The Magazine September 2023

Hands-on for health

Posted 8th August 2023

Remedial equine therapist Gillian Higgins explains how to make massage a part of your daily horse care routine


You know how tired, achy muscles can make you feel miserable, stiff, uncomfortable and generally lacking in energy. But have you considered that your horse can feel the same?

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, and you don’t need to wait until your horse has a problem. Massage therapy is one of the tools at your disposal and it’s very effective and powerful. So let’s look at what you can do in between treatments to help keep your horse comfy.

Comfort first

Whichever activities you take part in, your horse will feel the benefits of massage. As his care-giver, taking responsibility for his musculoskeletal comfort is very important.

Think of your horse as an athlete. As soon as you add weight on his back, you’re also adding stress and strain on all his joints, ligaments and soft-tissue structures. As a result of this, his posture and ability to move, balance and perform are compromised.

Multiple benefits

Equine massage helps your horse in so many ways, as it…

  • promotes mental and physical relaxation
  • improves comfort and provides some pain relief
  • reduces muscle tension and discomfort
  • improves suppleness
  • increases range of movement
  • helps with good posture
  • enhances circulation
  • supports the immune system
  • reduces the chance of injury
  • builds a bond between you and your horse


Think of massage as grooming with your hands. Get into the habit of running your hands all over your horse’s body and noting what you feel.

Find out more about massage and how to make it part of your horse’s daily routine in September Horse&Rider – on sale now!

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