Common symptoms

Take a look at the list below for some common symptoms of soft tissue damage that I see everyday. Do any of these problems sound familiar to you? If your answer is YES your horse may benefit from sports massage.

  • Lameness caused by strain / sprain / spasm / tension / fatigue / over-use of a muscle, tendon or ligament
  • Feeling uneven / asymmetrical / wonky
  • Irregular gait / movement
  • Not going forwards
  • Lack of push / power / energy / movement from one / both hindlimbs
  • Becoming disunited in canter / gallop
  • Struggling with canter lead/s strike-off or maintaining canter
  • Difficulty achieving trot / canter
  • Inability to weight bear or sit evenly on hindlimbs
  • Reluctance to bring hindlimbs underneath body
  • Leaning on the forehand
  • Shortness of stride
  • Not tracking up correctly
  • Difficulty walking up or down hill
  • Running into transitions
  • Lifting head during transitions
  • Inability to achieve correct outline
  • Losing outline / connection / tempo
  • Head up, ears back
  • Hollowing of the back
  • Cold-backed
  • General stiffness, feeling "wooden" through back, lateral stiffness, stiffness of a limb / neck etc.
  • Restricted range of movement at joint/s
  • Difficulty achieving or maintaining flexion or bend on one / both reins
  • Asymmetrical flexion of front / hind limbs over a fence - knocking a pole with one / both front / hind limbs
  • Hard / heavy / uneven rein contact
  • Head tilting / shaking / grinding teeth / signs of tension and distress
  • Lack of power / acceleration / strength / stamina / agility
  • Lack, loss or plateau in fitness and performance
  • Early onset of fatigue in work
  • Looking / feeling stiff after work
  • Taking a long time to warm up
  • Taking a longer time than normal to recover from work
  • Lack of harmony between horse and rider
  • Horse generally unhappy or unhappy in work
  • Out of character behaviour
  • Difficult to shoe
  • Hyper-sensitive to touch, brush or tack up
  • Bucking / bronking
  • Shying / napping / avoiding work
  • Rearing
  • Bolting
  • Rushing
  • Refusing
  • Laziness
  • Backwards
  • Inability to stand still

Improving symptoms
Sports Massage also works to improve the symptoms of conditions and situations such as:

box rest, stifle and hock conditions, sacroiliac injuries, kissing spines, some neurological conditions, foot problems, lower leg tendon / ligament injuries, equine rhabdomyolysis 'tying up', tooth issues, saddle problems, stomach ulcers, internal disorders, old age, start of work; breaking / backing, broodmares

Trotting chestnut horse