Equissage California Equine alternative health Equine Sports Massage certification program
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Equine Sports Massage certification program
equine alternative therapy
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Equissage California
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History of Equine and Animal Massage

Massage has been used for therapeutic purposes on both humans and animals since the very dawn of time. Its beneficial use has been documented in our earliest cultures from the Egyptians... to the Phoenicians... to the Greeks... to the Romans and on to the present time. It is noteworthy, that in the very first books on human and veterinary medicine, entire chapters would be devoted to the use, benefits and implementation of massage therapy.

Later on, as so-called miracle drugs were developed, the medical establishment in concert with the fledgling pharmaceutical industry decided that "old fashion" therapies and treatments like massage were no longer needed, nor did they have any meaningful place in a health regimen.

It was only when prescription drugs (some with side effects worse than the condition's symptoms) became too prolific and too expensive did people begin to reconsider some of those therapies discarded in the past. Slowly but surely, in the last quarter of the 20th Century these modalities along with some "newer" Eastern Cultured Therapies began to compete in a very real way for the acceptance and dollars of an increasingly discerning society. That is, society began to realize that they were often getting as much relief and treatment from "alternatives" as from the Pharmacist's drugs and the surgeon's scalpel.

At the same time, people were beginning to understand that if these alternative therapies could help them, they would probably work as well on their pets and the other animals in their care. Thus, in the late 1980's there began to be a significant move toward the use of these alternative therapies on both companion animals and horses involved in racing and show events.

Chief among these therapies in actual therapeutic value and cost effectiveness has been massage.

Among the many documented benefits of massage are:

  • Improves circulation and as a result, promotes more rapid healing of injuries.

  • Enhances muscle tone and  increases range of motion.

  • Eases muscle spasms.

  • Reduces inflammation and swelling in the joints so that pain is relieved.

  • Relieves Tension.

  • Stimulates circulation in the lymphatic system and hastens the elimination of waste products and other toxins.

  • Lengthens connective tissue and so breaks down/prevents the formation of adhesions and reduces the danger of fibrosis.

  • Generally improves the disposition of the animal.

  • Increases the production of synovial fluid in the joints.

All this achieved with the powerful power of touch!


Here are a few of the common conditions that could greatly be improved by Equissage Therapy.


  • Head tossing

  • “Off” for no apparent reason

  • Shoulder or hip lameness

  • Stiffness and resistance

  • Coordination difficulties

  • Short, choppy strides

  • Incorrect leads

  • Sore back

  • Difficulty bending

  • “Cinchy” horses

  • Attitude problems

  • Loss of performance ability

  • Tying up


Why it works…


Sometimes tight spots develop that cause discomfort and hinder a horse’s performance. Muscle tightening does not remain in an isolated area or state.  Since Tendons are only about 10% elastic, thus, 90% of elasticity comes from the associated muscles.  If 1 group tightens, the next group of muscles compensate for the lack of elasticity.  The tension can travel from one area to another compounding the problem.  For instance, tightening in the shoulders can travel to the forearm, down to the tendons of the lower leg.


Through massage, tension and adhesions (knots), are broken up by using a series of different strokes.  Then by increased circulation and oxygen to the area, the body naturally removes the toxins and tension form the affected areas leaving the horse feeling more relaxed, in less pain, and able to perform better than before.


Disobedience in a horse can often be due to pain and discomfort. When the pain is relieved, the horse’s disposition will improve.


Massage therapy is not a substitute for veterinary care.  It is a wonderful addition to your current health care regimen.


equine alternative therapy

Learn about the Instructor
at Equissage California,
Sabrina Kohoutek >>


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