Massage therapy is designed to stimulate blood flow, which warms the area being massaged. This encourages vasodilation (the dilation of the blood vessels), which decreases blood pressure and increases the oxygen and nutrient supply to the muscles. This also helps with the removal of toxins that build up in the muscles during exercise, such as lactic acid.
There are lots of therapy products on the market and it can be difficult to know what to choose for your horse. However, we particularly like the Equilibrium Massage Pad. We’ve used it ourselves and have found it makes a positive difference to our horses. Plus, it’s super easy to use, which is always a plus in our book!
Features & Benefits
The massage pad has been designed to promote relaxation and flexibility across the horse’s back. It runs for a maximum of 30 minutes using pulsing, vibration, and stroking actions. It can be used daily and helps horses both physically and mentally.
There are three settings that can be used which allow you to choose the intensity of the massage:
- Low – Great to use after exercise to help the muscles to cool down.
- Medium – To use before exercise to help cold muscles to warm up, great for cold backed horses.
- High – The most intense setting, perfect to help ease sore muscles the day after hard work.
When introducing the massage pad for the first time it is advised that you have someone with you, just in case your horse is nervous of the equipment. A great tip is to turn the massage pad on before fastening the strap; this way if there is a problem you can whip the pad straight off.
Top tip: if you pre-adjust the straps to your horses size before placing it onto the horse it will make the process of inducting the massage pads easier. Start off with the chest strap and make your way around to the other two, crossing them over before strapping on.
The massage pad will automatically select the lowest setting and you can change this easily; depending on the intensity of the massage you want. It is advised that once you have used the massage pad that you unplug the battery to help prolong its life. When fitting the straps, they should be tighter than a rug but not as tight as a girth, to make sure the pad stays in place. The straps are easily adjustable to allow the pad to be used on a wide range of horse and ponies.
When to use Massage Therapy
- For horses on box rest to promote circulation and healing
- After exercise to help disperse toxins
- Before exercise as part of the warm up
- On your horse’s day-off
- To help treat and soothe sore backs
- It can be used everyday
It has been shown to improve flexibility and to promote relaxation by lowering the horse’s heart rate. It is a well-known fact that tension is a common reason for horses to underperform. This can be down to many reasons – back problems being the most common. By increasing relaxation and improving flexibility, tension can be reduced significantly. Just like us, horses can also benefit from a massage every now and again, reducing stiffness, hollowness, shortened stride length, or in more serious cases – napping, bucking, and rearing.