Equine Sports Massage Therapy & Spinal Manipulation

60% of the horse’s body is muscle so it is very important to keep the muscle groups working properly helping to prevent injury. A damaged muscle locates surrounding muscles for support and help. This in turn could lead to secondary injury if these muscles become overloaded and struggle to cope with the extra work. An equine sport masseur looks at the horse as a whole, considers all possible causes and effects of any tension whilst interpreting the horse’s reactions and expressions. All horses can benefit from the equine sports massage treatments which Hannah offers at her Berkshire yard or at your location within Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, ranging from the precious family pony, to the top quality competition horse competing in any discipline and at any level.

Massage hugely benefits the well being of the horse by releasing tension and aiding mental relaxation. The incorporation of passive stretches help to keep or restore joints and muscles to their full working capacity. Massage can be incorporated into any training regime, pre and post competition/race, keeping muscles healthy by maintaining strength and suppleness to minimise stiffness. In the event of an injury, massage is of great benefit as it speeds up the recovery period by preventing atrophy (wasting) of the muscles during a period of box rest or restricted work.

Muscles receive their nerve impulses from the spinal nerves and are vulnerable to interference via spinal joint problems. Spinal Manipulation is achieved by the speed of the adjustment, on the opposite side to that of greatest muscle tension. Given with adequate speed, the muscles contract sharply on impact and a reflex relaxation occurs simultaneously in their opposing group allowing anatomical re-alignment. Unless the muscles that support the specific area have been treated are of equal strength, the problem is temporarily ‘cured’ but will always recur. In the cases of severe muscle wasting or asymmetry it is more sensible to treat and build the weak muscle before manipulation; otherwise the incompetence of the wasted muscle stands no chance in retaining correct joint alignment without muscle support.

Equine Sports Massage Therapy - Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire

Does your horse show signs of:

  • Change in behaviour
  • Dislikes being groomed or tacked up
  • Resistance when asked to back up
  • Unable to track up
  • Prefers one rein or struggles to keep straight
  • Struggles to execute lateral work and lack of bend and poll flexion
  • Favoring one canter lead or unable to maintain the correct lead
  • Refusing to jump or always knocking down poles
  • Struggling to work up or walk down hills
  • Resistance to relax and drop head carriage
  • Hollow backed, bucking or cold backed when tacked up
  • Holding the tail to one side
  • Generally feeling that your horse is not quite right

All of the above could be signs of pain and discomfort in your horse and should be investigated.

Hannah applying spinal manipulation

The various massage, spinal manipulation and stretching techniques enables the horse to perform to its full potential by:

  • Enhancing performance – lateral movements, jumping technique, gait quality, stride length and temperament.
  • Influence muscle strength and nerve supply by enhancing circulation, relieving muscular soreness, aiding natural body recovery post exercise, post injury and preventing injury.
  • Enhance healing by retraining tissue mobility and minimizing the risk of scarring, adhesions and muscle atrophy.
  • Maintaining strength and flexibility in the muscles by assisting the removal of toxins that are present in muscles post activity.
  • Maintaining anatomical alignment through Spinal Manipulation resulting in equal muscle strength.
  • Psychological benefits through achieving a state of relaxation both general and local and maintaining a stable state within the body.

Human athletes would rarely compete without preparing their bodies using massage and stretching exercises, so why not the equine athlete!

Picture of horse getting treatment from Hannah

All treatment sessions include:

  • History log.
  • Full assessment - both static and dynamic.
  • Thorough sports massage treatment incorporating myofascial release techniques and trigger point therapy.
  • Passive stretching exercises.
  • Spinal Manipulation.
  • Follow up advice and care, including ridden exercises and ground exercises.
  • Advice given on retraining methods or rehabilitation.


  • £40 initial consultation (approx 1.5 hours)
  • £35 for any following sessions (approx 1 hour)

All ESMA practitioners are aware of the Veterinary Act, which states that no person may treat a horse without the consent of the Veterinary Surgeon whose care it is under. Therefore permission will always be gained from the horse's Vet before treatment can take place.


Please note: If your horse suffers from any of the following, massage treatment may not be able to take place.

  • Immediately after an accident.
  • Following an accident with suspected haemorrhage. Use ice and compression, request professional assistance.
  • If there is persistent undiagnosed pain.
  • If the horse is dehydrated.
  • If there is any type of general or local infection, including undiagnosed fever.
  • Cases of skin disruption, fungal or bacterial infection of the skin is present, including rain scald.
  • Cases with colic and ‘tying up’.
  • To remove acute pain/discomfort during competition without veterinary or medical agreement.

Tel: 01793 710720
Mob: 07826857710

Human Sports Massage Therapy

Hannah also offers human massage therapy - treating your horse? - why not treat yourself........

Holistic Human Massage Therapy →