Equine Sportmassage


Sportmassage is a very useful and good way to support your horse's health. Horses are athletes that we want in optimal shape so they can move and perform well. It's our obligation to them to keep them in this optimal shape. 

 

By massaging the horse we can improve the blood circulation, which can improve a better recovery with injuries. De muscles are being maintained well by the massage which will give less muscles cramps and tightness. Horses that have sore joints can have a lot of benefit from a massage due to the increase of jointfluid(synovia). A massage can also decrease inflammations or swellings. 

 

Besides all of the above a massage can highly improve the overall condition of your horse, no matter the age of your horse. A massage is a nice addition to your routine, it will help your horse be more aware of his body and he will get the chance to relax. 

 

What is massage good for?

  • Improves blood circulation + nutrients to tissues and muscles
  • Get rid of tense and tight muscles, cramps or knots
  • Increases muscle built and muscle tone
  • Increases flexibility and range of motion
  • Helps with body awareness 
  • Decreases inflammations and swellings of joints
  • Gives an overall better condition 
  • Stimulates circulation of the lymph system
  • Increases synovia in joints
  • Learns the horse to relax and release
  • Helps to prevent injuries 
  • Relieves congestion 

Common signs of muscle problems:

  • Rejection or resistance to directions
  • Neck or head pain
  • Short or irregular strides
  • Drag of the rear legs
  • Lameness in hip and/or shoulder
  • Problems cinching
  • Sore back when you are grooming

How and when to massage your horse:

  • In between competitions to maintain a good development
  • After exercise to limit the effects of fatigue
  • After and during lameness or injuries
  • When you feel or see uneven development of the muscles.
  • When you notice tension and stiffness
  • When your horse refuses to work or coöperate.
  • Sudden changes in the temperament of your horse
  • Problems not solved by conventional methods.

 

Equine massage does not replace the care of an equine veterinarian.  Always consult a veterinarian specialist in case of colic, lameness, injuries, weight loss or other emergencies. 

 

Equine Taping


Equine taping is supposed to work on five major physiological aspects of the body: skin, fascia (connective tissue), muscles, joints and the lymphatic system. The stickyness and streching of the tape allows the hair to be lifted from the fascia, which provides more area to bring circulation into the area. Besides the improvement of circulation, it can help remove edema and lymph. The theory is that, as the tape is stretched over the skin, it creates convolutions (skin wrinkles), which allow the lymphatic system to work more efficiently.

 

This elastic cotton tape is designed to be like a second skin, which allows normal movement and ventilation of the horse. There is also the possibility to ride the horse while using tape. The technique used to apply the tape depends on what therapeutic effect you want to achieve. It can be used to compress an area, decompress to lift the skin, make muscles work harder or make muscles relax.

 

What equine taping can help with:

  • Increase blood flow, lymph flow and oxygenation which promotes healing of muscles and the whole body. 
  • Relief from soreness, tension, muscle spasms and trigger points. Because of releasing pressure off the skin, the skin receptors for pain sent less signals to the brain. This will give some pain relieve.
  • Improve recovery after exercise or an injury.
  • Reduce edema and swelling.
  • Helps relax overused muscles.
  • Provides support to tendons, ligaments and joints.
  • Helps to improve muscle and joint mechanics.
  • Promoting body awareness which helps with a correct body posture and a healthy use of the body. 

Stretching


Stretching improves the muscle tone, elasticity of ligaments capsules and therefore it can help to prevent muscle knots. A strong muscle that has been stretched resists better against injuries than one without stretching. Stretching is something you can do on a daily basis, after exercising your horse so his muscles are warmed up. Below you will find some examples of stretching exercices you can perform with your horse. 

 

Benefits of stretching:

  • It improves circulation by carrying more oxygen and nutrients to the muscles
  • It can help prevent inflammation and adhesions
  • It helps to prevent sore muscles and knots
  • Helps to improve body awareness for your horse
  • Improved flexibility of your horse
  • Improves core stability

So there are certainly advantages to a well-executed stretch. Everything you don't use often, “rusts”. Joints and muscles are meant to move, so there is absolutely not wrong to keep them moving. Even after a treatment from a masseuse, a physiotherapist or osteopath you may be given some stretches to further improve your horse's body. For example, thanks to the work of the therapist, the mobility of the joints and muscles are optimalised. 

 

Risks of stretching:

 

Most of the time we use food to lure the horse into stretching. There are horses that are so focused on food that they no longer feel their own body in the stretch. All they are after is that candy or carrot. Knowing these horses, you can easily go too quickly and too much at once. It is quite difficult to imagine the flexibility or stiffness of your own horse. You may find that your horse can stretch a little further, but he cannot always do that. Therefore it is very important to only stretch with warm muscles(after exercise)!

 

Tips for stretching: 

 

Stretching your horse can beneficial, but there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Prefer to lure your horse with a bit of hay instead of sweets or carrots if your horse is rather fixated on food, this way he will continue to feel his body a little better while stretching.
  2. Keep the food close to the mouth so that the horse does not reach for the food with too many jerky movements. What you want it slow, steady movements into stretching.
  3. Warm up your horse before the stretches, for example by walking for 10 minutes. You can also do it after your regular exercise (dressage, jumping, trailride, lunging etc). If your horse has box rest, build up your stretch really slowly.
  4. Don't expect too much at once. Let your horse hold the stretch for a few seconds and build up slowly from there.
  5. Keep an eye out for things like tilting the head, stepping away with front or back legs, curving the front legs. These are all signs that your horse is trying to get out of the stretch.

When in doubt, always ask expert help. Stretching your horse can be very good, but it can also promote injuries. So handle it wisely and listen to the signals your horse gives you!