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Massage for horses - a career?

Dear Jessica, you probably won't remember me but several years ago at a clinic you helped me so much that you've really changed my life. My horse was the one with the problem turning and bending to the right, and after you explained about muscle tightness and showed me how to "work out" the big hard areas in his neck, he really did make all the changes that you said he would. His training is just booming along now! You were right about the time it would take too! It took me three months working on his neck every day for half an hour, then the hard spots were gone and he was so much more comfortable and easy to ride. Also I noticed that he is rolling a lot more now, I guess before his neck probably caused him a lot of pain when he tried to roll so he didn't do it as much. Anyway I know this is a long lead in to my question, but I wanted to tell you what you had done for us and why I was going to ask this.

What do you think about massage for horses? As a career, I mean? I was so happy to help my horse and I found out that I really enjoyed doing it. I don't like my job very much and I was wondering if it was worth taking a course in horse massage, and maybe following that as a career. What do you think about this idea? I am pretty tall and heavy so I think I could work on the big tall horses too, like dressage horses and driving horses. Do you think that this could be a real career for me? If you think so, what about the different certificate programs? I have information on some of them but I don't really believe that I could learn it all in three weeks or even three months like one of them says. What do you advise?

Your grateful fan, Debby (and Keno)

Hi Debby! Thanks for writing, I'm so glad to know that you were able to use the massage techniques to make your horse more comfortable. It's always a lot easier to make progress when the horse can use its body correctly. ;-)

I'm of two minds about the career move -- on the one hand, it's obviously something that means a lot to you, and something you enjoy, and heaven knows it's worth doing! But on the other hand, you are absolutely right about the limitations of "quickie" certificate courses. If you want to become truly good at this and make it your life's work, you WILL need to learn a lot more than you'll get from such courses.

The Jack Meagher Institute offers a course in equine massage, and you would probably be able to learn most of what you need to know about horses from that course. There's one catch, though -- you need to be a trained and certified professional in HUMAN massage therapy before you can take the equine massage course. It won't be a quick process, but if you really want to shift your life into a new gear, I'd advise looking into this. It means putting a few years of school and study between you and your career, but once you've done that, when you finally "hang out your shingle" you can expect to be taken seriously. If I were planning to spend the rest of my life in that line of work, that's how I would get started. Good luck, and let me know what you decide to do!


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