The Equine Massage Academy offers unique training and relationship building with horses. The Principal, Angela Hall offers 1 day Equine Massage Workshops for Owners through to a fully accredited career course to become an Equine Massage Practitioner or to enhance the skills of those already working in equestrianism making them more employable.
Angela has a unique way of working with horses, whilst she teaches traditional anatomy & physiology and proven techniques she has her own repertoire of techniques that bring about a profound experience with the horses and for observers. She works with the horse’s mind as well as its physical body which she believes is the only way to treat a horse, the horse has to work with the human and build a rapport before the treatment even commences.
During her Owner’s Workshops the bonding between the horse and the owner is greatly enhanced and you learn how to prepare a horse before its competition and afterwards, also a few remedial techniques should the horse be unfortunate enough to suffer injury. A great asset to endurance riders and horses!
Equine massage not only improves performance and injury repair but bonding and wellbeing of the horse are also enhanced. If you can replace a riding day a week with a massage you will have a very appreciative horsewho will be better prepared for his work and appreciate you more for it!!
Angela speaks at Endurance Groups throughout the country where she makes emphasis on specific conditions to endurance riding. For example, tying up (muscle tension/spasm) is a common condition associated with the muscular system of the horse. It involves chronic tension in the muscles due to overwork. When a muscle is active it produces lactate as part of its normal metabolism, however too much lactate causes lactic acid which is a lowering of the PH in the muscles and the body in general. This then impacts on the efficiency of metabolism, giving rise to fatigue. The excess lactic acid prevents the muscles from relaxing following contraction, as a result large muscle groups tend to seize up and remain in a state of contraction and cause pain to the horse.
Typing up manifests in varying degrees, in mild tying up the horse’s muscles are extremely sore and stiff (very similar to a human having done a burst of exercise then feels very sore a day or two after). In fully blown tying up, the horse is unable to move. Massage can help to dispel the lactic acid via the lymph system (in other words the body’sown dust bin) which helps to repair the muscles, re-energize them for further work and help the horse to feel less sore and reduce the risk of further muscle damage.
Endurance horses tend to experience the sporadic exertional form of tying up which means intense exertion causes the muscles to become exhausted, leading to destruction of the muscle cells. They experience this because prolonged sweating alters the body’s electrolyte balance to the degree that it affects muscle cell contraction.
What would help this is rest accompanied by a post competition massage at least an hour after exercise or the following day along with gentle exercise such as walking. This speeds up the healing process and will help the muscles return to a more efficient state by loosening up the muscle fibres and dispelling the lactic acid. It also helps to disperse oedema (or swelling) and helps prevent scar tissue forming. Equally to assist performance further a pre-competition massage can be undertaken which prepares the muscles for the additional workload placed upon them, by warming up and suppling the muscles it helps to minimise injury. Stretching should also be incorporate into this routine to minimise any damage to tendons and ligaments.
It is proven that prolonged muscle fatigue can in time, adversely affect the skeletal, circulatory and respiratory systems as seen in competition horses, particularly in the racing world. And if muscle injuries aren’t treated then the muscle becomes shorter and weaker over time.
Angela teaches a variety of techniques on her 1 day Equine Massage Owner’s course…..she says: “ When practising massage on horses, we all have our own styles that we adopt through practice and experience but what I have learned is that one can only achieve good results if the horse remains co-operative and relaxed. I can immediately feel when the horse is tense, the whole body feels taught and rigid and massage would be impossible. This can indeed be challenging as the horse’s first survival response to any intrusion is to take flight. When we are handling a horse, it doesn’t normally have that option and it falls back into its second survival response which is to guard, to push against or to brace. What I do is to stay under the radar of this ‘survival response’ by applying pressure to the horse lightly and slowly enough initially that allows me to bypass this bracing or guarding response whether it be internally or shown externally by the horse. This enables me to access parts of the horse’s nervous system that will yield or release tension so that I can then perform a deeper massage and work with the horse, not against it”
For more details of the services offered by Angela and the Equine Massage Academy please visit www.massage-for-horses.co.uk