The Benefits Of Massage For Your Older Horses

Modern care has improved so much that many horses are now able to enjoy a productive career well into their late teens and 20s and then to go on to a long and happy retirement. I even know of an OTTB who will turn 39 this year. Whatever size or breed you own, at some point, your horse or pony will be affected by age related concerns.

As your horses ages, and wear and tear sets in, joints become a little stiffer, muscles become a little less elastic and a slower, less capable repair and immune system make it harder for your horse to recover from exercise, injury and infection.

One very valuable and effective way to improve your older horse’s health and well-being is with Massage.

Massage eases and balances sore, tight muscles and joints and supples fascia for more comfortable, efficient movement.

Massage can reduce stumbling by relaxing physical restrictions and improving proprioception, the awareness of position and movement in the body.

Massage increases blood flow, delivering oxygen and nutrients to tissues to improve exercise recovery, digestion and skin quality.

While massage does not increase muscle strength, it can stimulate weak and inactive muscles and bring them back into action.

Older horses with the stereotypical sway back will benefit from massage combined with core building exercises.

Massage releases natural pain-killing endorphins so your horse will experience less discomfort.

Massage releases happiness chemicals dopamine and serotonin to leave your horse with lasting feelings mental relaxation and improved mood.

It’s important to consider the older horse’s overall health when providing a massage. An older horse may be more sensitive to pressure, their joints could be compromised, and their muscles and skin may be more susceptible to injury or skin infections. They may get cold or overheat more easily. They may be on a medication that affects how the horse responds to touch.

Massage techniques with lighter strokes, kneading and pressure point work and gentle range of motion exercises without traction are more likely to help than long traction stretching, deep tissue massage or aggressive chiropractic adjustments. 

One massage can soften muscles and fascia and help your horse relax and feel better.

Regular massage sessions can reduce physical stresses, help maintain range of motion and muscle function and improve overall wellness.

Massage can make a huge difference in the longevity of your horse’s career and quality of life.

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