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Equine Therapists & Entrepreneurs Stay Informed!

Injury Prevention for Horses

More than 60% of the horse's body weight is muscle.

Both horses and humans often have muscle problems and tension. Muscles that are tight or in a contracted state put pressure on surrounding tissues. This causes a decrease in blood circulation, restricted movement, nerve irritation, stiffness and pain. If not relieved and loosened this tightness can cause more problems and will continue to worsen.

Horses let us know through their body language when they are having a problem.

Some of the signals to watch for are:

Shortening of stride.

Difficulty bending laterally or rounding. Refusal to take a particular lead or change gaits. General stiffness. Aggravated movement, such as head tossing, bucking or kicking. Hollowing out their back. Tracking unevenly. Girthing problems. Spasms in the muscles especially when taking the saddle off.

While these elements can also be signs of other problems and should be evaluated by your veterinarian and a knowledgeable trainer, equine massage therapy helps to eliminate them and get your horse on the track to feeling better and having more successful working sessions.

Benefits of Equine Massage Therapy

Helps to Prevent Injury – As you exercise your horse, you are building up his muscle.

This is done when many small tears are made in the muscle fibers during exercise, which are then repaired with scar tissue over the next couple days. Massage helps to break down the scar tissue, allowing muscles to be elastic and flexible. Healthy moving muscles without tension help keep joints aligned and put less stress on tendons, reducing wear and tear.

Improves Circulation – Massage dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow to the area. Increased circulation can help speed recovery of injured muscle tissues and restore mobility.

Increase Range of Motion – Between stretching tissues, improving muscle tone and lowering stiffness and swelling, equine massage therapy can expand a horse’s range of motion, allowing them to become more effective under saddle.

Reduces Stress – Horses experience stress and anxiety just like we do, and massage relaxes them just as it does us. When muscles are worked on, there is a sedative effect on the nervous system, which helps with relaxation and can improve disposition.

Once an injury is past its initial stage, massage can also be used to quicken healing of muscle damage and help get the horse back into shape sooner without risking re-injury under saddle or during groundwork.

Equine massage therapy benefits horses of all activity levels. Performance, aging, injured, trail riders, lesson horses, endurance competitors to name a few.

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