It can be a difficult decision when it comes to choosing which program or clinic to attend when wanting to educate yourself in the skills of equine massage. Until quite recently massaging a horse was thought of as a ridiculous luxury that very few people even saw a need for at all.
Now, as you scour the internet, you will find a veritable “schmorgesborg” of schools, clinics, online programs, books and tapes all teaching one form or another of therapeutic horse massage. There are now so many choices that it will send your mind swimming and eat up a large portion of your day as you attempt to decipher which one is for you.
The decision becomes difficult to the novice, who, attempting to make a wise choice on where to go for their certification, cannot figure out why there is so much discrepancy between various programs and the amount of hours required to obtain a certificate.
It becomes even more confusing as the shopper realizes that some schools have multiple modules that require numerous weeks of time to attend or, to an even greater extent, literally years of attendance in order to obtain the ever coveted “certification.”
It becomes apparent that if you desire to become an equine massage therapist and be recognized as legitimate – you can have as little as NO hours of schooling or as much as 2,200!
The question then arises “What value does the certification hold in this industry?”
Currently there is no unified regulation in the United States pertaining to equine massage. Each state has declared their stance on the matter through the veterinarian laws and it varies greatly from state to state, and even from year to year, within each state.
California, for instance, has no regulations on who can perform equine massage, nor are you required to have a certification at all. Contrast this with the state of Massachusetts in which the law states that no equine massage is allowed.
The bottom line is that a certificate from any class, clinic, online distance learning, video course etc… – is only a certificate verifying how many hours you have completed through any given institute. In other words, it is a certificate of “attendance.”
Until the animal/equine massage industry becomes one unified organization the only thing you must be keenly aware of are the laws within the state in which you plan on practicing. You are, in any case, always allowed to learn equine massage and perform it on your own horses as you like.
Make no mistake, it is always better to have a certification on hand in the event that a prospective client should ask about your education. Also, this “alternative” health care modality is quickly becoming an intregal part of rountine care for horses and you will definitely want to have some kind of valid education to help promote this fantastic discipline.