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. Everything begins in the muscle.
It’s all about the muscles. If muscles are atrophied or have adhesions, they do not stabilize the vertebrae or allow for proper movement.
Therapeutic massage focuses on making sure the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia are without adhesions and knots, keeping them supple for proper stabilization, and preventing pulls and injuries. Muscles that are properly aligned and stabilized can then support the vertebrae properly, resulting in increased straightness, performance, and long-term wellness.
What is Equine 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.
Your animal is an athlete! 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, craniosacral therapy, myofascial release, and trigger point therapy are non-invasive techniques that are used in the session as needed by the practitioner. Each animal is evaluated and techniques are determined at that time of session.
Your Horse May Need Massage if they show the following signs:
- Trouble bending.
- 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.
BENEFITS OF EQUINE MASSAGE
- Remove knots, adhesions, and correctly position muscles and ligaments.
- Increase range of motion and flexibility.
- 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.
All Sessions Include the Following:
- Variety of massage techniques tailored to your pet including sports massage, acupressure, craniosacral therapy, myofascial release, trigger point, and more.
- 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 and stimulate healthy blood flow.
- Aromatherapy blend (add-on) using high-quality essential oils customized to your animal’s needs.
Why work with Heather?
Heather Wallace is a Certified Equine Sports Massage Therapist (ESMT), Canine Sports Massage Therapist (CCMT), and Craniosacral Therapist (CST) providing a variety of techniques for your animal.
Heather has worked for years with a variety of breeds and disciplines, including providing acupressure 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 continually learning new and improved methods of bodywork to holistically work with your animals and her high returning client rate is proof that her methods are an asset to any animal! To further her education she completed her certification to become a Certified Equine Ergonomist and is able to provide custom saddle fit recommendations and tracings in addition to her current bodywork practice.
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.
Animals that are recovering from injury or surgery, or kissing spine and muscle atrophy, 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 lymphatic drainage.
- Thermal imaging to determine baseline and monthly follow-up imaging.
- Cold laser therapy to target joints, tendons, wounds, and areas of increased tension and to stimulate healthy blood flow.
- Aromatherapy blend using high-quality essential oils customized to your animal’s needs.
- Stretching to increase flexibility and mobility without strain.
- Recommended exercise plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
Don’t take our word for it- see what over 80 of our clients have said in their 5* testimonials!
*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.