Any equine massage therapists on here? advice on working out knots.

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Any equine massage therapists on here? advice on working out knots.

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  • How to massage a knot out of the back on a horse
  • Work out a knot on horses neck

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    09-07-2011, 09:06 PM
Any equine massage therapists on here? advice on working out knots.

My appy gelding has a lot of muscle tightness and a few knots in his neck. I had a massage therapist come out back in November(she said he was the tightest horse she ever worked on) but he is very skiddish with new people(and even not so new people) and she wasn't able to work on him very well, she basically couldn't work past his shoulder and if she worked too aggressively on a knot he would throw his head up and rear a little. I've been working on his neck nearly everyday for the last few weeks and his muscles seem to have loosened a bit but I'm having trouble working out all the knots, it's clearly uncomfortable for him but aside from the occasional nipping at my hand holding his halter he does pretty good for me. I do plan on having the MT out for him again but I would like to work on getting the worst parts worked out so she is able to work on him with less trouble. I think it may help if I work on the knot with two hands but I like to have one hand on his halter so I won't be caught off guard if he tries to nip. I've gone as far back as his withers, I believe he has some soreness there as well with the amount of twitching he does when I touch there.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to most effectively work out the knots? I also worry about when the MT comes out again because he will kick if she is in range and working on a knot, he's less likely to kick me but I still watch him very closely when I'm massaging a knot.
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    09-07-2011, 09:30 PM
My horse has a few chronic spots in his shoulders that I work out regularly. It's kind hard to describe. It might help to understand what you're working out. What the knot is, are muscle fibers that have clumped together and are blocking blood flow. When you massage them, you are allowing the clumped fibers to relax and separate which allows the blood to continue to flow.

When you find the knot, start with the most hand surface area possible. The more finely you touch the knot, the more pronounced it is to your horse. Just use the bottom of you palm and knead the knot like you were kneading dough. (I know, nobody in the 21st century kneads dough. It's the only analogy I can think of). Just use a gentle, rhythmic kneading motion. Once you feel it start to work apart, switch to the outside edge of your hand and run it up over the area to encourage the fibers to stretch out. Your horse will tell you how much pressure he's comfortable with. Initially he probably will resist, but then start leaning into you once it starts to break apart. Be aware of where his rear legs and mouth are the first few times you try it!

knots, massage, muscles, stiffness

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