Equine bodywork is one of skills that I have learnt inspired by my own horses’ needs. As an applied equine podiatrist I soon became aware that many of the hoof problems that returned again and again were a result of issues occurring elsewhere in the body.
My own very sensitive horse Blue had several physical issues. Blue had several sessions with an Equinology equine bodyworker before I enrolled on the course myself. I found that equine sports massage benefited him enormously. I have been qualified since 2014 as an equine bodyworker, working throughout Lincolnshire and surrounding counties.
We all have aches and pains at some time in our lives and our horses are no exception. Horses work very willingly for us without complaining. When their muscles become tight and sensitive both we and our horses avoid taking strain by limiting use in that area.
You may have used bodywork or massage for yourself in order to look after your body. Bodywork can help us to continue to be able to perform well. Your horse may also benefit from this approach if you would like him to be able to perform as an athlete, or just for his general well being.
If your horse has soundness and general health issues any possible underlying cause should first be ruled out by your veterinary surgeon. Please note that permission from your vet is required before embarking on equine Sports Massage.
Is my horse trying to tell me something?
Has your horse’s behaviour has changed? Has he started doing any of the following? If so, it may be a good reason to try out an equine sports massage session :-
- his/her performance has decreased
- Your horse shows stiffness/lack of mobility/unwilling to bend in one direction
- The horse shows negative response to being tacked up
- The horse strikes off on the wrong canter lead both ridden and unridden
- Your horse shows handling issues – spookiness to one side or unwilling to pick up a particular foot/limb
- The horse shows negative response to being mounted – ears back, fidgeting.
- The horse refuses jumps.
The Benefits of Equine Bodywork
- Increase your horse’s range of motion and flexibility. For example your horse’s stride may be enhanced, it may become more economical or showing bigger movement.
- Improve Stamina
- Improve your horse’s disposition – again the horse may be trying to tell you that something hurts!
- Provide comfort to Muscle injuries. Bodywork can be part of a rehabilitation process working as a team with other professionals. Bodywork and myofascial release can encourage scar tissue to lie down in better patterns.
- Enhance the performance and gait quality
- Bodywork can improve circulation. Exercise is the best way to increase circulation. If your horse must be kept stabled for any reason ,perhaps due to recovery from injury or illness then massage will be beneficial
- To assess the Physical condition, therefore if your horse has tight muscles I can feel that. I will record the horse’s response. This assessment can provide an indication of how your training program is going and is part of the overall care package.