Equine Sports Massage | Holistic Care for Animals by Taranet

All Horses Can Benefit From Massage, Learn How

pair of white horses

How To Help Your Horse With Equine Sports Massage?

Equine sports massage is the therapeutic application of a variety of massage techniques. These have been long recognized to have many benefits including:

  • increasing circulation and range of motion,
  • relieving muscle spasm/tension,
  • enhancing muscle tone,
  • improving the horse's stamina and overall performance.

Equine Sports Massage can be used both for prevention (lessen injury risk caused by strain or fatigue). Or rehabilitation following injury.

What Happens In An Equine Sports Massage Session?

A qualified Equine Massage Therapist will carefully assess your horses' confirmation including on the lunge in walk, trot and canter to ascertain any problems causing or likely to affect its work. An important element of the treatment is the use of passive stretching exercises for the horse, these are usually completed at the end of the massage session once the muscles have softened, also can be used at the end of ridden/training exercise.

The therapist will encourage the owner to incorporate simple stretches into the horses daily routine. This will attain optimum results and often an individual work programme will be drawn up so that the horse can obtain maximum results. By using passive stretches your horse can improve flexibility of muscles and joints as well as improving circulation to tissues.

Why Will Your Horse Benefit From Massage?

There's several reasons including:

  • Before exercise and after exercise, to warm up and cool down
  • Horses who are on box-rest or not ridden regularly to help keep muscles in good health.
  • If your horse is one-sided, or gets unbalanced when being ridden. It could be because of muscular discomfort. Which massage can help ease and soothe.

With problems when riding, correct training is essential too, (find a good coach/instructor if needed!). But get your horse seen by a professional equine massage therapist to identify muscular problems and help resolve.

Potentially, any level of horse can benefit - whether a competition, leisure or retired horse.

Do You Need Veterinary Permission?
If your horse is injured or has an illness, yes veterinary advice should be sought before your animal is referred to an Equine Massage Therapist. As well as this being a legal requirement, usually the therapist will be keen to discuss the progress of your horse with the Veterinary Surgeon - thus in turn improving the benefits of the sessions.

Additionally, there are some circumstances where it maybe inappropriate to use massage and so it's important your therapist understands your horse's relevant medical history.

But … if your horse is having a massage purely for relaxation and maintaining good health, then in 2020 the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeon's clarified that veterinary permission is not required.

Will My Equine Sports Massage Therapist Be Qualified?

There are various equine massage courses that can be taken, and it's important to choose a therapist who has the appropriate qualifications. Choosing a therapist who is a member of the Equine Sports Massage Association (ESMA) will mean that they are fully qualified and insured. Members of the ESMA have achieved a rigorous qualification in Equine Sports Massage, are qualified in human massage, are experienced horse people, passed relevant examinations, hold full insurance and complete continuous professional development each year.

The Association of Complementary Animal Therapies also offers membership to those therapists who've completed accredited courses, such as those run at The Institute of Complementary Animal Therapies (ICAT).

You may find that your therapist will hold other qualifications, or be a member of another professional association. If you're unsure who's the best therapist to use - speak to them to see if they've experience of working with an animal with similar ailments to yours. Also ask your Veterinary Surgeon for advice, as a equine (or canine) massage therapist should work with the permission of your Vet, your Vet may well know of a local therapist who could help your animal anyway.

How Much Will An Equine Sports Massage Therapy Session Cost?

There is no set price however, on average you can expect to pay between £25-£40. This may vary according to the number of horses seen by the therapist, and how far they have had to travel. Please contact the therapist for their individual charges.

How Long Will An Equine Sports Massage Therapy Session Take?

The initial consultation will probably be longer than a routine session, so that the therapist can carry out a full assessment - this may take 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Further routine sessions may take anywhere between 30mins to 1 hour, depending on what is required.

Is Equine Sports Massage Always Safe?

It is a non-invasive therapy, however, it is NOT always suitable. For instance if your horse has a fever, or a serious skincare ailment then it may not be safe. Your veterinary surgeon and professionally qualified Equine Massage therapist can advise.

Would You Like To Learn Equine Massage Techniques For Your Own Horse Or As A Career?

Please visit my Equine Massage training advice page here.

Like to Know About Massage For Dogs?
Take a look at my advice page here.

Would you like information on Equine Massage Therapists for your animal? Check the list below or please email me at info@taranet.co.uk - I'll be pleased to try and assist!

U.K. Equine Massage Therapists

  • Robyn Harris (Monmouthshire) - Qualified practitioner of Relax HAO Equine Massage, a wonderful therapy which uses stroking and kneading techniques to encourage your horse to enter into a calm state. Email: robyn@equenergy.com or visit: www.equenergy.com

International Equine Sports Massage Therapists

New Zealand
  • Cotswold Equine & Animal Therapies - NZ Member of Australian Veterinary Chiropractic Association. 'Maintenance, support and rehabilitation for the equine athlete and other animals'

United States of America

Get an audio overview of Equine Massage with my podcast episode below

About The Author
This article has been extensively researched and written by Suzanne Harris. Who is also the designer and developer of this site. A lifelong animal lover with a passion for ensuring animals can access complementary therapies for their health and wellbeing.

You can get more information on many complementary therapies for animals here at Taranet. Take a look at the sitemap here for a list.