When your horse is sore from a hard workout, massage should be done as soon as possible. Body work can reduce the amount of time necessary for the horse to return to its optimum performance level.
If your horse is sore from a saddle that does not fit, a kick, a collision with a fence or stall door, poor shoeing, a bite, or any of the other million calamities that our horses seem to find, massage can make the difference between a minor injury and one that becomes more complicated the longer it is left untreated.
The more time that passes after an injury, the more the tightness and soreness in the muscles will travel throughout the body and affect movement and performance. If there is swelling and pain, no massage should be applied until the swelling and/or heat is gone.
The sooner massage is started, the better, unless the injury is acute. If a muscle is torn, massage should wait about 6 weeks.
For more severe injuries, veterinary clearance to begin massage is suggested. However, massage to non-injured parts of the body can be very beneficial if the horse is on stall rest or other restriction. Massage can help prevent atrophy and stress to non-injured muscles that may be compensating for the injured one.