Equine Massage Therapy
Learn the Basic Movements
Equine massage therapy is a very broad subject and many books have been written about the subject. I am not
able to provide you with all the information that you would receive from reading a whole book. What I am going
to provide you is the Basic Equine Massage Therapy Techniques (sometimes called manipulations or
movements) and share with you what you won't find in most books - "Tricks of the Trade" I have learned through
my years of education and experience.
Equine Massage Therapy is broken down into specific movements. These movements can affect the horse
either through the horse's muscle tissue or the horse's nervous system. Quite often, both are affected at the
As mentioned before, one of the great benefits of equine therapy is not only the physical body, but the
mental and emotional state of the horse as well.
This happens by moving the horse from the Sympathetic (stressed) state to the Parasympathetic (relaxed)
state. This is called the "Relaxation Response".
Please read Proper Body Mechanics for Equine Therapy
before continuing with this lesson.
Basic Equine Massage Therapy Techniques
I am going to cover some of the basic equine massage therapy movements. I will give a brief description of what
the movement is, when to use the movement, and how to apply the movement. Once the weather is better, I will
be able to get to the videos. I thank you for understanding that this is a new site and I am trying to get it done
as quickly as possible.
I will also try to point out which movements are used most in Equine Sports Massage Therapy since this
seems to be of interest to many people. The movements that I have available at this time are:
There are a few more that I can add at a later date, but these are the main movements used in equine massage.
The different versions of equine massage therapy such as Swedish, Therapeutic, and Equine Sports Massage
all contain these different movements applied in different sequences.
By performing a thorough Equine Evaluation first, you can decide which movements will be the best for your
I will try to make a seperate page about how to form a sequence or routine in the near future. But here are just a
few tips about how to make a routine or sequence to get you started.
The typical order for an equine massage therapy session is:
Start slow with strokings and effleurage.
Prepare the area with petrissage.
Move into the therapeutic movements such as compression and friction.
Go back to petrissage and effleurage to drain the area.
During the session, you can intersperse:
Tapotements to loosen or stimulate areas.
Shaking to release tension and increase circulation.
Be sure to walk your horse briskly after the session. If you feel it is Ok, you may ride your horse lightly. The
purpose of this exercise is to get the blood flowing through the horse's body to help increase the circulation even
further and to remove any toxins or waste products released during the session.
If you are having a hard time making up a sequence for your horse, a good book about equine massage therapy
that has a variety of different sequences is:
A Practical Guide
by Jean-Pierre Hourdebaigt
Other books about equine massage therapy are:
Information presented is for educational purposes only and is not intended
to replace professional opinions or recommendations.
Consult your veterinarian for advice about any medical condition or
treatment needed for your horse
Related Pages in Equine Massage:
- Where to Begin
- Equine Behavior and Behavior Problems
- Safety Tips to Use During an Equine Therapy Session
- Proper Body Mechanics to Avoid Fatigue and Injury
- Equine Anatomy and Physiology - Equine Anatomy Charts
- Benefits of Equine Massage Therapy
- How to Perform an Equine Evaluation Prior to Therapy