The Horse and Rider Connection

Restoration & Maintenance through Equine Massage Therapy

Frequently Asked Questions

Massaging horse on stool Massaging the shoulder

Why would you massage a horse?

Performance horses are athletes. Human athletes are cared for in many ways, one method being Sports Massage. Professional Equine Sports Massage is based on this time tested technique. Poor performance is often attributed to musculoskeletal problems. The increased blood circulation provided by massage, aids in the reduction of muscle soreness and stiffness. Muscle tension, adhesions and spastic muscles are alleviated, improving the suppleness and flexibility of a horse. This suppleness manifests itself in increased range of motion, stamina, and improved performance. Massage assists in speeding recovery time from work and injuries, which is good news for eventers, performance horses at long shows, and treasured lesson horses. (Massage is not a diagnostic practice. An ESMT is not a veterinarian. We work with your veterinarian. We do not replace the guidance of your veterinarian.) Massage can aid in calming both mental and physical tensions allowing the horse to relax in stressful situations, or ones of overuse. The benefits of massage are numerous.

But I own a pleasure horse/pasture puppy. Why would he need a massage?

Many horses live with poor gaits, or even bad attitudes, from old holding patterns. I.e., the horse favored an injured leg in the past, possibly before you owned him/her. Even though the injury has healed, he/she still holds himself the old way (gets about the compensated way he worked around the injury.), affecting his present performance. Massage helps alleviate the old muscle adhesions and release the old holding pattern. Many times I have come across a horse with what the owner termed a "Bad personality/characteristic" that was simply the horse saying, "Hey, this hurts/feels uncomfortable. Help me, or leave me alone!" The sweeter horses will do what you ask, but they aren't happy about it, or they suffer in silence, and you end up with a medical problem down the road when the whole system fatigues and collapses. Massage is a good maintenance practice. It keeps a horse supple and flexible, preventing injury and helping him stay healthy. A simple stretching routine incorporated into your grooming/work routi ne will also help keep your horse limber. I teach these techniques after a session.

What happens during a session?

I begin the session introducing myself to your horse with his favorite soft brush, while you fill out a health history form and some paperwork. You will be telling me of your concerns, his work habits, past history, injuries, etc. I then do an evaluation as he stands, walks and trots. Back in his stall I do an overall gentle palpitation, and begin the massage. We work together for about an hour. I then get back to you and discuss what I discovered during the massage. The session often ends with a demonstration of appropriate stretches you can incorporate into your horse's routine.

How do I become an equine massage therapist?

Check out Equitouch at http://www.equitouch.net/ .