Why spend money on equine massage?
Let me ask you a question. Why do you vaccinate your horse? Maybe it’s required if you want to attend shows or 4H activities. But would you get them if they weren’t required? Chances are pretty good that you would. But why? They are pretty expensive, after all!
The answer is this: you want to do what’s best for your horse. When doing what’s best is a priority, we usually find a way to make it work.
Your budget is tight…I get it. You already spend tons of money on your trainer, lessons, show entry fees, tack, feed, vet care, etc. Having horses is an expensive hobby! We often have to prioritize what we *want* for our horse versus what she *needs.*
For my horses, I think that they *need* to be happy, healthy, and pain free. It is my job, as their caretaker, to do everything within my knowledge and ability to make sure those needs are met. For example, I know that for the most part, horses prefer not to be stalled, so our horses have 24/7 turnout with anytime access to shelter. We could certainly stall them, but the research I’ve done says that’s not what’s best for them mentally or physically. (For more info, see here. NOTE: There is nothing wrong with putting your horse in a stall.)
Along a similar line, I want my horses to be healthy and pain free. For me, taking steps to prevent sickness and injury are worth the cost (as opposed to paying vet bills or being without a horse while she heals). My mare was diagnosed with heaves in the fall of 2015. We haven’t had any problems since then; however, she has started coughing occasionally in the last few weeks. It’s been a while since we’ve had a good rain here, so the dry lot is REALLY dry. Should I wait it out and see if it rains soon? Watch to see if her cough worsens? Wet down the paddock every day? Buy a supplement to see if it helps? Doing the free things is a no brainer. In the case of the supplement, I don’t want to spend money if I don’t need to; however, the cost of a supplement is significantly cheaper than treating a full-blown heaves episode. I will begin by giving her a massage twice each week; massage therapy can help with heaves, COPD, and other respiratory issues.
Similarly, sports massage therapy is one form of injury prevention. By reducing your horse’s tension, promoting mental and physical relaxation, increasing circulation, decreasing inflammation, and improving his range of motion, you are intentionally taking steps to develop an equine athlete that is better able to perform efficiently.
Which is cheaper in terms of time and money? A massage 2-4 times per month or…
- rehabilitation for a muscle injury?
- a supplement for anxiety?
- 30+ days at the trainer to fix “problem behaviors” (which might be attributed to pain)?
- buying a new horse because you don’t “click” with this one?
- medications or supplements for decreasing inflammation?
I encourage you to invest in your horse’s health and happiness by trying sports massage therapy. If you don’t see any results, then buy the supplement or send him to the trainer. More than likely, though, you’ll find yourself wishing you would have tried massage sooner.