I already have a physiotherapist/chiropractor so why would I need a massage therapist?
Massage therapists, physiotherapists, chiropractors etc all offer different forms of treatment for horses. No therapist can treat all issues, much the same as you wouldn't expect a chiropodist to be able to treat a skin disorder in humans! It depends on your horses 'issues' as to what therapist you will need. It is worth researching the different types of therapists to find out exactly what it is that your horse will need, but bear in mind that over 60% of the horses body mass is muscle and the superficial muscles are more commonly affected by external forces, as opposed to joints. Many people turn to physios or chiropractors for 'back issues' but most back problems are muscular so can be resolved through therapeutic massage which physios often don't specialise in and chiropractors certainly don't (unless they are trained in ESMT too)! Therapists can also work together to help resolve issues. A physio or chiropractor may be able to manipulate a joint but if the supporting muscles aren't treated/strengthened then the problem is likely to return. Physios and chiropractors will often refer horses for massage and equally massage therapists will often refer back to physios and chiropractors.
I can’t afford luxury treatments for my horse.
Therapeutic sports massage is not luxury pampering treatments, but an essential part of the maintenance and treatment of your horse, much the same as you need a farrier and a vet as part of your maintenance routine. Therapeutic Massage can be used to treat a wide range of muscular problems and vets will often refer horses for massage treatment for muscular problems or when recovering from an illness or injury.
Over 60% of a horses body mass is muscle (compared to humans at about 35-40%), and many physical and behavioural problems can be traced back to muscle tension and dysfunction.
We ask our horses to perform a wide range of ‘unnatural’ movements and also wear a whole host of ‘accessories’ and this can cause pain and muscle tension. A damaged or tense muscle cannot perform properly so you will never get the best out of your horse or pony if you do not maintain, treat and generally take good care of its muscles.
My horse has a problem with his back. Can you just treat his back?
We always treat and assess backs as part of our routine, but we won't just treat his back. Equine muscles don't work in isolation, but in groups, and due to the complex nature of their attachments to other muscles and muscle groups, a problem that originates in the horses back can affect many other areas of the horse, for example the shoulder, neck and hind quarters. Massage therapy is a 'holistic' therapy, meaning that we treat the whole horse, not one part in isolation.
How long will it take?
The massage itself usually takes about an hour, but can be slightly longer if your horse needs lots of treatment. I will always spend as long as I need on your horse and because I charge 'per session' as opposed to 'per hour', you know it won't cost any extra if your horse needs lots of time spending on him. Again, the assessment can vary in length as it depends on what problems there are and have been in the past and whether a ridden assessment and tack check is required. Please be wary of therapists who say the whole process only takes an hour as I would question how thorough their assessment and treatment is.
Can I massage my horse myself?
Grooming is a form of massage and just by rubbing a tense muscle you will help relax it. But a sports massage therapist is trained in muscular anatomy and function and specific treatment techniques. So not only can we find the problems within your horses musculature, we have the skills to be able to treat them as well.