Masterson Method: Bladder Meridian and the horse’s topline

Why I love the Masterson Method (equine bodywork system):

1.) Easy to learn and easy to apply;

2.) Non-invasive and unlike some extreme chiropractic work does not pop or crack joints so no need to worry about doing unintentional damage;

3.) Builds responsiveness between the horse and the handler (who could be the groom, owner, rider, trainer etc…). This helps the horse listen to you and you to listen back and is a great method for beginners to understand how their horse expresses himself;

4.) Teaches the handler the importance of waiting and letting the horse set the pace;

5.) Gives relief to the horse that a beginner to experienced horse person can provide.

Jim Masterson shares a lot of his work online and here is a video about the Bladder Meridian (even better get his book and dvd combo for detailed and professional advice):

Today, I started Dante with the Bladder Meridian and it showed me what I had suspected: pain in the poll, some in the withers, and across the back where the saddle would sit. Sit back and enjoy a lot of photos…

The introspective eye: the horse starts to turn intention inward and shuts down external awareness. You see this when doing bodywork, massage, chiropractic, during some vet examinations, and also during colic or pain episodes. In the first photo, the eye has become half shut but look for the expression in the next two photos where the eye still shows an inward processing, even though fully open:


In the first photo, Dante has flared his nostrils and brought in a deep inhalation; the second photo is just about to lick and chew.



Use your fingertips with the lightest pressure (think barely touching the hair with your fingerpads) move across the Bladder Meridian line (approximately two inches away from the crest/spine line) you are looking for a blink, indrawn breathe, lip tremble, or other signal that you have touched an area that is blocked.

In these next two photos – first Dante started pawing – this is a displacement behavior, and not a sign of release. Other displacement behaviors you might see is shuffling, shifting weight side to side, squirming, moving the head to the side, etc… Be careful that you don’t get stepped on and if the displacement behavior becomes too much, lighten your touch.

After pawing, Dante finally releases in a yawn (second photo in the sequence). Once the release is given, remove your touch and let the horse process.



Indications that a horse has released: sighs, exhales a deep breath, produces gas, yawns, shakes head, sneezes and blows, and/or stretches and flexes. Each horse has its individual manner in which it will release and how much it will show. This is one of the great things about how the Masterson Method builds the relationship between the two of you because it gives you insight into how your horse expresses himself.




I’m reserving Sunday for walks around the property and bodywork. Husband comes with me to the barn that day and between us we get so much more done (I did Dante’s left side and he did Dante’s right for example).

I’ll continue to do the Bladder Meridian throughout the week but until the tooth gets pulled I won’t be doing any further work on the head.

We also did our Core Exercises and I got some nice tail tucks. The back lifts get very little response but with husband helping as a spotter, I can learn to be more effective there.

This entry was posted in chiropractor & massage, Dante, Masterson Method MM, videos. Bookmark the permalink.