When we are limited as to what we can do with our horses it is always nice to take a step back from the craziness and spend some quality time with your steed.
Maybe you have had competitions cancelled and have therefore eased off the workload with your horse, or maybe you are avoiding social contact, your horse will still be there for you.
Here are some reminders about why massage is so beneficial for your horse (and you!) and what you can do.
Benefits of Massage
– Promote endorphin (feel good hormone) release
– Encourage good blood circulation
– Reduce fluid retention
– Increase range of motion
– Bond with your horse
– Pick up on any new/changing lumps and bumps
– Help shift that winter coat and increase coat shine
– Improve muscle tone
– Stress relief for you!
Types of Massage
The 2 easiest types of massage (where you can’t go too far wrong) that you could try with your horse are the following:
Effleurage – A series of stroking movements which always make up the beginning and end of a massage session. At the beginning of a session it prepares the tissue for the massage to follow by ‘waking up’ the nerve endings and increasing blood flow, at the end of the session it helps to remove any toxins released by the massage. This should be done with a flat hand against the horse in the direction of the coat. Start at the head and work your way slowly along the whole length of your horse.
Petrissage – This is the kneading motion that will make up the main bulk of the massage. Small circular movements can be performed using the heal of the hand or finger tips on more sensitive areas. If you suffer from stiffness in the hands or cramping you can use a rubber curry comb for this. Avoid any bony areas such as the point of shoulder, the dorsal processes across the wither and point of hip. Always follow petrissage with effleurage as mentioned above.