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Equine Massage Therapy : FAQ

If you have never had an Equine Massage Therapist come and treat your horse, you have questions.  Below you will hopefully get answers.


How do I Know it Works

     Horses are what I call "Honest" when they respond to therapy.  99% of the time they will sho a visual response that everyone watching can see.  When a horse gets relief from a discomfort, pain, pinch, twinge, spasm, or similar, we call this "Release" and they will exhibit one or more of the following:


Subtle Releases

  • Sighing or letting out a loud breath
  • Dropping the head
  • Shaking the head lightly
  • Softening of the eye or facial expressions
  • Cocking the legs into the "relax" stance

Larger Releases

  • Licking and/or chewing
  • Snorting
  • Sneezing
  • Grunting
  • Yawning
  • Roling back the second eyelid
  • Stretching and flexing


How do you know that you are working the right area?

     Horses are "honest" as I said before.  When they hurt, twinge, uncomfortable, or otherwise "not right", they tell us in small ways.  It is up to us to listen to them.


Horses tell us they aren't right by:

  • Lifting their head up
  • Neck muscles are tight
  • Reluctant to flex or bend
  • Short stride
  • Limping
  • Biting the area in question
  • Severe Skin twitching and shaking
  • Tense muscles in an area
  • Won't cross over when turning sharply
  • Cold Back
  • Girth Issues
  • Drop feed
  • Bucking
  • Kicking
  • Biting the owner
  • If severe enough, break out in sweat


Some of the above symptons you also see in many interna diseases and ailments.  This is why it is so important to be open-minded that we might treat the muscles, but you might still need another professional to treat an internal cause.  Sometimes we find an unrelated issue once we take care of a muscular issue that may have been more aggrivating than the other issue we uncover.  So please keep an open mind that horses are not computers, they are not robots.



What are you going to do when you arrive?

     The first thing I am going to do, besides get your information, your horse's information for my treatment chart, is see the horse.  I want to see the horse walk, trot, turn on shoulders (if possible) turn on hind end (if possible), and then we will tie the horse up and I am going to lightly run my hands down each side.  I will start at the ears and work my way down the neck, then around the shoulder, withers, and front leg, then down the back and barrel, under the belly, then point of hips, tail area, down the gaskins, hocks, lower rear legs, buttox, and then repeat on the other side, noting any areas I see that might need extra TLC.  As I find things, I am going to ask you questions.  What is the horse doing, what are you noticing, has this been an on-going issue?  Earlier injury?  Is the area currently under veterinarian care?  Previous vet care?  What did you do for it?  Did it help?  And so on.  Pretty simple and casual.



What do I need to do after treatment?

     Be sure the horse has plenty of water.  If you have limited buckets, be sure you add another bucket or check more often.  Usually they get a little thirstier after a massage treatment.  I really advocate that they get as much turn-out as possible for several hours afterwards.  Sometimes this isn't possible, however get them out and moving lightly frequently the first day.  Let them have time to roll, stretch, and enjoy.  Some areas that are really bad will tighten back up 24 to 48 hours later.  If I feel this is going to happen, I am going to expect you to do your homework I will give you.  Unless you want me coming out daily, some muscle areas will need daily work for about a week or so, depending on the level of performance the horse is doing.  Many horses I apply essential oils or liniment to severe areas to help prevent the muscles from locking back up.  Please do not bathe the horse up to 12 hours after treatment.


The Chiropractor said massage is not needed

     Well, that depends.  I have worked for veterinarians that were chiropractors that also were accupuncturists and saw how everything comes together.  I personally get chiropractic work with electro-accupuncture.  OH GOD, it is the best thing in the world.  Top it off with one hell of a good massage 3 days later and I'm functioning much longer than if I did the Chiropractor and accupuncture alone.  Knowing how it all applies is important.  The fact that I worked with those vets that also were chiros and accupuncturists gives me a whole different level of knowledge of what they did and how not to screw up their job.  Chiropractors manipulate bone.  They come, they find trouble spots, they realign the bones, flex the joints for realignment, and treat the skeletal portion of the body.  A Chiropractor that does accupuncture is one I will always recommend because when they reallign the bones, the troubled spots might be pulling out because of a muscle issue, or by realigning something that has been out for a while, the muscle needs to be relaxed, treated, so it can reform and help keep the bones in place.  One thing that the accupuncturist doesn't do, is treat the whole muscle, and the rest of the supporting muscles that support the muscle they just treated with accupuncture.  This is where I come in, at around 3 days later, and work the troubled areas that now are hurting from the new alignment, muscles that might not have been used before are sore from being used again, etc.  I will treat the muscles, get them to calm down, relax, allowing them to relax and let the chirpractic adjustment stay.


There are very very few chiropractors who employ a massage therapist and the horse gets a 100% treatment the day of the visit.  In a perfect visit, in my personal eyes, the visit would go like this.


Chiropractor finds troubled bone alignments.  Massage therapist works the muscles relaxed.  Chiropractor adjusts.  Electro-accupuncture is applied and at the same time, massage therapist works the rest of the body to allow for the treatment to take root properly.  Sometimes a treatment would need maybe a different order, however the process is still the same.  Chiropractor does the bones, accupuncturist does the deep treatment on severe areas, massage therapist does the supporting muscles and tissues.  That is a true treatment plan.


Unfortunately, we have this separation among the industries.


Whether you use me or someone else, please take the following to heart.


  • Anyone that takes a thin stick, pencil, rod, and run it quickly down a horse's back and tells you this huge speal about being sore, be cautious.  I can make a horse do the same thing and know there is nothing wrong with that horse.  The horse was startled, reacted normally.  Some horses are more sensitive than others.
  • Yes, almost every horse is sore in the back.  The way they are built, they take a lot of weight to that area.  So yes, your horse will need TLC to its back often.
  • Constant problem areas may need X-rays.
  • Bad feet will cause balance and muscle issues, bone alignment issues.  Please ensure your horse's feet are trimmed and balanced before spending money on a chirpractor or massage therapist.
  • A massage therapist will not and should not ever manipulate the bones.  Please do not ask.  Sometimes when releasing a muscle, the bones realign naturally.  However, many times, a chiropractor may still be needed to assist in realigning the bones after a muscle has relaxed and stopped being the cause of the alignment issue.
  • Problems are rarely one spot.  Yes hind end injury can manifest in the opposite front end muscles.
  • Yes, your horse can still be sore the next day, and why homework is essential.
  • No matter who you are dealing with, never let them double talk, over talk, or make you feel dumb.  If you are unsure of what someone is doing or saying, have them clarify.  Anyone that feels they are too above making sure you understand thoroughly, falls under questionable to me.
  • If your Veterinarian or Chiropractor has a treatment plan they wish for me to follow, I will be thrilled to work hand-in-hand with them to benefit your horse.  The last thing I want to do is change anything they have planned.  Please be honest with me when you tell me about the chiropractic or veterinary visit.
  • I am not a Veterinarian, I am not a Chiropractor, nor am I a Farrier.  While I know a lot of information, I will not give medical advice of any kind.  I will always refer you to those that specialize in what you are needing.­


What is your working area?

     I am willing to travel if you are willing to compensate for my added mileage.  I have figured up to 60 miles from Augusta Kansas on Google Maps will be my "Zero Fuel Sur-charge.  It will be $30.00 for each 60 more miles that I have to travel.  Please contact me to see if I am able to come out that way.  If it is more than 1 hour drive, weekends will probably be best going into winter.



I have my own essential oils, can we use them and save money?

     Honestly, I don't have any markup for the oils and liniment I use in my therapy.  So there is no flexibility at this time to allow for a discount.  If my prices increase, we can look at it at that time.



Do you do dogs?

     Why yes I do.  Dogs and cats, goats, cattle, pigs, etc all can benefit from a good maintenance massage.  If they are injured, then of course they benefit tremendously!  Dachhounds need a lot of neck and back work, danes need shoulder and hip work, working dogs usually have upper leg, knee, hip and shoulders to work on.  Their needs all depend on what is sore.  Currently the $30.00 treatment price is the same for the other animals.  The animal must be easy to handle, not aggressive, and not under specific orders from a veterinarian.  If the animal had recent surgery, it is best to wait at least 14 days before beginning any treatment.  We don't want any of the other muscles to move things that aren't ready to move yet. 


If I want multiple treatments to help an injury or performance, do you have packages?

     Packages can be arranged, based on the frequency and the length of time needed to treat the area in question.  This will be considered on a case-by-case situation.  It will require the first visit at the normal price for initial treatment, then we can sit down and come up with a plan together. 


Do you have any "Frequent Customer" deals?

     Like a punch card?  I can see about doing something in the future.  And when I do, I can back-date treatment times up to 1 year when I do come up with a good idea on how to work that in.