Maintenance – This is useful for ANY horse or pony, whether your horse competes regularly or is just hacked out a couple of times a week. Regular sports massage can improve flexibility, increase muscle tone and keep the muscles in top shape to help reduce injuries.
Treatment – Perhaps your horse has limited movement on one side, has problems when schooling or just ‘doesn’t feel right’. Or maybe they have behavioural problems (behavioural problems can often be traced back to issues of pain). If you have excluded any medical problems then the cause may be muscular. An ESMT will be able to successfully treat muscular problems that your horse may have. Please note, if the problem is due to ill-fitting tack, for example, then the root cause will need to also be addressed for long-term success. An ESMT will be able to advise on such issues, but please note, under the Veterinary Act we are unable to diagnose, so you may be referred back to a veterinary surgeon, farrier or other therapist if a non-muscular problem is suspected.
Pre-event massage – A massage before an event or competition will help warm up your horse, aid performance and greatly reduce the risk of muscular injury. It can also be used to ‘zing’ up an overly relaxed horse or calm a ‘hyper’ horse.
Post event massage – A massage after an event will aid the recovery time and help to disperse the build up of lactic acid in the muscles thus reducing stiffness.
What to expect in a treatment.
Horses should be presented clean and dry in order to receive a massage. The first time I come to see you and your horse a detailed history will be taken about past and present issues, tack, workload etc. I will also assess the horses movement in hand and under saddle (if necessary). The actual massage treatment can take between 45 minutes – 1 hour depending on what issues are found. Notes will then be written up and follow up advice will be given. It is advisable to walk your horse around for several minutes after massage.
Under the 1966 Veterinary Surgeons Act, permission is needed from your vet before any treatment commences. You can download a Veterinary Consent form here (pdf fle).