One of the major physical conditions that affects horses is laminitis.It is believed that the diet of a horse has a lot to do with it. But you can provide pain relief naturally with the therapeutic benefits of equine massage therapy.
Meaning of Laminitis
Laminitis is considered as one of the most painful conditions of the horse hoof’s sensitive laminae. In this condition, what happens is that the attachments or bonds inside the laminae tend to become weak and start to break down rapidly. This results in excruciating pain and leave the horse restless. The visible characteristics of this condition are sole getting very tender, horses finding it hard to move and also heat in the hoof.
The condition makes horses so uncomfortable that they don’t put their foot on hard floors. Typically, they try to find any soft and comfortable place to put their feet on. They are also known for placing their feet in an elevated position in order to get relief from the pain. They generally use a hay pile for placing the front feet.
Sometimes, the laminitis can give a rise to another painful yet deadly condition known as the founder. In this condition, the case of laminitis becomes severe and the coffin bone of the horses gets detached from the wall of the hoof. Then the bone starts to rotate downwards. Once this happens, there’s also a possibility of bone getting pushed all the way through the hoof’s sole. This usually happens in extreme cases and there’s a high chance of founder once the laminitis happens.
About Equine Massage Therapy
Equine massage therapy is the massage technique which is used on horses in order to treat any muscle injuries and increase the overall performance level of the horses. It results in better competitiveness and increased endurance.
The best part is that it can be used to provide pain relief from laminitis. With massage, the coffin bone is joined to the flexor tendon. This helps the flexor muscles in getting further attached to the horse’s leg. When a horse suffers from laminitis, the muscles of neck and shoulder become stiff and so do the muscles down the back of the legs. This is the reason why the feet of the horses hurt. The stiffness of the muscles makes them contract even more which put some more tension on the coffin bone. The equine massage is usually practiced on the flexor muscles to the backside of the legs, which not only helps in relieving the coffin bone’s tension, but also helps in getting rid of stiffness from the shoulder and neck which were the primary characteristics of the condition.
Given below are some of the ways in which the equine massage helps with pain relief.
Helps in better recovery
DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Recovery) is something that a being suffers from after extraneous training. So, if the horse indulges in an exercise, then its muscles can become sore. So, massage can better the recovery of muscles as it encourages the blood flow throughout the body. The muscle fibers get rapidly repaired and the buildup of lactic acid stops. Equine massage will not only help in faster recovery of muscles but also help the horse in the long-term when it comes to dealing with muscle soreness.
Relieving the pain
One major outcome of massage is pain relief. When equine massage therapy is done with horses, endorphins are released inside the horse’s body making the horse feel good. This is the same feeling we humans get after the massage. This will help in the pain relief but is a temporary result, requiring multiple sessions for your horse’s comfort level. Further, massage will help in calming down the horse while they are on stall rest.
Better range of motion
The equine massage may help restore range of motion and even enhance it, increasing flexibility.
In case of joint injury, the muscles try to prevent movement in order to protect the body from further damage, which can result in limited motion. Equine massage releases the tension in muscle fibers and speeds up recovery. Once the muscles are healed their movement becomes better and easier.
Pain in muscles can lead to stress. Stress can cause muscle tightening and limits the mobility. This stress also results in cortisol release into the bloodstream. Cortisol is known to trigger adrenaline rush, which can become trouble for horses. Stress can result in the long-term effects in both humans and animals. These effects include chronic pain and anxiety. Equine massage relieves stress by evening out cortisol levels, which may have a long-term effect.
This massage when done regularly will keeping the horses more relaxed and happy. They show symptoms of fearlessness and stress-relief. The horses become more calm and less agitated. This directly affects the performance of the horse.
How long does it take to see the improvements?
It mainly depends on the horse’s condition. If the condition is rather new and the symptoms are not very severe then one massage session is enough to provide relief. But each and every horse is different. So, if you are looking for some significant changes, then you may have to wait for several sessions depending on the severity.
If you want to keep your horse in a perfectly healthy condition then you should always go for at least two equine massage sessions per month. This will help in keeping your horse in a good shape. But if the horse indulges in regular training or working, then weekly appointments are a must. This way, the muscles of the horse can recover better from a workout and increase the overall performance of the horse.
When the equine massage is done on a regular basis, it can help the laminitic horses in healing faster and providing instant pain relief. No owner wants to see his/her horse in pain. That’s why it becomes necessary to take the horse for a massage. Regular massages will not only help the horse in recovery but will also help you as an owner. So, if you are riding the horse for pleasure or even for some performance or competition, then don’t ever forget about equine massages. Equine massages are a part of horse’s health care and benefit the horse in the long run.
Author Bio: Willie Mays is a housewife, good mother, pet lover and a blogger. Auxier is her dog and Mimo is the name of her cat. She loves them very much. She has an aim to help other pet owners and that’s why she wrote about shiba inu husky mix in her blog.