What is Equine Sports Massage?
can be light or deep.
Why use sports massage?
Many of us, from everyday people to top athletes, use massage and stretching techniques to prepare and maintain their bodies. Such techniques have been adapted to prepare and maintain our horses, from the treasured family friends to the top equine athlete.
Our horses may benefit from therapy treatments when they exhibit the following changes in behavior and performance.
- Puts ears back / tries to bite when being groomed / tacked up
- Shows a preference for one rein
- Show lateral stiffness
- Reluctant to canter on one lead
- Hollow backed / high head carriage
- Head shaking
- Rearing / Bucking
- Cold backed when tacked up
- Lack of poll flexion and bend
- Head tilting
- Has an uneven stride length
Whatever activities you do with your horse, he / she may benefit by you including a therapy such as sports massage as part of their normal preventative maintenance routine, rather than waiting until your horse exhibits changes in behaviour and performance like those above.
What are the benefits?
Used during training and rehabilitation, sports massage can help to keep muscles healthy, as well as helping to build up those that may have wasted through illness / box rest. Massage can also help to reduce warm up times when used pre competition, as well as maintaining suppleness when used post competition.
Massage can benefit the well being of your horse and may help to release tension and aid mental relaxation. In the event of an Injury, massage can help benefit the recovery and prevent atrophy (wasting) of muscles when used as part of the rehabilitation and re-training process. This is because massage and stretching techniques can help enable the horse to perform to its full potential by:
- Increasing and improving circulation
- Enhancing muscle tone
- Relaxing muscle spasm
- Preventing and relieving muscle adhesions
- Increasing the range of movement of the muscles
Your therapists qualifications –
Equine Sports Massage and the related Association are the products of Mary Bromiley and her foresight to see the many benefits of Equine Massage, together with a governing body. All practicing therapists have passed the ITEC Diploma in Equine Sports Massage, which includes a dissertation, written and practical exams and a veterinary verbal exam. Stef is also a member of the Equine Sports Massage Association (ESMA), which offers ongoing annual top up training to all its members.
It is also interesting to note that all Equine Sports Massage therapists have also had to take the same ITEC Diploma in human massage, thus giving them a good overall understanding of both horse and rider anatomy and biomechanics.