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What is Equine Sports Massage Therapy?

By: Galadriel Billington

10:04PM Apr 10, 2004

What ARE you doing?
"What ARE you doing?"
When we think of massage, we often think of a relaxing "spa" experience: a pleasant and luxurious massage. That's not sports massage; sports massage is a therapeutic method intended to support and enhance performance.

The sports massage therapist has studied anatomy and muscular structure, and how to relax and tone constricted or tense muscles. The equine sports massage therapist (ESMT) can locate muscle groups in the horse, knows where and how to access the deeper muscles, can probe for tightness, and is experienced with the techniques used to influence the large muscles of the horse's body. The ESMT also has experience in working with horses of varied disciplines, training methods, and personality types.
Very fit racing Arabian
Very fit racing Arabian
colt enjoying his massage
Who can benefit from sports massage therapy?
Even (especially!) horses in great condition may benefit from sports massage.

Why should any horse have muscle "issues"?
Horses can't take a long, hot bath to soak sore muscles...
Oooooh yeah
"Oooooh yeah"
When can sports massage help?
Sports massage can facilitate performance and comfort for horses in training, competition, recovery from injury, or even horses with overall anxious temperament. Horses who have been ridden in tack which did not fit may still retain tension in back, neck or jaw muscles.
(Ever wonder why that off-track Thoroughbred has such a tender back?)

What does an equine sports massage therapist do?
After all, I "rub" my horse; I "massage" him while I groom. How is sports massage different?

Working that topline
Working that topline
Sticking that tongue out!
Sticking that tongue out!
Streeeeetching that leg
Streeeeetching that leg

Doesn't she look relaxed now?
Doesn't she look relaxed now?
Lady Katherine's Tale: My off-track Thoroughbred mare has been anxious for all the time I've owned her. For three years, when I went to touch her neck or body, she'd tense up. She was affectionate; she'd put her muzzle on my shoulder, or her head in my chest...she just didn't like to be groomed, stroked, or patted anywhere aside from her face. In addition to her general tension about being touched, she's also always had a high-strung, nervous temperament. Part of my reason for studying equine sports massage was to find a way to help this sweet mare relax.

kat kiss
Certified ESMT offering equine sports massage in
Gainesville, Florida and surrounding areas.

352-871-2943 or click "Contact Me" for appointments.
Discounts for Group Visits.

Massage therapy is not a substitute for professional veterinary treatment. An equine massage therapist does not diagnose illness nor lameness, and will not work on a horse who needs veterinary attention. Your equine massage therapist should work in cooperation with your licensed veterinary doctor; your vet may be able to suggest an ESMT in your area.

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2004 Galadriel Billington. All rights reserved.