Horse Previews Magazine website - Posted on 01/07/2001; 2:00:00PM.

Equine Sports Massage Therapy

by Laura Attaway, LMP, ESMTII * Horse Mountain Massage

Ok, you have heard the jokes about "How do you get the horse to lay down?" and "How do you find a table big enough for the horse?" But what is Equine Sports Massage Therapy? Equine Sports Massage Therapy, ESMT, is massage for horses that increases circulation, flexibility and range of motion, ROM. Through increased circulation and flexibility the possibility of injury can be reduced. Should an injury occur ESMT is a powerful tool to assist and speed healing.

Next you ask, why does my horse need a massage? Performance is a stressful activity. You and I engage in stressful activities each day. Be it dealing with traffic, the boss, the in-laws, co-workers or our beloved horses, life is stressful. At the end of the day you and I can crawl into a hot tub or hot shower and `veg-out' and relax. Some of you get massages. Our horses don't have to worry about traffic, except maybe at feeding time. Our horses don't have in-laws or co-workers to deal with and their `bosses', well.........they have their good days and bad days. Yet the stress of cutting that cow, turn on that barrel, sliding to that stop or that last 5 miles on a 50 miler does add up on your horses muscles. Stress very easily builds into pain in the muscle tissues. Pain can bring out several different reactions in your horse. These reactions range from refusing the correct lead, shortened stride and stiffness to launching its rider off its back because the back is sore to outright lameness. Muscle pain and stiffness is due to stress, reduced flexibility and circulation. ESMT is a powerful tool in maintaining your horse's performance what ever the discipline you and your horse participate in.

Your horse is a marvelous animal, capable of providing you with hours of pleasure. The benefits of increased performance through increased flexibility, reduced stress, attitude improvement and reducing the possibility of injury are all available to you through Equine Sports Massage Therapy. These benefits can go a long way toward increasing the pleasure and performance you receive from your horse for the rest of its life.

This is the first in a series of articles on Equine Sports Massage Therapy. Topics will include flexibility, Stress/Attitude, and Injury Prevention/Rehabilitation. These articles are being written by Laura Attaway, LMP, ESMTII, owner of Horse Mountain Massage. Laura has been doing massage on humans and horses for 8 years. She has worked with a 6 month old filly born with a birth defect, a frisky 4 year old off the track to 20 year old retired show horses. She is licensed in the states of Oregon and Washington. She happily travels throughout both states. Laura can be contacted on-line with any questions at ljme@attworldnet.att.com. Call to schedule a massage at (509)-990-9608.

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