Deborah Holden equine sport and rehabilitation therapist covering Skipton and Yorkshire! ESMT, IAAT, PGCE, ITEC, BTEC, VTCT. Fully insured.

Introduction to

Equine Sports Massage is a hands-on therapy which uses professional sports massage techniques. Equine Sports Massage provides a full evaluation of your horse's musculo-skeletal system, to ensure it is performing at it's optimum and not concealing any problems. Massage treatments provide many benefits to the whole body, in particular can alleviate and prevent problems in the musculo-skeletal system. Every horse can benefit from massage treatments.

ESM is especially beneficial for...

  • Changes in behaviour or performance
  • Muscle fatigue after competition
  • Nervousness, Shortened stride, Cold back
  • Stiffness, Difficulty warming up
  • A muscle injury, On box rest
  • A musculo-skeletal condition
  • Preference to one rein
  • Difficulty working in a soft outline
  • Conformational fault
  • Regular competitions or expected to perform to a high level
  • Prevention of musculoskeletal injuries



What is Equine Sports Massage?

Equine Sports Massage (ESM) is a complementary therapy which is used in conjuncton with veterinary procedures and in some cases in association with other therapies, chiropractors, remedial saddlers and farriers. ESM uses a range of professional techniques; Swedish massage, muscle energy techniques, active and passive stretches. ESM works not only on the muscles and soft tissues, but also affects the skin and many other systems such as the nervous, skeletal, circulatory and lymphatic systems. All the techniques use a hands-on approach allowing the therapist to explore the muscles for areas of tightness, spasm or soreness. ESM is a therapy which covers the whole body relieving muscle tension and compensatory tension, and therefore allows the horse to function at his optimum. ESM is a powerful tool in examining the musculo-skeletal system, and can find and relieve muscle spasms/tension even before the signs become obvious.

ESM can be used on every horse, pony and donkey from the companion animal to the happy hacker to the top athlete. The range of techniques used in ESM means that it can be beneficial for any horse including; improving and maintaining suppleness in the sports horse and therefore improve performance and reduce risk of injury; treating conditions from back pain to stiffness; preparing your horse for competition; assisting recovery and relaxation after competition.


What to expect?

Prior to the initial consultation your vet must give permission for treatment. Your vet may or may not wish to see your horse before giving consent. All information provided is strictly confidential.


Initial Consultation

All clients must first have an initial consultation which takes up to 1 1/2 hours. The initial consultation may involve:

  • Discussing the horse's history and any presenting problems
  • Gait analysis
  • Conformation check
  • Saddle fit check
  • Foot and farriery observation
  • It might be necessary to see the horse being ridden or lunged


Following these observations a full body massage will be performed, which helps the horse accustomed to massage techniques and also allows the therapist to find any problem areas. Further treatments may be required dependent on the problem areas found.


Follow-up Treatments

Follow-up treatments will cover the whole body and the routine will be tailor made to the individual animal, with more time spent on problem areas. As the animal become accustomed to the technqiues used, the therapist can work deeper into the muscles.

All treatments will include Swedish massage techniques and may also include other massage techniques, active and passive stretches. After treatments, the owner will be provided with aftercare advice and may be given exercises and stretches to perform between treatments.

Contact Holden Equine Today

For more information on Holden Equine's sport and rehabilitation therapies please contact us.