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Why would you consider body work for your animal?

There are different schools and levels of training in the field of equine body work.

IEBWA members hold the highest level of qualification within the profession. In addition to their studies, they attend annual continued education relevant to equine sports therapy, and have full indemnity insurance.

Owners can be assured that the IEBWA practitioner of their choice has attained a high standard of training, and that the practitioner works within the ethical scope of practice, related to equine sports massage.


Benefits of body work:

  • Improvement in gait quality, range of motion and flexibility
  • Improvement  in disposition and stamina
  • Muscles associated with a clinical issues are kept flexible and free of pain
  • Improvement in  circulation
  • Relief of tension
  • Stimulation of waste and toxin elimination
  • Lengthening of connective tissue

Signs of Muscular Pain

Defensiveness to touch, reluctance to move forward, refusing of jumps or dropping poles, inability  to back up, not tracking up, working with quarters in or out, inability to execute lateral work, changing of canter leads behind, not striking off in correct canter lead, unwilling/unable to work up or down inclinesor hills, change in disposition, change in eating or sleeping habits…

A Typical Bodywork Session

The session commences with a full case history and evaluation how conformation may affect movement, as well as assessment of any muscular asymmetry. For the horse, the static examination includes a basic check of dental health and shoeing progress, as well as evaluation  of the horse’s own saddle.

In dynamic evaluation, the animal is observed in all gaits, on different surfaces, and for the horse (if required), under saddle.

During the bodywork session, the animal is massaged from region to region using various soft-tissue mobilization techniques.

Appropriate range of motion, mobilization and activation exercises are applied once muscle groups have been isolated and softened.

At the end of the session the owner or handler of the horse will be introduced to safe static and dynamic follow-up exercises.

An individual programme will be discussed with the owner, detailing specific exercises which will benefit muscle development. Where necessary it may be recommended that the horse’s saddle fit, teeth or shoeing progress are checked by respective specialists.

The actual bodywork session lasts anywhere between 60 and 90 minutes. As veterinary liaison is essential, it is often preferred for the veterinarian to be present when the body worker and owner discuss the progress of the horse.