Massage and bodywork can be powerful tools for improving your horse’s performance. Primary issues such as repetitive work, injury, illness, chronic conditions, tack fit, stress, conformation nonconformities, and hoof or dental discomfort can all cause your horse to develop compensatory movement patterns resulting in tension and restriction that negatively affect performance.  Even after the primary issue has been resolved, tension and restriction often remain and cannot be released without the help of massage and bodywork.

PERFORMANCE ISSUES KNOWN TO IMPROVE WITH MASSAGE & BODYWORK

  • Trouble picking up/maintaining particular canter lead
  • Sore or rigid back
  • Resisting the bit
  • Heavy on the forehand
  • Not stepping under behind
  • Holding head flat, crooked, or to the side
  • Head tossing
  • Intermittent front end ‘lameness’
  • Not extending out with front legs
  • Choppy gait, short-strided
  • Girth discomfort
  • Muscle imbalance
  • Head-shy
  • Ewe-necked; hollow-backed
  • Trouble bending laterally in one direction
  • Balance and coordination issues
  • Bucking, rushing, and other behavioral/training issues
  • ‘Hitch’ in the gate behind, hind leg drags a toe
  • Less agile and flexible
  • Lack of forward impulsion, perceived laziness

WHEN NOT TO PERFORM MASSAGE & BODYWORK

There are many instances in which equine massage and bodywork may be an inappropriate modality for a horse in need of other facets of care including acute injuries, illnesses, or pregnancy (especially during the first and last month). Upping Stone welcomes the opportunity to confer with your veterinarian to determine if massage or bodywork is an appropriate component of your horse’s overall care.