerned, yet your brows are
smooth. Not even a natural breeze
in your tail, still to your bones.

You betray nothing, no fear or 
warmth. It's easy to imagine you,
foal by your side, moving by day
over hard land. Surviving by 
listening to your inner ancestors.
You're right to keep their counsel.

This is complicated terrain, we're 
predators who ask you to surrender
those instincts. To rein in your 
wildness enough to share our life,
enough that we might find a lost
part of our own nature in yours.

Anna Blake at Infinity Farm
Horse Advocate, Author, Speaker, Equine Pro
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Currently planning upcoming Concept Clinics. 2018 is filling quickly; please contact me here if you would like…

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Video: One horsepower

When you think he’s tired….and he is just fooling you 🙈🙉🙊

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When it’s all worth the struggle

Alright, so my last post was maybe a bit dramatic and contained some blood, but as always in life, after rain comes sunshine.😊

In December 2015, when we had finished the Sarcoid treatment and I was certain again, that Barley was fit for fight, I couldn’t wait to get back on his back again.

I had decided to test some bareback riding in the indoor arena to be able to feel if he is tense or if he relaxes, then a friend gave me a dare

I’m on the way to the barn, meet me half way and ride him bareback on the green

Ok, to be truthful, I didn’t think it was a good idea. Most others wouldn’t dare to ride their horses after only  one week of rest….with a saddle…in the indoor arena, but ok. I thought that he would be so fresh that he would buck me off. Afterwards I could have slapped myself for thinking this way. 

I should know better!!!

First: I should have known Barley better as to compare him with other horses and should’ve trusted him more!

Second:  Just because others say you can’t do it, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it.

Third: I should have known Barley better as to compare him with other horses and should’ve trusted him more.

Fourth: He is the best! ❤

So we walked down to the green. I wanted to be sure that he is cool…and he was 😍!

Voilà! Barley and I after an almost 3 months break. First ride ❣

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Sarcoid killing documentary! Our findings!

This documentary is written 1 year, 4 months and 17 days after the start of the treatment with XXTERRA® herbal paste. The paste was used in 5 applications on the sarcoid. As of now the sarcoid has not returned! 

Remember this? The skin tumor (or equine sarcoid) in Barley’s right ear?

Don’t worry, if you don’t, because you haven’t read this very sporadically writtten blog before, I am a forgiving person. 🙂

If the first picture is already making you exclaim an ‘Ewwww’, but you don’t really know what a sarcoid acutally is, I found a very informing and well explained piece about it for you on  If your horse has something like this, it is a good idea to get it checked out by a vet.

*Disclaimer: GRAPHIC CONTENT!  The following images and/or content may be disturbing to some readers. You will most definitely see blood!


Equine Sarcoid in right ear

The problem with these suckers is, that the treatment also depends very much on the positioning of the sarcoid. A sarcoid can turn up almost anywhere on a horses body. To ‘just cut it out’ wasn’t an option in Barley’s case, because it would have meant to amputate half of his ear.

After some discussion with our vet about our options we decided to go along with the XXTERRA® cream.


1.This is not an advertising for XXTERRA® or Derma GeL®, I merely describe how we treated the sarcoid after receiving approval from our vetenerian, who had first carried out a physical examination on Barley.

2. Just because it says ‘herbal’, it doesn’t mean that you can self-medicate your horse. This is really powerful stuff!!! Please always have a vetenarian give the approval!

The author of this blog

Ok, I guess I am save now, you all have been warned, from here on out you are scroll at your own risk. 😀

Alrighty then, lets get to it…. oh boy, you have no idea how much I have been looking forward to write this post! I didn’t want to jinx it by writing it too early and then having the sarcoid returning after I posted it, but still, fingers crossed!

Here in Sweden you can’t get XXTERRA® at the pharmacy. The vet needs to order it directly from the supplier. After several weeks, I still hadn’t received the package. I called my vet again and she called the company. I was pretty surprised when I heard the reasons when my vet called me back. The company had seen on a document that the sarcoid was in the ear and didn’t want to send the out medicine, at least not until I had confirmed that I am aware of the risks and that I will be careful. As I said, just because it says ‘herbal’ it really does not mean that you can slap it on like some Nivea creme.

I believe it was good that I got this call and it made me really cautious. I clipped the hair in the ear around the sarcoid to be able to secure the adhesive plaster, in which I cut a hole for the sarcoid.

Day 0: October 9th, 2015


D-Day: October 9th, 2015

When I opened the container, I looked at a thick, gooey black-brownish paste. I was not sure if it would become runny when it comes into contact with the body heat (although the ears might not get as warm as other body parts). A makeshift earplug was my solution to beeing able to sleep at night.


Caution: If sarcoid is located in ear, XXTERRA can damage the surrounding cartilage, which might cause a hole.

Since I was informed that XXTERRA® can destroy cartilage, I didn’t want to take a chance on it dropping down into his ear, destroying the cartilage in Barley’s inner ear.

The directions where quite simple…what this really meant, I learned much later.

XXTERRA® is an herbal formulation of bloodroot powder and zinc chloride solution, combined and stirred into a smooth brown paste. Bloodroot contains sanguinarine (the primary component), chelarathrine and protopine, all of which are alkaloids. Zinc chloride promotes inflammation of the sarcoids surface and with the alkaloids, alters the sarcoid cells so they become antigenic to the host. Accordingly, XXTERRA™ alters the antigenicity of a sarcoid to stimulate the host’s immune system and result in an immune rejection reaction of the sarcoid.

Directions: Apply to sarcoid once daily for 4 days. Rest for 10-20 days. Repeat process if tumor has not sloughed. Bandaging: if possible bandage area after application and check in 5-7 days. Repeat process if needed. May require additional applications.


Day 0: October 9th, 2015


I wanted to be as accurate as possible applying the paste. So I chose to use a small paintbrush. Only covering the sarcoid,but nothing around.

After that I tried to bandage the ear. I can tell you that it’s actually quite a challenge in my opinion to bandade an ear, so I was pretty proud over the endresult. 🙂


Looks pretty neat, ay?

This is how I dared to throw him out again with his pasture buddies, accompanied with a little prayer that please nobody would try to investigate his funny looking ear closer.

Day 1: October 10th, 2015

Barley was definitely irritated. As you can see, the underlying skin around the sarcoid is red and the ear started to feel more fleshy, it started to swell. I was really surprised by such a reaction within the first 24 hours already.


Day 1: October 10th, 2015

Day 2: October 11th, 2015

It took about 10 minutes before I was even allowed to touch his ear. A lot of calming, carrots, soothing talks were required to be able to remove the bandage. Not much change to the appearance though. Getting the bandage back on was also more difficult, but he was a good boy! After a deep inhalation he seemed to give up and I was able to put a new one on.


Day 3: October 12th, 2015

We had a lenghty discussion about ‘following through with something’. I had to inform Barley that even though he is really angry with me, I am doing this to his benefit and that we need to follow through. I was somehow able to remove the bandage and brush on some more XXTERRA®. A picture was not possible since he was constantly moving his head. All I got was blurs. And no, no picutre of the bandade either. In retrospect I don’t even  know how I got it on there…..that said, you can expect it to be much less neat and tidy as the first one!

Day 4: October 13th, 2015

He is having a bit of a high temperature ! It’s frost outside, he has not done any work and his temperature is 38,7°C. 😦 His level of grumpyness is still pretty high, too. I am quite happy that we are going to have a break after today. I do believe that he will never ever let me touch his ear again if we make it through this alive!


Day 8: October 17th, 2015

Well, it did start to look different, didn’t it. The bandage came off, so I had to make a new one. He even lost his earplug, I wonder if he had some help. Thankfully it looked as there was no damage done to it. In my mind it appeared to have shrunk, like a raising or so. And yes, it got more and more difficult to get a clear picture. Poor guy had a fever already for days now. I never would have thought that this small thing, incrusted with XXTERRA® could cause him so much pain that he’s fevering. I am really heartbroken for my little shrimp right.


Day 8, October 17th, 2015


Day 11: October 20th, 2015

l couldn’t believe my eyes. When we came to the stable after work, there was Barley, in his box, without the bandage…..but with a hole in his ear where ther sarcoid used to be! Heureka!! Even though it was dark, we made the effort to find it in the pasture. It was perfectly preserved, it didn’t even got dirty. The days prior had been frosty so the ground was solid and nobody (read ‘horse’) seemed to have tampered with the evidence.


Day 11: October 20th, 2015

The bandage was naturally formed like a cone and the sarcoid layed nestled inside of the cone.


Day 11: October 20th, 2015

Oh yeah right, and here the picture of his ear 😀


Day 11: October 20th, 2015 Ear minus one sarcoid! Heureka!

Then the euphoria vanished. Looking closer at it, it really looked like only the lump had fallen off, but the wound did not seem ‘clean’. My heart sank. That meant that I had to continue and put more ointment on a now open wound. I was aware that that must hurt like hell when the first part already had inflicted so much pain.


Day 19: October 28th, 2015

His temperature is going up and down but never really away, it’s somewhere between 38,8°C – 39.4°C.Since he developed his temperature I did not ride him. Poor guy was going through enough already. We took walks together outside instead. In my opinion I don’t gain anything by persisting on riding while his immune system obviously was fighting a huge battle. I just had the ointment on once, in a thick layer and then I left it alone as much as possible. He is now free from the bandage, but I still kept the earplugg in his ear…just in case.


Day 19: October 28th, 2015



Day 22: October 31st, 2015

The ear started to look more fleshy again and is mood is to be described with *grumpy times 10!!!* Temperature has not been below 39.0°C since day 19.


Day 22: October 31st, 2015


Day 22: October 31st, 2015 in better light

Day 28: November 6th, 2015

November 6th, 2015, also known as the ‘BHD’ the big hole day. Normally this would require a blog posting on its own, but for the sake of this documentary I will keep it short.

His ear had developed a lumb on the backside of his ear. When I tried to touch his ear, he warned me. He pinned his ears back and was biting the air with such a force that I thought he is going to chip another tooth. Man was he angry!

Ok, another lump and such behavior = NOT GOOD! We had to have a better look. But all good talks, treats, petting etc. did not help. He was just not having it! He spinned around in his box and did EVERYTHING to avoid us touching his ear, although he still seemed to be careful not to injure us at that point. Suddenly I had removed the crust that was on the wound, it just popped out. Don’t know really how and we don’t know how it looked either. It fell into the peat bedding never to be found again, but suddenly Barley had a huge hole in his ear.


Day 28: November 6th, 2015 – big hole day

I was able to make a picture, he seemed like in chock directly after it had fallen out. Then I started to panic. Guess what, yeah, *ding, ding, ding, ding, ding* – this happened on a Friday evening at about 8pm. I didn’t care, I called my vet, whom I trust and who was not on duty that night and who thankfully answered my call! ❤  I had sent her the picture a minute before I called and we discussed what would be the best thing to do. I told her the options I had in my first aid suitcase…which includes almost everything you can legally get your hands on without being an actual vet. The choice fell on Veterinus Derma Gel®

We were 3 people in his stable. 1 guy and 2 strong horse women! He slammed us all into the wall like we were nothing! All 3 of us at the same time!

Our chance to use a sedative gel was blown, I wouldn’t be able to get anything under his tongue. I hated it, but we had to use the twitch, before either one (or all) of us would get seriously hurt. I put on my gloves on and put as much Derma Gel on there as possible. Anne put on the twitch and we waited until his eyes became a little drowsy. Glenn still held his head with both hands on the halter and we all talked the baby talk….and with a swift movement I stuck my finger in the hole in his ear and placed the highest possible amount of Derma Gel in the wound.

Day 30: November 8th, 2015

We didn’t even bother to come close to the ear the day after the BHD and this is as far as I was allowed to get with my mobile on day 2.


Day 30: November 8th, 2015 – 2nd day after big hole day

Day 31: November 9th, 2015 – 3rd day after BHD

His temperature was back to normal, 37.3°C. 😀 He seemed to have forgiven us – to some extend, he remained highly suspecious every time I came with my hand close to his head. It was heartbreaking, he acted like he had received a beating. I tried to console myself with the fact that he at least wouldn’t have another summer with an irritated, possibly infected, bloody lump in his ear that seemed to be a feast for flies and other insects.



Day 31: November 9th, 2015 – 3rd day after BHD

Day 36: November 14th, 2015 – 8th day after BDH

After a lot of work with building up trust, I was allowed to touch his ear again. I believe it also took Barley some time to recognize that it was not hurting as much as before anymore, since he obviously had to go with some pain over quite some period of time. And will you please look at that! I had been able to put on some Derma GeL® only once and this is how good it looked after only 8 days! To say the least, I was very, very happy!



Day 36: November 14th, 2015 – 8th day after BDH

Of course I wanted to make sure that there is not another absess building under the crust. I was able to remove it without much fuzz from Barley, which really confirmed that his pain level had diminished quite a bit.


Day 36: November 14th, 2015 – 8th day after BDH


The wound still looked clean, not that deep anymore, and as you can see, I was still allowed to touch his ear after I had removed the crust. It did not smell badly and the surrounding tissue wasn’t reddened either.


Day 36: November 14th, 2015 – 8th day after BDH

Day 43: November 21st, 2015 – 15 days after BDH

I was sooo happy to see how fast this big whole actually healed – but better safe than sorry.


Day 43: November 21st, 2015 – 15 days after BDH

When there is some fluid att the edges of the crust…better remove, clean and put on some more Derma Gel! 🙂


Day 43: November 21st, 2015 – 15 days after BDH

Day 48: November 26th, 2015 – 20 days after BDH

There is the light at the end of the tunnel!!


Day 48: November 26th, 2015 – 20 days after BDH


Day 54: December 2nd, 2015 – 26 days after BDH


Day 54: December 2nd, 2015 – 26 days after BDH

Day 78: December 26th, 2015 – 50 days after BDH


Day 78: December 26th, 2015 – 50 days after BDH

Day 81: December 29th, 2015 – 53 days after BDH

And the hole is closed! 😀 Temperature 37.4°C = perfect!

No swelling to be found, I was able to touch his ear without any reaction by him.


Day 81: December 29th, 2015 – 53 days after BDH

As mentioned in the beginning, since we are talking about a very delicate part of the horse with lots of nerv ending and blood vessels and cartilage, I tried to be as careful as possible with the use of XXTERRA but his surrounding cartilage was still damaged. He has now a little kink in his ear, as a permanent reminder of our struggle with the sarcoid. So I hope that my warnings don’t fall on deaf ears when I say that also a “herbal ointment” or a “natural remedy” can be very effective and is to be taken with a lot of caution!


Day 81: December 29th, 2015 – 53 days after BDH

That’s it for now, folks!

I hope this was interesting and educational and that our example maybe can be of some help.


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