Equine massage is quickly becoming a vital addition to many savvy horse owners’ team of health care experts. These people have learned the secret benefits of equine massage. But what is so secret? Anyone familiar with massage and/or holistic health care techniques has read about the same old list of benefits of massage for horses. However, no one has translated that list into the hidden benefits for you, the horse owner. And unless you have accidentally stumbled upon and experienced the REAL results for you and your horse, you probably have no idea why massage is not just a once a year luxury.
The typical list of benefits of equine massage reads as such:
- Dilates blood vessels
- Returns blood back toward heart
- Helps drain sluggish lymph material
- Improves muscle tone
- Prevents adhesions
- Stretches connective tissue
- Lessens stiffness and swelling
- Has a stimulating or sedative effect on nervous system
- Brings awareness to the area being massaged
How many horse owners really understand how this list can impact them? Quite frankly, very few of them do. Unless you excelled in biology and physiology in high school or college, chances are this age old list is Greek to you!
Let’s finally update and translate this list into how equine massage benefits you, the horse owner. We will start by condensing the list into three main topics: circulation, muscle performance and mental acuity.
- CIRCULATION: Massage increases circulation to all body parts. All cells of the body absolutely must have oxygen and nutrients brought to them, via the circulation of blood, to generate new cells, produce energy, export toxins and maintain all cellular functions. Poor circulation leads to a decrease in each of these areas. In essence, you now are working with a half-baked horse that will most likely have varied health issues.
- MUSCLE PERFORMANCE: Massage physically breaks down the knots and contracted muscle fibers that cannot do their job efficiently. This leads to better muscle quality and more comprehensive and balanced muscle action. Your horse is made up of 700 skeletal muscles and that is 60% of the body mass of the horse! Working a horse with tight, continually contracted muscles is equivalent to operating in a state of resistance. The horse is using much more energy to perform and achieving less than its optimum potential and headed for injury.
- MENTAL ACUITY: Massage speaks to the nervous system in such a way that a horse will experience a significant state of relaxation, mental clarity and self healing. A horse functioning in a state of constant mental stress and limited focus will never perform to its full potential.
When massage is performed on a consistent basis the positive effects build upon themselves over time. Once a year massages are basically the equivalent of putting a band-aid on underlying issues and the horse never reaps the benefits of continual healing. However, regular massage not only benefits the horse, it also benefits YOU, the horse owner, and here is how:
You could experience a decrease in vet visits which ultimately may keep your horse out of the lay-up stall saving you time and money.
You may have a horse that can move more efficiently, with less pain and achieve more physically, which will equal a better performance for you.
You may have a horse that experiences less tendon and ligament injuries equaling more performance time and less lay- up time; keeping you in the saddle.
You may have a horse that recovers quicker from workouts and is feeling ready to work on a consistent basis giving you a willing horse to ride.
You may have a much happier horse with a better work attitude making your daily ride a pleasure rather than a fight.
Whether you ride for pleasure or performance, equine massage is a simple addition to your horse’s health care program which can keep you in the saddle at the top of your performance .