“Healthy, supple muscles stay one stride ahead...”


Healing Hands: Therapy For The Equine Athlete

Equine MassageThe athletic demand for all performance horses often causes stiffening and bracing of the muscles which in turn can lead to injury in other areas. This is also common with all performance horses, no matter age, breed or athletic demand.

NMRT (Neuromuscular Release Therapy) and Myofascial release is used to stimulate soft tissue repair in affected areas. To restore much needed blood and oxygen to the muscles allowing for function with less pain. In turn, this hands on therapy relieves irritable points in the nervous system which normally show up as knots in the muscle.

Therapy is used to alleviate nerve entrapment and postural distortion, which if left untreated, will result in under development of supporting muscles, thereby creating weakness and over use of reactive muscles which become fatigued and sore.

Releasing muscle spasms will create stimulation of the lymphatic system to support a better immune function.

Benefits include: Supple and relaxed muscles which allows the horse to lengthen the neck and travel straighter to help increase stride length and better balance.

Releasing the Loins will encourage the horse to raise his back muscles in to a desirable arch, allowing for better use of the Top Line muscles with improved pelvis angulations, hence better elevation of the shoulder and forehand.

Take into consideration that most of us Human Athletes have suffered a sore neck or pain in our back and shoulders at some point, due to excess use of the muscle or by a strain that you don’t even remember happening. We normally can continue to go about our business in spite of the pain, but it remains a constant distraction. It is hard to relax and think of much else while the nagging pain continues

Often our Equine Partner will continue to perform to the best of his/her ability in spite of the fact they often have a sore neck or back just because they use it on a daily basis. Horses by nature are one sided and crooked, this alone can cause over use of one side of the body.

For the Show Jumper
Due to the impact on landing after a jump, bearing in mind all of the horses weight as well as the rider’s weight land on the front two legs. Any loss of balance will cause the Ribcage to be pushed forward because of the momentum. Now add extra speed to the Jump off with fast turns, you can see how easy it is for the horse to torque and strain a muscle.

Three Day Eventers
With all three disciplines in Training, these Athletes use everything they have, speed, endurance and strength. Lactic Acid build up is common in this sport, this causes muscles spasm, and the muscle tightens and causes the muscle to shorten. These athletes will benefit mentally as well as physically with this Therapy.

Driving Horses
These Athletes are normally stiff laterally, just due to the nature of the sport. Releasing and softening the muscles of the neck and back have proved to have had very positive results.

Fox Hunters
Any horse working at speed as well as jumping on uneven terrain for long stretches will inevitably be tight and sore. After the adrenalin wears off, some horse may appear slightly unsound. Impact injuries often cause neck soreness as well as back.

This Therapy is ideal to enhance a quicker recovery.

Depending on the level that the horse is training often depends where the soreness occurs. Training at new levels often causes tension and in turn causes tightness and spasms of the muscle. Each horse can hold the tension in different areas of the body. At the higher levels, the loins can take a lot more of the impact; soreness can show up in stiff joints, especially the hocks. The shoulders can also become stiff and locked.

Therapy can help create more suppleness which the horse and rider will benefit from.

"In addition to being a great teacher, Jacqui is also knowledgeable about massage therapy for the equine athlete. She can work on a horse and find the tight or restricted areas of the muscle fascia. When these areas are released, the horse is more balanced and relaxed allowing it to perform better. I have had her work on my horse and the results were seen the next day when I rode him. His movements were more free and relaxed. It was overall a very beneficial experience for my horse and I wholeheartedly recommend it to others."

Kristine Brock