Horse Massage Blog

What makes a massage therapist good....

Something I hear often as I putter about my days is some form of the following conversation... and indeed have heard it about myself!
" Madonna? Yeah I have used her, I think the horse liked it but I didn't really see a change/only went well for a day/nice enough but a waste of money."
Equine therapists can only be as good as 3 things, their education and training, how easy the horse is to work with on the day, and the owners ability to absorb recommendations and follow up on them.
Getting an equine therapist out to you horse is NOT a magic wand to turn Pegasus from a average riding hack into Valegro!

Lets look at the 3 key points in greater detail.

Education and training: Different modalities teach different things, and many therapists in Australia are one of several variations of soft tissue massage therapists, though they may have other tools available such as redlight, kinesiology tape and basic saddle fitting skills. This can limit their ability to address the whole horse, it doesn't mean they are a bad therapist just that the issue your horse has may not be soft tissue related.

Horse Manners: It is very hard to conduct a good body work session of any kind if the horse is fidgeting, pawing, constantly moving around, unwilling to pick up feet, calling out to paddock buddies and generally not happy to be interacted with. Now, I know some horses are babies, some horses are in discomfort and some are just naturally a little scatterbrained, but please, to help everyone get the best they can out of a session prepare for success. If your horse doesn't like being in the stable on its own, bring up a friend or even 2. If you know its learning to pick up its feet or has a history of nipping, kicking etc, please tell the therapist so they can work with your horse. A quick run over with a brush is welcome too. Therapists want to work with your horse, not against them.

Owner Assistance: As much as we therapists might like to think it, we are not Gods! Because of this, we cant make something better in one session, sometimes it requires you the owner to do some follow up work. This might be checking saddle fit, contacting a vet, doing exercises and stretches. If you don't do things that are suggested, then it is very possible that you will not see a lasting improvement in your horse. After all, isn't stupidity doing something over and over yet expecting a different result?

Keep these 3 points in mind next time you engage the services of a therapist, and engage in conversation with them about what you feel you need, what you expect, and how you would like them to help you and you may be surprised the wealth of information that you get in return.

Kirsty Swinton - Lecturer

posted by Jessica Blackwell | 0 Comments

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