You or your designated representative must be present for the initial consultation to share the horse’s history, hand-walk/trot the horse for gait analysis, and orient me to your barn. Paperwork emailed to you after scheduling should be completed prior to the start of your appointment. Once you are an established client, you are welcome to stay and watch or attend to other business.
Distractions make it a challenge for your horse to settle and relax. Please schedule your appointment for a quiet time of day. Feeding time is not ideal! Other distractions such as hay in the stall should also be removed. And during warmer months when the bugs are out, the application of fly spray or use of a fan may be appropriate.
Give some consideration to the location of the massage. Identify a place that is quiet, clean, and well-lit where your horse feels comfortable and secure such as their stall, a small pen, or cross-ties.
Your horse should be reasonably clean and dry. Upping Stone is available to groom your horse for a $10 fee. Please let me know in advance if you would like to add this service and have your horse’s grooming equipment available for use.
DURING THE APPOINTMENT
Horses’ reactions to massage and bodywork vary greatly. It may take your horse more than one session to understand the process and what is expected. It is natural for them to seem distracted, restless, or even a little agitated at first, especially when trouble spots are addressed. Some horses are much more comfortable showing visible signs of tension release while others may feel they are showing signs of weakness that in the wild would get them picked off by a predator or kicked out of the herd as a weak link. If your horse does not exhibit large releases, do not despair, it is still working!
Subtle responses include blinking or twitching of the eye; twitching or quivering of the lips; change in breathing (i.e. holding breath, breathing faster); sighing; grinding teeth; fidgeting; dropping head; and softening of the eye or facial expression.
Larger responses include licking and chewing; yawning; snorting, sneezing, or grunting (especially repeatedly); “shaking loose”; passing gas; rolling back the second eyelid; stretching and flexing; wobbling behind; kicking out or snapping hind leg; and running nose and/or tear ducts.
AFTER THE APPOINTMENT
Exercise is an important component of Sportsmassage Therapy. It is recommended that you ride your horse within 7 hours of the massage in a long and low frame, especially at a canter. Remember, there may be a period of adjustment as your horse resets his muscle memory and you get accustomed to his restored range of motion.
If you are unable to ride immediately following your horse's session or your horse is not ridden, turn-out for the rest of the day or hand-walking for 10 minutes if they are to be stalled is recommended. Upping Stone is available to hand-walk your horse for a $10 fee. Please let me know in advance if you would like to add this service.