An integrative wellness plan for a dog or horse will help maintain their health, address issues naturally, and optimize their performance and disposition. Free Motion Animal Massage will work with you to develop a custom program for your dog or horse based on their needs.
Canine and Equine Sports massage therapy includes the use of trigger-point therapy, and compression massage. Additional stretching exercises will provide a unique and beneficial experience for your dog or horse.
Robyn has been riding and showing horses for 19 years, competing at local shows and the Appaloosa Circuit. Her love for horses led her to the career of Equine Sports Massage Therapy. She is also a Certified Canine Massage Therapist. Robyn’s goal is to improve the relationship between you and your pet.
Robyn was certified by Equissage of Roundhill, VA in 2015. The 50 hour training was all hands on and very intensive. It is her hope to provide horses and dogs the best service possible and also tools to make your relationship with them the best possible.
Benefits of Canine and Equine Massage
A dog and horse will benefit from massage in many of the same ways we do as humans. Canine and equine athletes performing to their limits, those that have had injuries or illness, those under stress or tension, and elderly dogs or horses can all gain from the experience of a therapeutic canine or equine massage. The best practice is to incorporate a preventative maintenance schedule to help avoid injuries, but a dog or horse can also be treated after an injury has occurred to expedite the recovery process.
The muscles response to overuse and over stretching is first tightening, then shortening, then ending in spasm. Muscle spasms will interrupt the free flow of motion in your horse or dog. If the spasms are left unattended they will often lead to larger injuries.
In order to perform the bio-mechanics of motion, muscles are arranged in pairs and each muscle has two functions: Contraction and Release. When one muscle contracts (shortens), the bone or joint is moved in the direction of the contraction. The muscle must then release in order not to interfere with the opposite contraction. Spasms interfere with a muscle’s ability to release completely and this is where problems begin.
For example, we ask our horses to “move up” in dressage, on a hunter jumper course, or push for a few tenths of a second off the clock, we tax the horse’s muscular system to achieve the new goals. When asking this much of your horse, you increase their ability and performance level, but you must be careful. We really don’t know how much strain and exertion is required for maximum performance or when we have reached it. Indicators of underlying issues are; resistance to one side, shortened stride, switching or refusing leads, restricted bending, sore back, jumping flat.
Massage during canine or equine injuries
Many times, when a dog or horse gets injured is exactly when and why people contact their canine/equine massage therapist. Massage therapy can help expedite the healing of an injury in many cases. However, there are times when massage is not a good fit and could cause additional pain and suffering. Free Motion Animal Massage will be able to guide you and help determine the best course of complimentary care based on your veterinarian’s diagnosis and your dog or horse’s condition. Massage therapy should never be used in replacement of veterinary care.
Equine and Canine Sports Massage is a 36 step massage that covers the animals entire body. Six strokes are used in sports massage; cat paw, zig zag, palpation, direct pressure, compression and cross fiber. At each step the muscle is opened, treated, and then closed. This allows the therapist to locate the muscle spasms and treat them directly.
For the first-time client, we will generally speak with the owner or trainer, asking questions to learn more about the dog’s or horse’s specific condition, situation and any immediate concerns. Many also like to watch the dog or horse move and visually assess their condition. This will allow us to watch the animal move and identify where they are labored in movement. This is what makes the method of sports massage so unique; we go to where the cause of the problem is. For example the dog or horse may have a shortened stride, but the cause may be behind the shoulder at the withers. It might hurt in the poll but it stems from the muscles in the hocks. Motion is a wave, it starts in a hind leg and the wave travels all the way to the poll. If any place of the body where there are tight muscles, it interrupts the wave. The objective is to create ease of motion.
We work head to tail on both sides of the body; carefully assessing their head, moving to the poll, down the neck and through the shoulders, then moving to the back, belly and hindquarters down through the legs.
I believe massage therapy is a way to give back to our pets. Like regular services such as vet care, chiropractors, training, and more, massage therapy is reasonably affordable, even as a regular treatment, and you will find the results very beneficial. You will notice they are more relaxed in training; they will regularly feel good. They will get more out of life.
Prices and Packages
Free Motion Animal Massage offers free evaluations for all clients and non-clients. The evaluation will give you a quick idea of reactive areas on your dog or horse. Each massage will include an evaluation chart for visual reference. Full body equine massage is roughly one hour. Canine massage time will vary based on the size of the dog.
We offer special packages for Kennels and Groomers, Equine Training Facilities and, adopted and foster dogs. Call for our promotional materials.