Equine Massage: It’s a Relief!

Borrowing from human massage techniques, equine massages help to reduce stress and pain for the animal. According to research, massages offer recovery benefits for horses who exercise and participate in sports. Horses receiving massages appear to maintain positive attitudes and remain relaxed for more extended periods.


Massaging is one form of therapy in which a veterinarian, trainer, or owner applies pressure to muscles to help the horse relax. A horse will react to the pressure by responding positively if it feels good. A horse may kick, bite, or move away from the masseuse if pressure on a particular muscle is painful or makes the horse uncomfortable. However, it is undoubtedly one of the nicest ways to connect with a horse, to achieve harmony between the rider and the animal.

Using the hands or tools such as a curry comb, tennis balls, or electrical vibrating devices to apply pressure to muscles and joints, owners manipulate tissue to increase blood flow and loosen tight muscles. These techniques prepare a horse during a warm-up and help the animal to heal after surgery. Other therapies include joint mobilisation and acupuncture.



Under the UK’s animal protection act, owners must take horses to the veterinarian to treat any illness. Failure to comply may result in prosecution. There are some treatment exceptions, including physiotherapy and chiropractic care. However, check with your vet to ensure compliance. Only a vet with specific training can perform homoeopathy and acupuncture. Owners may provide treatments to animals themselves, but can’t hire anyone else to treat the horse’s illness. However, even an owner can’t intrude on the animal’s body. For instance, only a vet can give permission for an owner to use a needle to administer treatments. The rules governing animal welfare are strict and complicated. Simply put, in most cases, it’s against the law for a non-vet to treat an animal.