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Benefits of equine massage for your sport horse

Tired and sore muscles can greatly affect your horse's performance and hinder their progress in training. If your horse is tired, suffers from achy muscles, and is stiff, they will have a hard time performing. In this case, the horse might get annoyed and even try to communicate their discomfort to you, making you wonder what's wrong.

When you have a sport horse or a horse in training, it's essential to allow them to recover properly and to ensure they stay happy and comfortable when working. This is where equine bodywork, such as equine massage, kinesiology taping, and red light therapy come in handy.

What is equine massage?

Equine massage is the manipulation of soft tissue for therapeutic purposes. There are different massage techniques and different therapists can use these hands-on methods to soothe and stimulate the horse's muscles. The goal is to increase blood flow in certain (problem) areas of the body to allow for the body to recover faster and to release build up tension and knots.

Equine massage can be used as preventative care, maintenance, and help in recovery. Massage can be supplemented, for instance, with kinesiology taping or red light therapy that allow for better blood flow and promote relaxation, among other things.

Many riders wonder how often massage should be conducted. A good, steady timeframe is once or twice a month for maintenance and preventative care, and weekly for recovery or problem solving (depending on the situation and horse).

What are the benefits of equine massage?

There are many benefits to equine massage which is why it's often used by both amateur and professional riders.

This is how equine massage can help:

  • Promotes physical and mental relaxation

  • Aid in pain relief and improve comfort

  • Increase range of motion

  • Improve posture

  • Reduce muscle tension and stiffness

  • Reduce a risk of injury

  • Improve blood circulation

How do I know if my horse needs a massage?

Sometimes horses may be in such discomfort that they communicate it to you by rearing, bucking, or biting their bit. However, you may also see more subtle signs of discomfort or little tells that tell you your horse might benefit from a massage:

  • The horse may have a hard time turning or bending in both or one direction

  • When you run your fingers over the back while applying a little pressure, the horse may dip their back

  • The horse may have a hard time stretching their neck low and long when riding

  • Your horse may be reluctant to move, take down poles when jumping, or not want to extend walk, trot, or canter

How soon will I see results?

Often times, you may see results already after one session. However, the best results will be received over time and after a few treatment sessions.

Remember! Even when you do start seeing results, that's when it's not time to stop simply because you see improvement. Contingency is key, and falling out of your treatment plan can just bring back the problems you were trying to solve in the beginning.


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