Xenophon, an ancient Greek historian, philosopher, soldier, and mercenary, also recognized the value of massage as an important aspect of horse care. Xenophon is best known for his writings, which cover a wide range of topics including history, philosophy, politics, military tactics and horsemanship.
Xenophon was a horseman for his entire life, first as a cavalryman and then as a country gentleman on an estate given to him by the King of Sparta. He is referred to as the ‘father of dressage’ since he was the first to write about it.
In “On Horsemanship,” also known as “The Art of Horsemanship,” Xenophon emphasized the importance of caring for horses and discussed various aspects of horse management, including grooming, feeding, exercise, and massage, which he believed helped to prevent injuries, relieve muscle tension, and maintain the horse’s physical condition.
Xenophon’s writings on equine care, riding and massage were influential in the ancient world and have continued to be studied and referenced by equestrians, historians, and scholars interested in the history of horsemanship and horse care.
His observations on the benefits of equine massage highlight the long-standing recognition of massage as a valuable practice in the care and management of horses.