Tag Archives: horse show

Should My Horse Rest After a Massage?

I am often asked after I do body work how much time the horse should have off afterwards. The answer in most cases is: None! If the horse is sound, or even rehabbing from an injury, one of the best things to do after the body has been balanced by a massage is to move. Even a long walk will help the body of the horse create muscle memory when he is moving more freely. Bad patterns created by tight muscles can best be re-patterned after a massage.

At a horse show I can pinpoint certain areas of the body to work on depending on the event. Before stadium jumping I often use the cold laser on shoulders and joints of the hind legs to enable quick response at a jump. For dressage I might focus on the muscles of the top line and haunches for maximum pushing power. Before cross country I will make sure the pectoral muscles and jaw are free to enable deep breathing. There are over 700 muscles (and that is not counting cardiac muscles, eye muscles, etc!) and releasing tight ones can hugely benefit performance.

For a nervous horse, body work can be very soothing and relaxing. For a lazy horse, he can feel free and energized after a massage session. My job is to observe reactions and adjust accordingly. I love the challenge!

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Does My Horse Really Need the Luxury of a Massage?

We ask a lot of our competition (and pleasure) horses. A little body work will go a long way to make them happier, healthier, and more willing to put out extra effort.

Massage lengthens their stride. The horse can run farther and faster. Massage can relieve many of the nagging ailments that can get in the way of a successful show: muscle aches and soreness, as well as speeding up the healing process from injuries that sideline them from the show season.

I am well aware of the doubters, but I can spot a horse that needs a massage in a heartbeat.

I can see right away that the saddle is not fitting properly. The horse is probably thinking, ‘Don’t you know why I’m so grumpy?’”

If there is an injury or overuse, the body will create connective tissue, which begins to glue the muscles together — sometimes even to the bone. Once that happens, the rest of the body starts to get stuck.

If there is any change in your horse’s attitude ,or in the way it is moving or performing, give me a call, send me a message,  and I can help you evaluate and remedy the problem.

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The Goals of Post Event Massage

At a show, I plan a massage 90 minutes after the event of the day. Stress points, trigger points and spasms tend to show up around 90 minutes into the cool down, so I can catch them in the act of forming and stop them in their tracks. If I also did the pre-event massage, I will be able to feel any changes that occurred during the competition.

The post event massage is also intended to return muscles to resting tone and reduce the risk of muscle soreness. At three day events I work on my clients once or twice a day starting the day before competition begins, and they return home with minimal fatigue, soreness, stocking up, or muscle imbalance. This insures that the horse can return to work and competition without delay. Prevention of injury and a safe return to competition is my goal with my equine clients. It is a program that really works!

The Pre-Warmup Massage

The warm-up routine for athletes is intended to increase circulation and temperature, and to stretch muscles and fascia to attain full range of motion. This routine will reduce the risk of injury and improve the athletic performance. A pre-event massage can compliment the warmup by softening and loosening muscles and fascia, decreasing muscle tension, releasing muscle spasms, increasing circulation, and providing general relaxation to the athlete. A warm up cannot spread muscle fibers, which is one of the many benefits of sports massage done correctly.

At horse shows my clients report a new sense of fluidity in their horses after a pre-performance massage.

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