Equine Massage Therapy Techniques
Tapotement (sometimes called percussion) can be
used in Equine Massage Therapy at the end of a
session to help stimulate and wake up the horse. Or
it can be used during a session to increase
Tapotement can be light or heavy.
- The lighter the movement, the quicker it usually is.
- The heavier the movement, the slower it usually is.
This is due in part because the heavier tapotement
needs to go deeper into the horse's muscles.
In Equine Sports Massage Therapy, tapotement is
used to warm up the horse's muscles prior to
In my therapy business, I use it to help loosen up "stubborn" muscle groups, especially in the hind end. This is
because the horse's hind end muscle groups are very large. It is hard to get deep enough sometimes and heavy
tapotements can be used to loosen up the muscles. Kind of like the ripple in a pond effect. (I will demonstrate this
in a video - that I should get to once the weather gets better).
Clapping is like clapping your hands together. Except, one of the hands is your
hand, and one is the horse's body. You will use both hands and alternate back
and forth. Clapping is usually done briskly and is a stimulating movement.
Cupping is done with the hand "cupped". It is similar to clapping except that
the cupping of your hand causes this movement to be somewhat less
aggressive. It also can help to increase your horse's circulation by drawing
the blood to the surface.
Hacking is done with the pinky side of your hand. Keep your fingers and wrists
loose and alternate your hands. Hacking penetrates fairly deep into a horse's
muscle and can be used on large muscle groups.
Beating and Pounding:
Beating is done with a relaxed fist and is also applied with the pinky side of
the hand. Beating is very good for your horse's hind end muscle groups.
Pounding is similar to beating except with a firmer fist (still relaxed) and
much harder. This is the one that I use to cause the "ripple in a pond" effect I
spoke of earlier.
As you can see, there are lots of ways to apply Tapotement. Once again, you need to be very careful to only use
tapotement on your horse's large muscle areas. Avoid bony areas. And you also need to be sure not to apply
tapotement over the kidney area of your horse.
Tapotement comes in many varieties
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