|Your Dog and Horse Home Care Health Program Starts Here|
Exclusive Case Studies Canine & Equine
EQUINE MASSAGE SIMPLIFIED
You know how good you feel after a massage. Believe it or not, your horse might enjoy, and benefit from one too. In this article, learn all about the benefits of equine massage to sooth your animal’s aches, or just spend enjoyable time together.
Massage is one of the oldest forms of healing and has been used from ancient times to the present. Ancient Chinese and Romans already practiced some form of animal massage. The benefits of massage therapy no longer need to be proven. Such therapy has become widely accepted and recognized by the traditional medical community. Today, the animal world has strongly benefited from the progress of modern sport medicine.
Massage therapy is the manipulation of the soft tissues of the body to achieve specific goals of drainage, relaxation, or stimulation, as well as the release of muscle, tendons, ligaments and fascia tension. Regular massage contributes to the overall economy of the body and to its ability to function efficiently.
Active Horses, like human athletes, often play and train hard. Unfortunately, such demanding physical efforts often result in soreness, stiffness and sometimes in injuries and pain. Massage can help you minimize these problems, and maximize your animal fitness by keeping your Horse flexible and muscle stress free.Benefits of Massage
Massage therapy allows us to trigger the body's ability to help itself back to health. Here are some of the most important benefits.
The four T’s
Your fingers work like probes, quickly feeling, and assessing what they touch, knowing almost instinctively how to adjust your pressure and massage move. You will be amazed to find how fast this heightened perception will develop in you. You can see the video #EV002 for visual guidance, just as if Jean-Pierre was there to teach you.Pressure, Contact, Rhythm
The key to a successful massage is in the mastering of pressure, contact, and rhythm.
Proper posture & Positioning the Horse
When to massage your Horse
Several factors will determine the length of a massage.
The relaxation massage routine should last three to five minutes on any given horse. However, if it is your horse’s very first massage you can stretch it to eight or ten minutes, emphasizing softness, both touch and voice. Praise your horse all along in order to gain his trust.
The full body light massage should last from fifteen minutes for small breed, up to thirty minutes for larger horses.
Warm-up and/or cool-down massage routine should last ten to fifteen minutes depending on horse’s size.
Specific work on a body part should not exceed ten minutes. You do not want to risk overworking the structures involved.
Keep in mind that some horses might become restless after thirty or forty minutes massage. However, with practice, most horses will learn to relax quicker and enjoy longer massage sessions.Frequency of massage sessions
The horse’s present condition and your massage aims will dictate the frequency of your massage sessions. For example:
A regular massage schedule will lead to faster and lasting results. The Horse will love you for it, and it won’t be long before he begs for your massage attention.
Your Horse’s feedback signs
Some sure signs of relaxation are:
Always monitor your Horse’s body language constantly, and adjust your work accordingly.
Contra-indication to massaging your Horse
If any of these conditions exists, or if any unknown symptoms arise, consult your veterinarian first.
Massage as diagnostic tool.
Common Stress Areas
Horses involved in strenuous activities will always demonstrate a liking to being massaged in these parts. Regular massage attention to these common stress areas will keep muscular tension to a minimum and secure an optimal function of the musculoskeletal apparatus.
These massage techniques can be used separately or in any combination during a massage session to ensure positive results.
Horse massage is easily learned, easily applied, costs very little and leads us to a much richer relationship with our horse and results in better caring for his needs. With practice you will be able to "see" with your hands and listen as your horse’s body "tells its own tale.” This is the most efficient way to contribute to your horse’s overall wellness and fitness while making his world a better place.
In the book, “Equine Massage, A Practical Guide” written by Jean-Pierre Hourdebaigt, LMT, and published by Wiley, you will find everything you need and want to know about massage movements, pressures, rhythms, techniques and sequences. Different routines are specifically designed for different situations. You will also learn about the various musculoskeletal structures, the areas of stress in an active animal and the potential stress sites.
I hope you enjoyed this article and found the information useful. My goal is help you provide quality home care for the benefit of your animal.
Please visit our FREE library. Our many articles address important aspects of animal wellness and fitness. Take the time to scroll through our free library to find out how you can actively contribute to your horse’s wellness.
Animal Awareness also offers a large video library with over a 100 mini-videos that will show you how to easily perform the various massage and stretching techniques talked about in this article, and more. These videos offer you the correct start and visual guidance. With this knowledge, you will be able to develop a good home care program for the benefit of your animal friend. He will love you for it.
Enjoy your new Awareness!
Jean-Pierre Hourdebaigt, LMT
The “Proper Positioning For Efficient & Safe Massage” (EV001), the “Hand Sensitivity – The 4 Ts” (EV002), the “Basic Massage Movements – Pressure & Rhythms” (EV003), the "Relaxation Massage Routine” (EV004), the “SEW/WES Approaches” (EV005), the “Full Body Massage” (EV006) and the “Stretching Exercises” (EV007) DVDs are the foundation of your work.
If you are just starting with your home-care program, consider our “Introduction to Animal Massage” package,a 20% discount value on the first 7 DVDs, to secure a sound foundation in your animal massage skills. Then take advantage of our other packages to increase your knowledge of home-care protocols for the benefit of your horse(s).