The most effective massage technique to do after a ride for your horse is the Effleurage movement. The effleurage movement is a nice long, steady stroking movement all along your horse's body.
Massaging your horse after a ride is also a key time to check him over and make sure there aren't any tender or sore areas, especially if you've had a rather exciting cross country round or intense schooling session.
How To Massage Your Horse
- Starting at his head, sweep your hand down and around his jaw.
- Apply moderate pressure, avoid pulling at his skin and do 5 strokes.
- Look at your horse's facial expressions as a guide to how much pressure you're applying. Too much pressure applied and your horse will move away. Too little pressure and your horse may twitch as though trying to remove a fly. Just right and your horse will soften their eyes and lower their head.
- Repeat this process down your horse's neck, along their back and quarters and finally down the hamstrings.
Once you have finished your massage, a good way to finish is to help your horse to stretch.
How To Stretch Your Horse Legs
When stretching your horse, remember that it is important to hold your horse's leg and guide it forward.
- For his front, lift his leg straightforward, being careful not to pull or lift the limb too high.
- Holding his fetlock, allow him to stretch and you'll feel your horse push into your hands. Repeat this on both front legs.
- Do the same for his hind legs, taking care to come backwards as they lift, extend the stifle and stretch. Repeat with both hind legs.