In my last blog I detail out how to create a massage therapy schedule for you horse no matter the discipline or work load.
Does my horse really need to be on a massage schedule? you may ask. Yes. Yes they do. I have one really great story about how impactful it can be.
Totes (JC: Floor Trader) is a flashy chestnut 2008 OTTB turned show hunter in the Jacksonville, Florida area. He's currently working his way into the three-foot Thoroughbred Hunters. But what you don't see is the beginning of Totes' story and the journey it's been for him to get to where he is today.
Totes came to his owners with a low body score (I'm talking like a TWO -- keep reading there's photo evidence of the sad condition he arrived in) and needing some serious TLC. They slowly started putting weight on him with good-quality feed and hay, made sure he was caught up on his health records such as shots, farrier, etc., and introduced under saddle work. I was then called in to help ease Totes' transition to being a riding and show horse.
My initial session with Totes was tough. He had very little muscle mass, was a bundle of nervous tension and was overall very body sore.
After speaking with his owners, barn manager and trainer, we developed a massage schedule and stuck to it! Session after session Totes showed improvement throughout his muscle - especially his top line & hindquarters - and more relaxation and acceptance. I visited with and massaged Totes every 4-6 weeks and was thrilled at the progression I saw from session to session.
Each session identified where he was sore and reactive which told of problem areas, whether it be areas of weakness or even saddle fit issues. I was happy to see Totes becoming a livelier, outgoing animal. I started to see the light in his eyes and how much he appreciated the work we were doing.
I was even more excited to see the happiness Totes' recovery brought to his owners and riders. They shared his successes with me and profusely thanked me for helping in Totes' journey to become a healthy happy horse.
When I moved away from the Jacksonville area Totes had successfully built muscle in all the right places due to a schedule that allowed him to progress through a light riding schedule while still making leaps and bounds in his performance and condition.
When I return to the area to treat clients, they are one of the first I contact to schedule a session.
All photos by Megan Yanko.