Equine Massage Therapy
Course Name: Equine Massage Therapy
Equine massage therapy is a relatively new and growing field in the equine industry. Equine massage is the therapeutic application of massage techniques developed and used by human athletes, applied to the horse. It has been credited with increasing performance level, competitiveness and endurance. In addition, massage assists in prevention of debilitating muscular injuries and in speeding injury recovery time. Benefits are most notable in improved performance as well as injury prevention to the horse. In our Horse Health course the muscular and skeletal systems of the horse are studied. The Equine Massage Therapy course will add to the understanding of these systems and teach skills to aid recovery of muscle, tendon, and ligament strains or injuries. The Equine Massage Therapy course will add to the student's understanding and capabilities in caring for both the recreational and competitive equine. Recreational and performance horses often lose training and work time due to muscle, ligament, or tendon strain or injury. The positive effect of massage therapy for horses has been demonstrated with great success. We have used these techniques for several years on resident horses and have been pleased with the results. We feel this skill will be beneficial to any student going into a career in the equine industry. Feedback from employers, veterinarians, and other industry professionals has encouraged us to develop this course for our students.
This course teaches massage strokes and techniques, causes of muscular fatigue and soreness, skeletal structure of the horse and muscles of the horse. Students will learn and practice massage strokes and techniques on Meredith Manor school horses and have the school horses available to evaluate the results of the massage therapy.
Week 1. Introduction to massage therapy: introduction to the causes of muscular fatigue and soreness; benefitsof massage therapy; evaluation of school horses who might need massage therapy.
Week 2. Massage strokes and techniques described, demonstrated, and practiced on school horses; Skeletal structure of the horse.
Week 3. Muscles of the neck: massage strokes and techniques described, demonstrated, and practiced on the necks of school horses.
Week 4. Muscles of the shoulder: massage strokes and techniques described, demonstrated, and practiced on the shoulders of school horses.
Week 5. Muscles of the back: massage strokes and techniques described, demonstrated, and practiced on the backs of school horses.
Week 6. Muscles of the hind end.
Week 7. Muscles of the front limbs: massage strokes and techniques described, demonstrated, and practiced on the front legs of school horses.
Week 8. Muscles of the hind limbs: massage strokes and techniques described, demonstrated, and practiced on the hind limbs of school horses.
Week 9. Full body massages practiced on school horses: observation of school horses in riding and training classes to evaluate the benefit of the massage.
Week 10. Pre and post performance massage: strokes and techniques described, demonstrated, and practiced on school horses.
Week 11. Relationships with trainers, owners, and veterinarians; complimentary therapies; chiropractic, acupressure, proper shoeing.
Week 12. Review and final exam.
Following successful completion of the Equine Massage Therapy course, the student will be able to:
- Meet industry criteria in knowledge and skills to perform basic equine massage.
- Describe knowledge of the equine muscular and skeletal systems and evaluate muscular problems.
- Demonstrate hands-on techniques to reduce muscular fatigue, tension, and stress in the horse.
In order for students to acquire the knowledge and skills of Equine Massage Therapy, the instructor will use a variety of teaching methods including expository learning, discussion, demonstration and practice. Students will have the use of 150 resident horses for demonstration and practice. The horses used in the Massage Therapy Program will be used in the teaching-learning process and be available for continued observation to evaluate the benefits of the massage techniques.
Students will be evaluated on their knowledge and skills through written tests, lab practicals, and demonstrations of techniques. Written analyses and conclusions of pre and post horse performance data will be used to determine the effectiveness of massage strategies on equine athletes.