The horse should be identical on both sides of his body. Such a simple concept, but so difficult to achieve! In order to be a successful, healthy, injury and pain free animal, the horse must have equal capacity on each side of the body for muscle contraction and extension.
Horses have a genius for compensation. As many of you have experienced when trying to reach a diagnosis, horses can mask a problem in the most inventive ways! Evaluation of asymmetries is one of my first jobs when I work on a horse.
After working on a very lopsided horse, I often suggest that the rider see a rolfer so the rider is as centered as possible and not contributing to the muscle imbalance in the horse.
Common problems that are often the result of an unbalanced horse and rider:
Shortened Stride ,Girthing Problems, Improper Tracking ,Hind Leg Scuffing, Sore Back ,Refusing or Resisting Leads ,Head and Neck Tossing, Hip and Shoulder Lameness, Head Bobbing ,Rearing ,Bucking
Equine massage helps:
Maintain muscle symmetry
Enhance muscle tone and increase range of motion
Ease muscle spasms
Extend both the good health and the overall life of the animal’s athletic career
Given the complexity of their movement and their musculo/skeletal construction, horses have much to gain from massage therapy. Horses are athletes and, like us, can develop sore muscles, stiff joints, and restricted range of motion. If massage is practiced on a regular basis it can help alleviate these symptoms and, more importantly, help prevent injury.