Does pain related behaviour become a habit when the pain has gone?
By Lizzie Hopkinson
We all know that massage is good for us, and for our horses too. We enjoy it, we feel looser, more relaxed, more supple afterwards. In a perfect world many of us would love to have a massage every day. But while we probably can’t manage to achieve that, we can try and give our horses a basic, simple and quick massage everyday. It is possible to build a period of massage into your horse time without too much effort.
In the olden days, grooms used to spend hours strapping their horses. This time they spent was amazingly beneficial for the horses. The grooms would know every inch of their horses and be attuned to any changes long before that change might have translated into a problem. In our fast paced modern life that is simply outside the realms of most peoples’ lives, however using a few simple massage techniques can give us, and our horses, some of the benefits of hours of strapping without the time expenditure.
Regular massage prevents the build-up of tension in the muscles, encouraging the muscles to relax. This means that over time the horse has less chance of becoming tighter on one side than the other, which can lead to asymmetry and in the long term can lead to further problems.
Just as massage has a beneficial effect on our mental state, so to do our horses find massage relaxing. Watch a horse being massaged and you will see in the movement of the muzzle and the ears that horses find massage deeply relaxing. Just like us, horses will find themselves more resilient in the face of stress if they are starting from a point of relaxation not stress.
Massage is surprisingly easy to learn to do, why not take a look at our “Horse Massage for Horse Owners” bundle deal to get you started?
And finally, massage is a lovely way to spend time bonding with your horse.