As seen on BBC Look Northwest and BBC Radio Lancashire
A.R. Equine Therapy offers Sports massage, Myofascial Release Therapy, Trigger Point Therapy, Stretching (Passive and Active), Equine Touch, Saddle Fitting and rehabilitation services.
Massage is the application of hands-on techniques that are used to relieve tension, muscle spasm and improve the horse’s over all performance as well as rehabilitation from trauma and injury.
Other benefits include improved flexibility, disposition, stamina, greater range of motion and reduces strain on tendons and ligaments. This is not an exhaustive list, there are many more benefits and massage can be used on the performance horse through to the aged family pony.
Myofascial Release Therapy works on the fasica surrounding muscles helping to release tension from injury and scar tissue.
Trigger point therapy works on releasing trigger points within the muscles to help relieve knots and spasms.
Stretching (Active and passive) Active Stretching: When the horse stretches by the guidance of a person. It can be while riding, or by getting the horse to move in a certain way on it's own (such as getting the horse to stretch his neck by holding out a carrot).
Passive Stretching: When the person physically moves the horse's body for him - usually done with the legs and tail.
Equine Touch is a non-diagnostic, non-invasive energy and muscle release discipline that works at a complete, holistic level; in other words it addresses the equine as a whole.
It is not a 'therapy' although it has been proven time after time to have a strong therapeutic effect on an eclectic multitude of equine problems.
Equine Touch is perhaps best looked upon as a holistic equine training 'discipline'. The gentle non-invasive procedures re-educate the equine body to re-balance from a cellular level, encouraging the horse toward the ideal state of homeostasis, wherein any problem can be addressed on all levels.
What is Equine massage?
Equine Massage is the application of hands on techniques applied to the horse. Massage has been used for many years to increase circulation and increase range of motion. Overuse, overstretching and over loading muscles can cause small tears in the muscle fibres that can restrict movement and cause pain. Massage helps to trigger your horses natural ability to heal due to the increased circulation which brings nutrients to the tissues and takes away waste products that can build up and cause problems for muscle function.
Benefits of massage
Massage can be used as a preventative and maintenance as well as rehabilitation following injury. So just because your horse is well does not mean he does not need a massage. When used as a preventative massage can help to spot problems in the muscles before they develop into more serious problems. By assessing your horses way of moving, a body worker can use this to work out which muscles could be tight or sore and zero in on these to release the tension to help your horse move in a more effortless manner. SO by addressing the minor issues in soft tissue adaptations that are occurring from older injuries and by correcting incorrect movement patterns that have arisen from the horse holding himself incorrectly from old injuries, the horse can perform in a more economic manner. By improving the horses way of moving by improving the gait quality, range of motion and flexibility, the horse has less wear and tear to soft tissue and joints, thus prolonging his working life. For those owners who have had a massage on themselves, you know how much looser and flexible you feel. This is exactly the same for your horse.
Massage improves a horses disposition. By removing pain in the muscles, and making the horse feel more comfortable in his body, this can produce a positive change in the horses disposition. A massage can also help with orthopaedic issues by keeping muscles flexible and pain free thus helping to reduce secondary problems arising in the soft tissue caused from compensatory movement from pain from the orthopaedic problem.
As massage improves circulation and so increases nutrients delivered to the tissues and removes built up toxins, a result of this is an increase in the quality of the horses coat and skin, producing a shiny healthy looking coat. Also from the increased flexibility from massage and stretching allowing for a greater range of motion, this reduces strain on tendons and ligaments, maximising tendon and muscle elasticity resulting in easier lateral work, increased stamina when working and a reduced risk of injury in the horse.
Signs of pain in the horse are many. A change in your horses disposition, a dulling of the coat, biting, kicking on saddling, cold backed, refusing jumps, striking off on the wrong canter lead can all be signs of pain. Massage can help all the above, but it should never be used in a lame or sick horse without a veterinary check and diagnosis first.