The adage “Prevent the problem, don’t wait for the damage!” is excellent when considering does my horse require a massage. Equine Sports Massage, Equine Bodywork, Equine Massage Therapy is a dynamic tool when incorporated into your horses overall program. Subtle changes are, able to be detected in their early stages for intervention and care.

Often you are not aware that there is a problem with your horse until it is too late. Residual muscle tightening which develops as a result of numerous strains and exertions can be responsible for muscle damage.  Age, muscle over development, nervous tension, injury, overuse, cooling down too fast, incorrect shoeing, over stretching, poor nutrition, poor saddle fit, dental problems, bad footing, the unbalanced rider, conformation defects etc can all be contributing factors to an injury in your horse.

It is believed that most stress injuries are accumulative resulting in micro damage to tissues over time. If a muscle is tight or shortened it is strained.  Performance horses are usually worked to the limits of the tissues in order to improve performance.  At first, he may seem a little stiff and is taking longer to warm up. If this is not rectified now, he may begin to look a little off or uneven. This will probably progress until he is noticeably lame.

Equine Sports Massage or Equine Body Work  concentrates on muscles, which cannot secure their own release. When working on soft tissue the fingers and hands evaluate the tension, texture and temperature of the muscle fibres.  A small, adhering bit of tissue of the muscle, it’s tendon or a joint ligament can stop the muscle from functioning properly. This then shortens the muscle and it’s attachments, thus making the rest of the muscle unit overwork and over stretch. This then leads to problems, which you notice in your horse.  Massage restores the freedom of movement and reduces the resistance to motion. The less wear and tear on a horse translates to a longer performance life as well as increased range of motion.

Horse massage is not a new “thing”. In the past skilled grooms were expected to have knowledge of massage. Many of today’s techniques are rediscovered skills, which have been expanded upon. Over 30 years ago, Jack Meagher, author of “Beating Muscle Injuries” introduced the latest approach to sports massage in horses. This form of therapy is now readily accepted and is complimentary to other alternative therapies and traditional horse care.

Horse Massage is used along with conventional and complementary health care as well as proper training techniques, it enables the horse to perform at its optimum level. By itself, horse massage does not attempt to cure anything and I as an equine massage therapist am not allowed to diagnose your horse. Diagnosis should be sought by a qualified veterinarian.