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Benefits of Equine Sports Therapy

horse muscles

A range of techniques are used including:

  • Sports Massage
  • Stretching
  • Acupressure
  • Electronic Acupuncture
  • Electronic Neuromuscular Stimulator
  • Pulsed Magnetic Field Therapy

Massage Benefits Explained

  1. Increase the range of motion.
    A horse that moves better is more efficient in his stride. There is less wear and tear on the joints, ligaments and tendons equating to a longer performance life. Some disciplines rely on a big moving horse, so enhancing the stride improves the gaits. A longer and more efficient stride in a racehorse can make a big difference in lengths at the finish line. The dressage horse that is flexible looks and feels better. A jumper uses a major amount of muscle during his take off, flight and landing.
  2. Improve stamina.
    By increasing the range of motion, you’ll find the horse is working again in a more efficient manner, thus improving the stamina as well as the performance.
  3. Improve the disposition.
    A horse that is not comfortable has to be a saint if he never complains about it. I know plenty of saints! Other individuals will present their objections by changing their behaviour. Often, you’ll look back in hindsight realising that your friend was trying to tell you something well before an injury took place. He wasn’t just being difficult, he was attempting communication.
  4. Provide comfort to muscle injuries.
    Massage benefits rehabilitation following an orthopaedic type problem or actual muscle injury and aids in reducing swelling. After the appropriate time for healing, massage, stretching and proper exercise can help the process along by encouraging the scar tissue to lie down in a better pattern. Reducing any amount of scar tissue can help restore the muscle to a better returning function.
  5. Enhance the performance and gait quality.
    By improving the stamina and disposition as well as the range of motion, the performance and gaits also reap the benefits.
  6. Improve circulation.
    After a massage a horse actually looks like he has been to the gym. His veins are easy to see and the coat is glossy. With the circulation going it helps stimulate the elimination of waste products in the system.
  7. Reduce tactile defence.
    Some horses don’t want to be touched. They are not used to it when you put on the surcingle for the first time - you’ll be looking for an escape route! Most of the time the ones that are nervous need a deliberate touch program. They come around fast as long as other factors are first investigated and ruled out.
  8. Assess the physical condition.
    Subtle changes in texture; temperature and tension can be detected when massaging. Attention to minor problems at an early stage can prevent further injury.

Stretching benefits

  1. Allows for a greater elasticity of the muscles, tendons and ligaments that then allow for greater levels of flexibility and agility.
  2. This increased flexibility gained from stretching will allow greater ease of these movements and prevent serious injuries.
  3. Stretching of injured tissue helps restore the natural elasticity within the muscle tissue.
  4. Increased flexibility and range of motion in the joints.

Acupressure benefits

  1. Muscle spasms relieved by application of pressure upon specific points.
  2. Resolve injuries more readily by removing toxins and increasing blood supply.
  3. Release endorphins necessary to reduce pain.
  4. Release natural cortisone to reduce swelling prompting the body to heal itself.
  5. Enhance mental clarity required for focus in training and performance.
  6. Build the body’s immune system.
  7. Used commonly to treat sore backs but is used on a variety of other problems as well.

Neuromuscular Stimulator

This electrical current stimulates contraction of muscle and can be varied in intensity and timing so that muscles are contracted and relaxed thereby preventing atrophy and promoting mobilisation of joints. Muscle stimulation treatment is especially useful for fractures, tendon injury, joint strain, muscle tears, haematoma, post surgery.

Electronic Acupuncture

Provides a complete therapy programme which uses a mild electrical current in place of needles. It’s a painless safe sonar device enabling location and precise sensitivity points for treatment.

Pulsed magnetic field unit

This provides highly effective treatment for the following:

  1. Chronic pain
  2. Acute inflammation
  3. Fractures and bone damage
  4. Open wounds
  5. Soft tissue i.e. sores backs, muscle tightness etc.