My clients sometimes ask me if they can do anything to help; others do not even ask me how they can help. I thought I write this article to help clients and horsemen in general prepare for an Equine massage session. An unprepared horseman is not at fault therefore it is the therapist’s job to explain how helps him/her. Equine massage therapy is still new and it takes educating to help others understand the art and how to prepare for it.
A good therapist will keep records and reports of the massage session. Be preparing to provide general personal information, such as phone number and mailing address, and know answers to questions such as breed, age, weight etc. In order for the therapist to assess the health of the horse he/she needs to know this sort of information; this way if something goes strange the therapist can assist another practitioner or notify the client’s owner based on previous records of previous sessions. Please ask your hired therapist to keep the information private and be clear as who can view the forms – vet or farier for example.
When I have the owners fill the forms out I am careful in explain the purposes of the form and the protection of privacy. I use the information provided to keep track of health and contacts. When I discuss examples with other clients I never refer to the horse by name or the owner by name. Again it is helpful to a therapist to have information on the horse and general information on the owner. If you do not feel comfortable writing a piece of information down, then do not unless the therapist “needs” it. Treat the therapist as”medical” personnel even though he/she is not “medically” trained in the vets are. He/she is a practitioner after all.
Next cleaning the horse is greatly appreciated. Therapists do not like massaging a dirty horse. The dirt gets into the skin of both therapist and horse; this is unhealthy. Please “groom” the horse fully and properly. This also helps the therapist find bacteria, skin issues, bone issues, muscle issues, or other similar health issues. It is the therapist’s job to assist in keeping a healthy horse; grooming will help expose any problems and save money in the long-run.
Please clean out the horse’s hooves. No, the therapist is not going to shod the horse but he/she does not want to deal with dirty feet either. When the hooves are cleaned out the therapist can better address the muscles. An uneven hoof or discomfort from a dirty hoof can cause stress in the muscles. The therapist may examine the hooves for blood circulation or problems that may impact the horse’s health. Remember, while a therapist is not a vet or farier his/her opinion, assistance, or concerns are just as important.
I hope that this article was helpful. If you have any questions or thoughts please feel free to contact me. The purposes of your reading these articles are to help you better understand the art of Equine massage therapy. These articles are written from observation, communicating with other horsemen, and experience on the field. Your questions will help me address the horse public in form of an article answering that specific question. It is my job not only to help my clients but also to help educate and be educated.