The Benefits Of Massage
Improve stamina By increasing the range of motion, you’ll find the horse is working again in an efficient manner, thus improving the stamina as well as the performance. Anytime the horse is working against himself he is using excessive energy to run his systems.
Improve the disposition A horse that is not comfortable has to be a saint if he never complains about it. We all know plenty of saints. Other individuals will present their objections by changing their behavior. Often, you’ll look back in hindsight realizing that your four legged friend was trying to tell you something well before an injury took place. He wasn’t just being a jerk, he was attempting communication. There are “horse whisperers” out there, maybe the equine world needs to employ “people whisperers.” Remember when, out of the blue, he started pinning his ears when saddling him up? Could it be possible he was letting you know that he hurt somewhere?
Provide comfort to muscles injuries There are times when a Sports Massage Therapist will be called in on an existing case under veterinarian supervision or as part of the rehabilitation process following an orthopedic type problem or actual muscle injury. After the appropriate time for healing, you find massage, stretching and the proper exercise can help the process along by encouraging the scar tissue to lie down in a better pattern. Reducing any amount of scar tissue as it adheres to healthy tissue can help restore the muscle to better returning function.
Enhance the performance and gait quality By improving the stamina and the disposition, as well as the range of motion as we talked about above, the performance and gaits also reap the benefits.
Increase the range of motion A horse that moves better is more efficient in his stride. There is less wear and tear on the joints, ligaments and tendons equating to a longer performance life. Some disciplines rely on a big moving horse, so enhancing the stride improves the gaits. A longer and more efficient stride in a well conditioned sound race horse can make the difference in lengths at the finish line. The dressage horse that is flexible looks better and feels better. A jumper uses a major amount of muscle during his take off, flight and landing. If he is flexible and agile with the muscles synchronized properly, he’ll do a better job.
Improve the circulation You’ve noticed that stocked up legs will go down after a little exercise or by applying friction. After a massage a horse actually looks like he’s been working out in the gym. His veins are easy to see and the coat is glossy. When you’ve got the circulation going you’re also helping to stimulate the elimination of waste products in the system. Exercise is actually the best way to increase the circulation; however, some horses are on a controlled exercise program while recovering from injury or illness. For these horses, massage is used to stimulate the circulation when necessary.
Reduce the tactile defense Some horses don’t want to be touched. They are not used to it and when you put on that surcingle for the first time you’ll be looking for an escape route. Others couldn't care less. They love to be touched, scratched, stroked and groomed. The defensive ones need a little time and communication via touch before they get started with any training. I’d say that 90% of the time the ones that are shaking you off just need a deliberate touch program. They come around fast as long as you’ve first investigated all the other factors in their environment that may be contributors to the problem.
Assess the physical condition It’s easy to feel tight muscles on a horse especially when it’s unilateral. Subtle changes in texture, temperature and tension can be detected with the hands. The horse’s response to touch is another part of the equation. By assessing with touch, you can also get some ideas as to how the training program is progressing (or not.) Often subclinical issues are hard to recognize, but earlier detection can mean permanent damage is lessened.
Massage is used along with conventional and complementary health care as well as proper training techniques enabling the horse to perform at an optimum level. By itself, it does not attempt to cure anything.