How will I know when my horse needs a massage?

The best function of massage is as a preventative. A regular massage can find issues before they become major problems. Signs of problems, though, could include, stepping short, vague backend lameness, refusal of aids or the opposite problem of “running through” aids. Increased lethargy is also a possibility.

Massage is also beneficial for horses that are prone to ‘tying up.’ Horses with back trouble and those that are ‘cinchy’ could need work. The relaxation benefits can also be helpful for horses that tend to colic. Massage throughout pregnancy is most beneficial.

How soon will it be before I see results?

Immediately. A noticeable improvement should be seen and felt after the first massage. With each massage, a deeper pressure can be used as the animal grows accustomed to the therapy.

If you are massaging because of a specific issue, and you do not see improvement after 3 massages, you are probably dealing with something that is not a soft tissue concern.

How long does it take to massage a horse?

Approximately one hour. I work 26 muscle groups on each side of the horse. A full body massage. I do spend time, post massage, with the owner to answer any questions you may have.

My horse seems fine. What will massage do for him?

I recently worked on a Hanoverian gelding, used mostly for dressage. My client said the same thing, “He’s fine, but I’m sure he’d enjoy this.” When I spoke with her a few days later, she was amazed. She didn’t realize that he had that much trot in him. His strides just grew.

Even if your horse is fine, massage can maximize.

If my horse has a problem in, say, the shoulder, why do a full body massage?

Muscle problems are cumulative. If your horse has an issue on his right front, he may be shifting more weight to his left front to compensate. Also, he may be rocking back on his haunches to take the weight off of his front. Then, even when the issue in the right front is resolved, he may still be body sore elsewhere.

Massage will help. By caring for the whole horse, these secondary problems can be averted.

My horse is navicular. Can massage help?

Not with the navicular disease itself, unfortunately. However, with the secondary issues that may occur with navicular disease, yes, massage can help. I have several clients that are navicular, and shoulder tension is a recurring problem. Regular massage has helped.

What does massage do for race horses?

A race horse is one of the ultimate candidates for massage. Each stride counts, and that stride may be worth thousands. They are asked for maximum exertion in the minimal amount of time. Massage is an essential element in the most successful training programs. A pre-event massage will help the muscle system to be in prime performance shape. My race clients do tend to come out of races well with fewer problems, thereby enabling them to be more quickly prepared and strong for the next race.

What does massage do for arthritis and hip dysplasia?

Since massage ia applied to soft tissue, it does not directly work on the joints. However, the increase in circulation that comes with massage has a positive effect in the joints. There is growing evidence that massage helps with the production of synovial fluid, a valuable element in both joints and muscle.

Is massage the same as trigger point therapy or T-Touch?

No. The type of massage That I do is deep tissue sports massage. I actually palpate the muscle to find areas where muscle fibers have begun to adhere, and separate those fibers with massage strokes. Each animal is different, so therefore, each massage is different.

There are so many “new” therapies. Why is massage so good?

First, massage is not new. It pre-dates many modern medical procedures. There are actually statues of Buddha receiving a massage. Prior to the advent of “wonder” drugs in the 20th century, veterinary manuals encouraged the use of massage. It is once again among a growing number of alternative therapies that are being “re-discovered.”

Regular massage can aid in the prevention of these issues. Once a problem exists, massage helps to break up the tight knots of adhering muscle fibers which restrict full muscle extension. Massage will find any damaged or potentially compromised area of muscle and restore it to improved function.

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