Pony Club Excersices


Four F's
Diet & Care



Equissage is the oldest horse massage school around
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Introducing Sports Massage Therapy for the performance horse. At the dawn of a New Age in medicine, the human athlete has many choices in the search to reduce injury, but in the equine field, this area is in its infancy.


The Horse is an Athlete.


Horses compete in sports for a living just as many human athletes do, but somehow people never stop to think that they get sore and tired too. They are expected to compete for years doing difficult physical feats without ever being worn out or sore.

Factors Leading to Muscle Injuries in Horses.

1. Overwork of the young or unfit horse.

2. An unbalanced rider.

3. Badly fitting tack.

4. Falling or slipping in a muddy field or paddock.

5. Trailering accidents.

6. Insufficient warm up and cool down before and after work.

7. Accidents in the cross-ties, flipping over or getting cast in the stall.

8. Injuries at birth, or at a very young age, lead to problems under saddle later on.

9. Too much work in a ring and in only one discipline – horses need to cross-train for total fitness and muscular development.

10. Too little turn-out causes muscle stiffness – horses need to move!

How Do I Know My Horse Has Anything Wrong?
1.  A sudden weight loss
2.  A change in temperament, your nice horse is now nasty
3.  Always bucks or rears - there’s a reason
4.  Attacks your saddle
5.  Tries to bite your leg when you’re riding
6.  Starts lying down after being ridden
7.  Seems unusually tired after being ridden
8.  Is wild and crazy
9. Is totally dead and unresponsive
10. Has that “long ago far away look” in his eyes
11. Hot or cold areas in the body
12. Hard lumps under the saddle or girth area
13. White hairs growing
14. Cannot bend their neck well
15. Does not have normal range of motion in the joints and limbs.
16. Hates being groomed, cranky most of the time.
17. Flinches away from being touched or clipped
18. Has trouble holding up legs for the farrier
19. A poor and fussy eater
20. Won’t gain weight
21. Foul smelling manure or urine
22. Has trouble with leads, refuses to jump
Therapeutic Massage - Sports Massage Therapy
Therapeutic massage is the same as is done on human athletes, except adapted for the horse. It is deep therapy with great pain relieving and relaxation benefits. The benefits are:
  • The breaking down of scar tissue, and the increase of range of motion
  • Lessening of problems under saddle caused by stiffness and soreness
  • A more toned and fit athlete
  • The prevention through early detection of injuries
  • Increased circulation to aid in the healing of injuries
  • Improved digestion caused by stimulation of the nervous system
  • Improvement in temperament
  • Faster healing and return to work after injury
  • Reduction of stress through endorphin release, the brains own painkillers.

The applications of massage are as follows:

DIAGNOSIS: Strictly of soft tissue damage: strains, scar tissue, lesions, knots, hot spots, trigger points, tears, connective tissue damage.

PREVENTION: to find injuries when they are still in their infancy, and haven’t had the chance to become fully blown yet. This will help the trainer/rider to keep tabs on how the horse is holding up under the stress of training and competition. This is especially useful when a horse moves up in their training and the body is undergoing additional strain. It helps cope with the rigors of competition, and reduces stress at shows.

MAINTENANCE: to maintain a healthy body and give an overall feeling of well being because the pain of performance is being dealt with on an ongoing basis. The massage will also help the horse’s body to work better as a unit, instead of having the strong muscles pulling the weaker ones, and create overall better muscle tone.



If the horse has had an injury, trailer wreck, fallen through a fence, had to be on stall rest for a while or any other kind of emotional/physical trauma, it causes associated pain.