There are more than 150 muscles in the horse's body, each with a role to play in the way the horse moves. Keeping these muscles elastic and strong permits the horse to do more work with less effort and massage therapy plays an important role in allowing that to happen.

Muscular problems most often occur to horses which are engaged in some form of competition. Just like with human athletes, training pressures have a price. The price your horse pays for overstressing will be (regardless of how slight and unnoticeable at first) a loss of his complete freedom and ease of motion due to residual muscle tightening. The tightening is followed by the development of a spasm at the exact spot where the trauma occurred. As it enlarges, it causes pressure. Pressure causes discomfort and pain. The horse responds to this by resisting, by refusing, or by going "off" in certain movements. The "mystery" is heightened by the fact that these "unexplained problems" have no visible symptoms. However with accurate massage techniques, the malfunctioning bit of tissue can be restored to its normal function, the pain ceases and the problem disappears.

Equine massage is a wonderful evaluation tool. It can be very useful during a pre-purchase exam to help detect previous injuries and invaluable in monitoring how a horse is responding to the stress of training and competition. Understanding that there will always be problems around vigorous activity is "common sense". Preventing problems from occurring is "good horse sense".

The massage touch has a very strong healing influence on the horse. It is widely used to prevent and relieve stress. Massage techniques can affect the whole body by regulating the circulatory, muscular and nervous systems and their interdependent functioning. It helps to disperse toxins and increase oxygenation, for a better metabolism, leading to enhanced performance and shorter recuperation time.

It is important to realize that Equine Massage is an evaluation tool, not a diagnostic. Massage is not a substitute for veterinarian care. It should be used as part of your horses regular fitness and training programs to prevent injury, or as a vital part of a rehabilitation program.

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