SUMCHI Stroke Routine Level 1
Before you start a stroke routine. Allow yourself to slow down, breathe and connect to yourself and your horse. Take a deep breath in and exhale. Lift your shoulders up towards your ears and roll them back. Maybe even encourage yourself to yawn. To create a yawn, take a deep breath and pull your jaw back towards your ears. Are you yawning? These actions may help open your deep frontal fascia line as well as help shift into your parasympathetic nervous system. These shifts will create an atmosphere for an exchange between you and your horse during the SUMCHI stroke routine.
SUMCHI Level 1 Stoke Routine is the foundation routine for the SUMCHI Technique. The routine consists of six basic strokes. The strokes are the HALFMOON, FAN, BUTTERFLY, FROGGY, TEARDROP, and DOUBLE SEVEN.
- Place your supporting hand on the horse’s shoulder.
- Place your Sumchi6 in 2Track on the dorsal aspect of the scapula.
- Stroke back and forth, head to tail and tail to head in a halfmoon shape over the top of the scapula. Stay in this stroke for about 8 full strokes.
The HALFMOON Stroke is the portal to the stroke routine. This stroke mimics the natural action that happens during a mutual grooming session between horses. The stroke is designed to start the SUMCHI connection. The HALFMOON stroke can connect with the subscapular and thoracolumbar fascia and the supraspinous and nuchal ligaments. The key muscles the HALFMOON stroke interacts with are the thoracic and cervical trapezius, latissimus dorsi, rhomboideus and the cervical serratus ventralis.
The HALFMOON Stroke can link into points along meridians such as the Bladder, Small Intestine and Triple Heater.
- Supporting hand placement is on the horse’s shoulder.
- From the HALFMOON Stroke allow the Sumchi6 to swivel into 3Track and glide into the FAN Stroke. Start a back-and-forth action at the base of the wither and caudal aspect of the scapula.
- In this area, create a stroke that looks similar to a fan rake. The length of the stroke can reach the mid-thoracic region. In a back-and -forth sweeping action descend towards the caudal aspect of the scapula.
The FAN Stroke is designed to stimulate the connective tissue of thoracolumbar and subscapular fascia and activate the latissimus doris and thoracic trapezius muscles. The FAN stroke can connect with the longissimus and iliocostal muscles. The tissues in this region are often subjected to compounding pressure from blankets, saddles, and rider. The FAN Stroke can link into points along the Bladder meridian.
- Supporting hand placement is on the horse’s shoulder.
- From the SUMCHI FAN stroke glide down the horse’s topline to the mid thoracic region. Swivel the Sumchi6 into 2Track, and descend down the barrel. Create long strokes and stroke up and down the ribs heading towards the girth region.
- From the girth region behind the point of the elbow, stroke up and down each rib towards the tail. Hold the Sumchi6 lightly in your hand, as it may want to swivel between 2 and 3Track.
- Drive up the last rib, flow back to the wither and repeat the BUTTERFLY stroke +/- 3 times.
The BUTTERFLY stroke is designed to improve the wellbeing of the barrel and start a SUMCHI connection with the ventral aspect of the horse’s body.
The BUTTERFLY stroke’s long flowing action along the barrel allows for a good connection with the intercostal nerves. The intercostal nerves innervate the intercostal muscles and external oblique abdominal muscles. These muscles are important for rib mobility (lung/ diaphragm expansion/contraction) and flexion of the ribs. Stroking up the last rib and returning to the wither encourages the heads of the ribs to move and thereby activates the muscles of the topline (iliocostalis and longissimus). This action also improves the connectivity and balance of the thoracolumbar fascia. The BUTTERFLY stroke can link into powerful points along meridians such as the Spleen, Stomach, and Liver.
“Breathing in (inspiration) and breathing out (expiration) are controlled mainly by the direction of the muscles that lie between the ribs”
(Sara Wyche, The Horse’s Muscles in Motion)
- Supporting hand placement is over the horse’s sacroiliac (SI) area.
- From the BUTTERFLY stroke glide across the topline, over the gluteals and hip joint and decsend to the area of the gaskin.
- Place the Sumchi6 in 2Track, on the soft tissue in front of the point of the hock, on the bottom of the gaskin. With even up and down strokes, move from the tail to head across the Gaskin.
- Try to fit in 5 movements across the Gaskin. In the 6th movement swivel the Sumchi6 into 3Track and stroke up the front of the Gaskin.
- Glide down the front of Gaskin, swivel into 2Track, glide to the soft area above the hock joint and repeat this section of FROGGY 3x.
- From the Gaskin in one stroke, drive up the hamstrings to the top of the tail region. In 2Track, create long flowing strokes up and down the hamstrings. Do this section of the stroke 6x.
The FROGGY stroke is designed to improve the tone of the hamstrings and therefore improve the function of the hip, stifle and hock. The hamstring muscles considered in this stroke are the semitendinosus and semimembranosus. The FROGGY stroke can connect with branches of the sciatic nerve in the region of the tuber ischium. The FROGGY Stroke simulates the horse’s movements during mutual grooming of the hindlimb.
- Suggested hand placement is on the horse’s shoulder.
- Start TEARDROP stroke in 2Track behind the scapula and below the wither, glide along the top line, on the side of the spinal processes.
- Encompass the gluteal muscles, creating a teardrop shape, and drive back to the region below the wither. Repeat with long flowing strokes.
- After a few strokes in one direction, reverse the direction in the TEARDROP stroke, repeat 4 to 6 times
The TEARDROP is designed to improve the fluidity and connectivity of the horse’s back and hindquarter. The TEARDROP stroke interacts with the gluteal and thoracolumbar fascia. The longissimus dorsi, spinalis iliocostalis and multifidi muscles are also considered to be stimulated. The TEARDROP Stroke connects with points along the Bladder meridian.
- Suggested supporting hand placement is below the horse’s wither area.
- From the TEARDROP flow down the cranial aspect of shoulder and back up a similar path. Traverse the dorsal aspect of the scapula, to below the wither. Reverse the stroke and drive towards the poll following the crest of the neck. From the poll follow the same path back to the scapula/ wither area. The shape of this stroke may resemble the mirror image of a seven. Repeat 3x
- *When you are comfortable with your Sumchi6 and SUMCHI Level 1 Stroke Routine add the following section to create the DOUBLE SEVEN Stroke. This will complete your SUMCHI Level 1 Stroke Routine.
- To build the DOUBLE SEVEN Stroke create an upside down “7” on the lower section of the neck. Glide down the cranial aspect of the scapula. At the point of shoulder glide to the inside and connect with the brachiocephalicus. Drive up the brachiocephalicus to the throat latch region. Reverse and glide to the medial aspect of the point of shoulder. Repeat 2x.
The DOUBLE SEVEN is designed to improve the elasticity and flexibility of the neck and shoulders. The DOUBLE SEVEN stroke can link into points along meridians such as the Bladder and Stomach.