My first question to you would be, “How many massages have you had in your life?” If the answer is none, then you need to get a good full body massage in order to understand where I am coming from. If you are an avid follower of sports, you know that most athletes are massaged, whirl-pooled, given chiropractic alignments and hooked up to machines of many different types on a regular basis. Our bodies as well as our joints were not designed to endure the constant pressure and stress that we put them under during the rigors of competition. Prey animals were designed to run in short spurts in order to escape from their predators. They were not intended to go at top speed for five or six furlongs or run one or one and a half miles a few times a month on a regular schedule. Horses were not designed to jump over seventy-five or one hundred, four or five foot fences, three or four times a week. What we do to ourselves and the animals we love is to tear down our bodies, as well as their bodies, and aid in the destruction of muscles as well as joints. Even competitive body builders will only work on one half of their bodies one day and the other half of their body the next day. This is to help rebuild from the stress of over use on the previous day. Equine animals are usually ridden on a daily basis when in competition.
It is no secret that I am a certified massage therapist, but this was acquired after probably twenty-five years of using other Massage Therapists, Chiropractors, Acupuncturists, and Therapists that used machines on my horses; usually on a weekly basis. This was a constant necessity for as long as the horses were in competition. This was money that was well spent because I was riding them myself and I was able to know and feel the difference in them after treatment. Also, with therapy, there is an increase in circulation in the their muscles and their whole body, and they grew before my eyes. Their muscles became more developed and were allowed to reach their full potential. I’m basically saying that I saw my horses become much larger, wider and fuller in muscle but in the best kind of way due to the constant care and rebuilding of them as they performed their demanding tasks. My experience with different machines, as well as Massage Therapists and Chiropractors, brought great results. Using equipment such as Infrared blankets, Electro-magnet Blankets and Electro-magnetic machines for the joints, The Laser, Ultra Sound and Bio-scan equipment, were all effective in their own way.
If you are involved with horses in competition and you are thinking about starting a therapy program, know that this must become a constant commitment in order to get true results. If your horse is under a grueling schedule and you wish to keep your four legged friend in good form and help him or her in battling soreness and ailments that come along with the territory, then therapy is the best way to accomplish this. Beware!! There are many people that claim to be sports and massage therapists but they just cannot get the job done, mostly because it takes years of practicing horsemanship as well as therapy. Word of mouth probably is your best bet. I always considered therapy an absolute expense and necessity but money very well spent. That is the reason why I became certified. Not necessarily to perform for other horseman but mostly to massage my own horses just because I believe in therapy so much.
Keeping up with the muscular anatomy of your horse does residually result in less joint injuries. Muscles, ligaments and tendons are all adjoined as a whole. This is why I was always a lover of therapy machines. Different types of machines seem to work differently for different problems that arise. Addressing these issues as soon as they arise is a major part of nipping problems in the bud. If you are armed with different types of therapy machines and as time goes on and you deal with these problems, you will soon learn which machines work the best with each particular problem and you will develop your own form of therapy. My definition of a good therapist is the way in which they interpret the best approach in helping your horses to heal themselves.
If you are fortunate enough to find a good Massage Therapist, Chiropractor or Acupuncturist and you see and feel the difference, you will be very quick to jump on the therapy wagon because it works!