Massage Therapy for Horses, Dogs, and Livestock

Massage can alleviate the behavioral, emotional, and physical symptoms of pain or distress. More, it provides positive touch and desensitization as well as early detection of physical changes.

Muscles make 60% of the body. Proper alignment and balance means a heathy animal with lower rates of injury, lameness, or chronic problems. This isn’t just about relaxation. It’s about support for the body as a whole.

What is Sports Massage?

Sports massage provides a multitude of natural and holistic health benefits for your animal, both behavioral and physical. Sports massage uses the hands and fingers of the therapist to target tight muscles and acupressure points in your horse. We manipulate the soft tissue to loosen muscles, joints, tendons and fascia; increase blood flow and lymphatic activity; and reduce stress on the body and mind.

Sports massage is used in exercise warm-up; cool down; general maintenance; pre- and post- agility competition; and post-injury or rehabilitation of both working animals and pets.

In addition, acupressure and trigger point therapy are non-invasive techniques with benefits similar to acupuncture that are used in the session as needed.

Increased mobility and flexibility are only two of the benefits we provide to our animal clients. © Farm & Fir Photography

Outstanding experience. Heather is one of the most compassionate and knowledgeable professionals we have ever met. Highly recommend.

  • Canine Sports Massage New Jersey

BENEFITS OF MASSAGE

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Increase circulation
  • Improve digestion
  • Speed wound healing
  • Restore mobility to injured muscle tissue
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Early detection of skin and health problems
  • Positive desensitization to touch

Your Horse May Need Massage if they show the following signs:

  • Trouble bending.
  • Short-strided.
  • Girthy or cold-backed when saddling.
  • Reluctance to move forward during exercise.
  • Difficulty picking up leads.
  • Increased spookiness.
  • Uncharacteristic behavior: rearing, bucking, kicking, biting.
  • Head tossing.
  • Tendency for colic or tying up.
  • Mystery lameness.
  • Trouble focusing.
  • Stall rest.
  • Pre or post-surgery.
  • Pre or post- competition.
The whole body is addressed from poll to tail, top to bottom. Areas of particular inflammation or tension are then given cold laser therapy to further accelerate healing. © Farm & Fir Photography

All Sessions Include the Following:

  • Variety of massage techniques tailored to your pet including sports massage, acupressure, trigger point, and Swedish massage.
  • Thermal imaging to determine baseline and a follow-up after four sessions (see thermal imaging details below).
  • Cold laser therapy to target joints, tendons, wounds, and areas of increased tension.
  • Aromatherapy blend (in session) using high-quality essential oils customized to your animal’s needs.
Heather Wallace ESMT CCMT Animal Bodywork

Why work with Heather?

Heather Wallace is a Certified Equine Sports Massage Therapist (ESMT) and Canine Sports Massage Therapist (CCMT) providing acupressure, trigger point therapy, and sports massage techniques.

Heather has worked for years with a variety of breeds and disciplines, including providing trigger point therapy on a semi-feral Mongolian horse! She is incredibly sensitive to the needs of each client and their softest communication. Time after time Heather has earned the trust and bonded with even the most anxious animals, some of whom would not let others interact with them. Trust is earned and there is nothing she finds more gratifying than working in partnership with her equine clients to help them find balance naturally and live their best lives mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Heather is fantastic & can work miracles! My 19 year old Contango just sees her & starts stretching & yawning. He’s happy & relaxed when she’s done & he’s definitely more balanced & easier to ride. Heather knows him tip to stern & shows me things I can do with him myself. I understand him better & he’s a most happy horse since he’s known her

Susan Howland

Heather is continually learning new and improved methods of bodywork to holistically work with your animals and her 95% returning client rate is proof that her methods are an asset to any animal! To further her education she is completing her certification to become a Certified Equine Ergonomist and able to provide custom saddle fit recommendations and tracings in addition to her current bodywork practice.

Animals that she works with:

Heather is so great to work with. She really takes her time getting to know each horse and tailors their session to their specific needs. Whether the horse has physical or emotional issues that need help, Heather’s approach is fantastic. She gets results because it is clear she cares about each and every client, and the horses really sense her desire to heal. Her skill, knowledge and positive attitude are an asset in any barn!

Stephanie Marie

 

THERMAL IMAGING

Thermal imaging is a non-invasive imaging technique used to measure the difference in the surface temperature of your horse.  These images are not for medical diagnosis but can show areas of heat, infection, inflammation, and reduced blood flow in the muscular, vascular, skeletal, and nervous systems of your horse.

All initial sessions include thermal imaging for a base line. Images will then be taken quarterly to see progress and available in your client portal.


This allows me to pinpoint certain areas of an animal’s body that needs extra attention during the massage session. Owners can see for themselves the benefits of my services with before and after photos sent to them by email after the session.

Rehabilitative Therapy

Animals that are recovering from injury or surgery benefit from bodywork to speed healing and improve muscle function and mobility. More, the physical and mental requirements of recovery can be a delicate balance. We offer a comprehensive session which includes:

  • Variety of massage techniques tailored to your pet including sports massage, acupressure, trigger point, and Swedish massage.
  • Thermal imaging to determine baseline and a follow-up after four sessions (see thermal imaging details above).
  • Cold laser therapy to target joints, tendons, wounds, and areas of increased tension.
  • Aromatherapy blend (in session) using high-quality essential oils customized to your animal’s needs.
  • Stretching to increase flexibility and mobility without strain.
  • Kinesiotaping.
  • Targeted exercise plan.

Pre-Treatment

Please complete the New Client Form prior to your first appointment. Please make sure your horse is in the stall and relatively clean for the session. We encourage owners to be in attendance to ask questions.

Once you are an established client it is not necessary to be present for the massage unless you prefer to be present. A quiet stall or cross ties are best for treatment to aid in relaxation and healing. Please do not book your treatment during feeding times to prevent distraction.

We are happy to send you a photo and notes from the session if you are unable to attend. An assessment form will be sent by email or text after each appointment.

Post-Treatment

After your horse’s massage session your animal may need to go to the bathroom more frequently. This is normal and allows the body to continue to release toxins naturally. Please provide ample water. A short walk after our session will be beneficial to stretch their legs and allow for further tension release. Natural movement in the paddock is encouraged as is light riding, long and low to encourage stretch.

Frequency

Regular massage provides the best results for your animal. We believe prevention is always the best option and animals naturally gravitate toward homeostatis (balance). We recommend a minimum of three bi-weekly sessions to begin and achieve a neutral ground.

Bodywork for rehabilitative cases, performance, and senior animals is recommended every 1-2 weeks. General maintenance is recommended to prevent injuries and keep the joints fluid and muscles in optimal condition. Bodywork works best when used to keep the body in balance, and prevent illness or injury. As a result regular sessions every 4 weeks are the general recommendation. However, a customized treatment plan will be created for your animal based on personality, activity level, and owner’s input.

*Disclaimer: Sports Massage and acupressure are  complementary therapies that is meant to assist self- healing. These therapies are not a replacement for veterinary care. Massage professionals are not qualified to treat, diagnose, or give a prognosis of any injury or illness.  Please consult your veterinarian for concerns with your animal’s health.