From a very young age horses were amazing animals in my mind. More so for their pretty colours, the fact I could ride one, and could play with their manes and tails like all little girls loved to do. Now I consider them as one of the greatest athletes on the planet for not only for their speed and stamina but the variability displayed between disciplines, especially considering they aren’t built to carry a rider. Any athlete that increases their workload, whether that’s a human or animal, may need extra help to increase performance and decrease the risk of injury. One form of alternative therapy is sports massage therapy, one of the oldest forms of healing in humans.
Sports massage therapy has been practiced around the world for thousands of years and more recently is being administered along side a multidisciplinary team of doctors, physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors, and in the equestrian world, veterinarians. Determining how massage techniques affect the body and knowing what physiological and psychological implications may be taking place at different times during performance will enhance the massage outcome. It can be used in the preparation leading up to (Pre Massage), between (Inter-competition Massage), and assisting in recovery (Post Massage) of training and competition (Weerapong, Hume, Kolt, 2005).
Here are some benefits to each type of massage and research to back it up!
This very short summary was taken from a previous paper I wrote but I thought some of the information might be interesting to post. It can be seen by the way in which the equine athletes react and the increase in sports massage therapy treatment over the years within the equine industry that it assists in the prevention of injuries and overall athletic performance.