With Big going through so many negative changes due to his PSSM diagnosis, I’ve been looking into ways to manage his pain as a key to his healing. It seems simple, he is clenching his hind quarter muscles in an effort to deal with the pain and then becomes too stiff to move. Without movement, he isn’t able to “detox” and start to rebuild muscle which continues the nasty cycle of “tying up” symptoms and muscle clenching. Yesterday he received his very first massage from a licensed equine massage therapist.
Here are a few things to do if you are shopping for an equine massage therapist:
- Ask around for recommendations: we horse people tend to be
bat shit crazyoverprotective and picky about who comes within 10 yards of our precious equine friends. Asking around for recommendations as well as who to avoid. The nice part about recommendations is that you can *hopefully* work out a nice deal if you mention the name of an already established customer.
- Look for certified equine massage therapists: avoid that random dude who watched a video online and now believes he can charge and arm and a hoof for equine massage therapy. Certification means training beyond the normal level of research – it also means you can establish the reputation of a therapist based on their background.
- Establish a relationship: your equine massage therapist should have an understanding of your needs and the needs (and quirks) of your horse. If you are looking for a therapist who is going to help manage pain for a PSSM horse, that therapist should have an understanding of the disease. The same should apply if you are heavily involved in an equine sport that requires and understanding of the muscle usage of your horse partner. Establishing a relationship also means a schedule – Big will be professionally massaged every 6 weeks and I will handle the in-between sessions for maintenance. My equine massage therapist provided a ton of information and recommendations for oils and other products to use in between sessions.
Because this is a fairly new addition to our regime, I don’t quite know about the long-term impact of equine massage. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t seen a MASSIVE change in the way Big holds his rear hindquarters and is less frequently clenching. So far I have super happy with the results and the price point is reasonable.
Anyone else with an equine massage therapist on speed-dial? Considering it? Let me know in the comments below!