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Build a bond with your horse - Learn Equine Massage

The art of equine massage is a valuable skill that we can all learn and offers a multitude of benefits that can enhance a horse's well-being, performance, and the bond between horse and handler.

It was this time last year that we launched our Online Massage Course. this valuable resource has already helped hundreds of horse owners learn the skill of massage - I'm sure their horses appreciate it. In this easy to follow course, Gillian Higgins guides you through all you need to know to massage your own horse with confidence. In this blog, discover some of the many benefits of massage and learn a technique you can use on your own horse. Also, to celebrate the first anniversary of the Horses Inside Out Massage Course we have a special discount when you sign up before 31 May 2024. Read on for more details....

Therapy for All

All horses can reap the benefits of massage. As riders, owners and caretakers, it is important to take responsibility for the horse’s musculoskeletal comfort. There is so much that we can do to help keep their bodies comfortable and performing well, including management, veterinary care, tack fit to the type of exercise and training we do. Massage is one of the many valuable tools that help us care for our horses, and also helps to maintain musculoskeletal comfort and performance.

Massage has been practiced for thousands of years, and is the manipulation of soft tissue structures for therapeutic purposes. It is a hands-on technique which, by exerting varying degrees of external pressure can influence the structures below.


The Benefits

There are numerous benefits of massage - here are just a few of them.

A Feeling of Wellbeing

One of the biggest benefits of massage is that it helps to build the relationship, understanding, confidence and trust between you and your horse.

Increased Flexibility and Suppleness

Regular massage helps to alleviate muscle fatigue, tightness, or inflammation, leading to better flexibility.

Aiding Muscle Recovery

Another crucial advantage of equine massage is aiding muscle recovery. Massage therapy facilitates the effective expulsion of acids that cause fatigue and soreness. This also allows oxygen-rich blood cells to replenish depleted stores and aid repair.

Enhanced Circulation and Muscle Tone

Improved circulation is another significant benefit of equine massage. Enhanced blood flow ensures efficient oxygen and nutrient delivery, which is vital for recovery. Regular massage also maintains muscle tone.

Stress Relief and Improved Well-being

Equine massage therapy can ease anxiety, promote relaxation, and improve the horse’s overall well-being. When performed with care, these amazing techniques create a nurturing environment for the horse, building trust and a sense of connection with their handler.

Preventative Care

As a preventative measure, equine massage aids in the early detection of potential issues like strain patterns or muscle imbalances. This early detection is crucial for a horse's longevity and soundness.

Reduce Local Pain

Massage can reduce pain locally by stimulating the release of opiates in the area. If you bang your elbow, your automatic response is to rub it, this encourages blood to move to the area and stimulates the release of opiates which help to reduce the pain. In a fundamental way, massage can help to reduce discomfort in certain areas.

Prepare the Body for Activity

Massage can be a very useful tool to use as part of your warm up. Helping to prepare the horse’s body before the rider gets on, it can physically reduce the ridden warm up time required, reducing strain on the body and helping conserve energy.

Equine massage therapy not only addresses physical ailments but also supports psychological health and the horse-rider/handler relationship. For those looking to maintain their horse's performance or simply ensure their comfort and happiness, equine massage is a valuable addition to regular care practices.

The Horses Inside Out Online Massage Course will help you to develop the massage skills necessary to keep your own horse feeling in tip top condition in between visits from your professional therapist. Once you have completed this course you will realise that equine massage can be a game-changer for the health and performance of your horse.

To help kick-start your equine massage journey we are offering 20% off our online massage course. Sign up before 31 May 2024 and you will save £32, use the code OMC20 at the checkout to claim your saving.

Getting started

The Horses Inside Out Online Massage Course guides your through all the different massage techniques. Here's just one of them you can have a go at on your own horse.

Skin Circling is a basic myofascial release technique which can be performed anywhere on the horse’s body. As the name suggests, this technique involves slowly circling the skin and moving it over the structures underneath. It is particularly effective in areas where there is a lot of skin movement and where the muscles underneath are aligned in multiple directions. For example, around the girth area and the thoracic sling muscles in between the front legs.

This technique is really good for performing in the areas under the saddle, girth and bridle to release and rehydrate the superficial fascia after the horse has had the pressure of tack in those areas.

Skin Circling is Good for

  • Relaxation

  • Mobilising the skin and superficial fascia

  • Easing tension in superficial muscles and fascia

  • Stimulating the circulatory system

  • Stimulating nerve endings

  • Improving comfort locally

  • Use when muscles are particularly tight and you are unable to perform more physical massage techniques


How to Perform Skin Circling

1. Check your posture and lower your energy before you start.

2. Place your hands on the area you are going to massage and allow a moment of acclimatisation. One hand will be the circling hand and the other your feedback hand, so for example if you are massaging along the back, place your other hand on the withers and allow your forearm to rest against the horse too.

3. Imagine your hand is stuck to the skin and move the skin slowly over the structures underneath in a circular motion.

4. Try to encourage the skin to move as far as it will and a little further in each direction, in other words try to move the skin in as large a circle as you possibly can without letting your hand slip over the skin.

5. Move your hand onto another area of the body and repeat.

You can also do a double handed technique (as shown in the picture) where you use both hands together to create the circle. 

If this has sparked an interest and you are keen to learn more, sign up to the Horses Inside Out Online Massage Course today. You can save £32 with our special 20% discount offer that is running until 31 May 2024 - use the code OMC20 at the checkout to claim your saving.

Information taken from the Horses Inside Out Massage for Horses Workbook.

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