Sarah Wotton

Equine Massage Therapy

Benefits of massage

As well as being an enjoyable experience for most horses, massage can help with:

  • Assessing physical condition
  • Enhancing performance and gait quality
  • Increasing range of motion
  • Improving stamina
  • Improving circulation
  • Relieving discomfort
  • Assisting the healing of muscle injuries
  • Improving disposition and reduce tactile defense
  • Preventing future injury

Please note that massage is not a replacement for proper veterinary care, and I will require consent from your vet before carrying out any massage work. 

Contra-indicators for massage

There are some circumstances where massage is not recommended, these include where a horse has:

  • An open wound
  • Undiagnosed lameness
  • A temperature
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained change in behaviour
  • Elevated vital signs
  • Azoturia/tying up
  • Has been prescribed medication
  • Dehydrated
  • Pregnancy
  • Acute laminitis

If any of these circumstances apply, please advise me well in advance so that we can assess whether to proceed. 

Frequency of massage

This depends upon a number of factors, such as a horse's level of work, conformation and physical conditions, as well as the owner's availability and finances! As a general rule:

A retired horse or horse used only for light hacking would benefit from a massage about every 6-8 weeks. 

A horse in regular work, being ridden up to six times per week, perhaps competing, would benefit from massage every 4 weeks. 

A competition horse in serious training, with high physical demands being placed upon him, such as a racehorse or eventer at Intermediate level or above, would benefit from more frequent sessions, approximately every 2 weeks, though this may only be necessary during the competition season.

However, all horses are individuals and we can assess what frequency would be best when I visit you and your horse. 

It is recommended that you leave at least one week between your horse's first massage session and any competition. Horses can sometimes feel sore after massage and we do not want to compromise performance. 

Your first appointment

Equine massage should always be carried out with veterinary approval, and I will require veterinary consent before I am able to work on your horse. Please speak to your vet before the first appointment, or provide me with contact details so that I may do so. It may also be useful for me to speak to other practitioners who have worked with your horse, such as physiotherapists and chiropractors. 

Before your first appointment, please complete the initial intake form and return it by email, or bring it with you to that appointment.

Please ensure your horse is clean and dry when I visit, and that there is somewhere suitable for the massage to be carried out.  

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