The Benefits of Equine Massage
By MaryAnn Myers, Yahoo! Contributor
There is no magic to equine massage, no hocus pocus, no snake oil.
Equine massage takes a scientific approach to healing. Sore muscles most
often respond to touch. Watch anyone describing a sore muscle and
almost always, they place a hand on the affected area. I had an
opportunity to talk with Equiflex trained Equine Massage Therapist Alan
Zabiegala who explained precisely why equine massage works and its many
"A lot has been said regarding equine massage, but I think humans
forget to use this therapy in different situations for their equine
athletes. Many trainers underestimate the power of a 'pre-event and
post-event massage.' Like most athletes, the warm-up is critical. Horses
are warmed up by their riders before the event, but a pre-event massage
loosens, warms, and readies the muscle for an event."
I follow Alan from one horse to the next and look over my shoulder.
"Was that horse smiling?"
"The post-event massage relieves muscle pain and stiffness by
returning the muscles to a normal state much faster than if they'd been
allowed to go without a massage. After vigorous exercise, dehydration
takes place in the horse and with loss of fluids it is harder for them
to cool down. Massage will restore damaged muscles but more importantly,
it will help prevent damage before it happens."
I'm a believer. I'm also a good listener.
"Another forgotten use of massage," Alan says, "is for the injured
equine. Massage improves circulation and as a result, promotes more
rapid healing of injures. One recent case comes to mind. A young
hunter/jumper rider was getting her horse ready for a big show. She had
put a lot of time in training for the event and they were moving up in
the point standings."
Alan pauses to concentrate fully on what he is
"A couple days before the event, she turned her horse out in the
pasture as usual, but he was feeling his oats that day. He was bucking
and kicking and accidentally wrapped his hind leg thru the steel paddock
gate. Luckily, no bones were broken but he did have some cuts and some
pulled ligaments. Working with the local veterinarian, we started a
massage plan that drastically cut down the healing time. The horse and
rider were back in the show ring in weeks instead of maybe months."
"Equine sports massage helps to keep the entire body in better
physical condition, but it needs to be use in conjunction with regular
Medina Equine Massage is based in Medina, Ohio.
Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor.