Equine Massage Scotland

 stretching back and neck for a carrot another 'carrot stretch'  finger-kneading at the poll firmer pressure relaxation and trust gives access around the scapula click to enlarge

Debbie Joy   EThPK, DSM, DIHM

How I Work

Basil now loves head massage

My first interest, like yours, is the welfare of your horse or pony, aiming for massage to be enjoyable and beneficial by planning my approach, observing the horse's body language and adapting what I do to the individual horse as I work. Trust is gained by respecting the equine's responses, knowing when to ease off and when to persist gently. The more your horse feels safe to relax and co-operate, the more beneficial the massage. I use a flexible, adaptable and patient approach - this pays off every time because with horses things rarely go exactly to plan.

Before visiting, I ensure that massage is suitable for your horse by talking to you about the reasons for massage including any health issues, and by contacting your vet for approval. On arrival you can give me further information such as: what your pony is like; how he lives; whether she enjoys being touched and handled; level of exercise; amount of turn out and company of other horses and ponies. I also like to see how your pony moves before assessing by touch to find out which areas of the body are sensitive, sore, stiff or tight. Before starting the massage, I outline my plan so you understand what I am doing and why.

Quiet, calm, sheltered surroundings are best for this kind of work and your horse will get the most from the massage if dry and clean. Massage, like grooming, does not work on a wet coat. Your knowledge is essential – your horse might prefer to be tied up outside despite a few distractions or will be happy in a loose box as long as there is a bit of hay to be going on with. Whatever works best to allow me to work quietly and focus on your horse. However, most horses will struggle to relax and engage with the massage with dogs running around or at feeding time on the yard. Safety for all concerned is paramount so the massage will be planned around any “no-go areas” your pony may have, even if the long term aim is to change how she feels about these areas.

I like to give as much feedback as possible about what I am doing and how the horse is responding. Whenever possible, I will give you some suggestions about massage strokes and/or stretches you can do for yourself between or after my massages. Doing some of this work for yourself will maintain the benefits of the massage and bring you closer to your horse.

I keep written records of assessments and massages, including the horse's reactions, so I can evaluate between sessions, look at changes over a period of time and report accurately to you and your vet as needed.

© Debbie Joy Equine Massage 2012

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