Massage and other holistic therapies - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 06-28-2019, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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Massage and other holistic therapies

Hey guys! I'm in the process of becoming a certified equine massage therapist. I'm loving the class right now. My instructor is telling us all about how people have gotten the certification and quit their corporate jobs and now do massage full time. I think its amazing and would love to do that. Is it practical, assuming I market myself correctly? Is it sustainable? Do people actually do massage full time?

He's also mentioned other types of therapies people add to their practice, such as cold laser, ET tape, PEMF, Theraplate, TENS machines, saltwater spas, etc. And even stuff like saddle fitting. I honestly don't know where to even start with these things. What are your experiences with these? Do you like them? What do you pay for them? Even just general knowledge would be great. I'm so excited by all these ideas I can't really focus on the reading about them, my ADHD is just running wild. ur

Tell me about your experiences with holistic therapy. What do you like or dislike? What tools would you like to see being used on your horses?
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post #2 of 12 Old 06-28-2019, 10:03 PM
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My old instructor does massages for horses. She did a couple of ours. She doesn't teach anymore because of insurance prices going up, and I'm pretty sure she works either full time or part time at a bank as well as doing massage. I can ask how much she charged if you'd like? We also get saddle fitters out a tonne cos' all of our horses have weird backs.

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post #3 of 12 Old 06-29-2019, 08:42 AM
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I think having the knowledge of those equine trades is great....
Marketing them might be something different...
Location is going to be everything...and not as widespread as you think.
Horses are a expendable luxury and need expendable $$.
Certain areas of the country at certain times of the year may see a need, but otherwise...
Many of those specialists are affiliated with vet practices that do more specialized care issues than a generic horse vet.

My biggest one is....you are taking a class in being a massuese equine.
You said, " My instructor is telling us all about how people have gotten the certification and quit their corporate jobs and now do massage full time"
So if the money is so great why is she teaching a class instead of raking in the $$$$$$ she makes claims of?
And the other side to that is...
She can tell you all she wants, but she isn't living it herself.
More apt that people made their money being in the corporate world, retired they look to make cash money in the pocket...
A far cry from being led to believe they make so much they live completely on this money...
If you refer to living a comfortable life with a home, car, a vehicle for business travel {truck/SUV}, business insurance, bills paid, money for travel expenses to make more $ and some savings...well to me that puts you needing to bring home "clear" no less than $3,000 a month every month minimum.
Hence why I bet your instructor is teaching classes and not out their full-time doing the trade.

You need to open your eyes and see the reality of horses without rose-colored glasses...
Few really, really make the kind of money you are led to believe...most in the industry get by but have another income either their own or significant others who is able to pick up the void your salary leaves.
Truth. sorry.
...
jmo...

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #4 of 12 Old 06-29-2019, 08:58 AM
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One can support themselves doing massage if they a) live in a "horsey" area, b) make connections with competitors through successes with horse clients, and c) are good at marketing and customer service with a dash of schmoozing.

I know a few people who do well, financially, with massage and offer additional non-traditional therapies.

I work in human rehab and will work for very few horse people. For even my own horse, or ones I'm riding, I get another woman to work on them. For an objective, unbiased view.

So I'm definitely a supporter.

Where I do get annoyed is that so many who work on horses have no idea why they are doing what they are doing. Massage, magnets, pads that promise this and that. All merely increase circulation and lymphatic drainage. No magic to any of them.

Most of the alternative approaches were developed for humans. Lots of research behind them on benefits and limitations. But, too many who work on horses just know the info from a glossy advert and nothing about conjunctive treatment or contra indications.

Go for it. Working on horses is very rewarding, but continue to learn why and how, and why not, to do something
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post #5 of 12 Old 06-29-2019, 09:54 AM
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We get bodywork done for our horses. She primarily uses the Masterson Method. She charges $75 per session, and something like maybe $125 for the first evaluation. She is doing an amazing job with Moonshine and very well with Teddy, but I never would have gotten in touch with her if someone whose opinion I greatly respect had not recommended her, from personal experience. Knowing someone is out there is one thing, but bringing yourself to pay this sort of money (for a while, she was coming out twice a month) is hard. If not for this recommendation, I doubt I would have gotten in touch with her. Point being, yes, you need to be able to market yourself. If you train with someone who already has a good recommendation in your community, and they have too much work, they can recommend you to people.

I think @horselovinguy has a great point about why this lady is teaching and not "working" full time. I think it would be tough making a living out of it because if you live somewhere where there are a lot of horses and people can pay for this sort of thing, then you will have a lot of competition. If you live somewhere where there aren't a lot of horses, there isn't as much competition but there also aren't as many potential clients.

One last thought I had was that, to me, if you offer a lot of "therapies," then I am less likely to use you. Why? Because the more therapies you offer, the more likely it is that you're going to offer something I think is a bunch of hooey (like, I don't know, putting crystals on my horses chakras or something like that) and that then colors my perception of the possibly legitimate treatments you offer. Also, it seems like the more therapies you offer, the less likely you are to be really good at any of them.
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post #6 of 12 Old 06-29-2019, 11:54 AM
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There are a couple of people in my area who are certified massage therapists. They are not making a living from it, more of a side gig.
Although we live in an area with a lot of horses very few use those types of services. The gal I use travels to barrel races outside of the state and does very well but she and her husband have two other businesses. One of them being guided hunts and owning a bunch of hunting dogs. She started massage to help her hunting dogs and learned how to help horses as well.
She uses Red Light Therapy and a TENS machine to compliment the massage.

I DON'T LEAD 'EM AND FEED 'EM, I RIDE 'EM AND SLIDE 'EM.
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post #7 of 12 Old 06-29-2019, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duskexx View Post
My old instructor does massages for horses. She did a couple of ours. She doesn't teach anymore because of insurance prices going up, and I'm pretty sure she works either full time or part time at a bank as well as doing massage. I can ask how much she charged if you'd like? We also get saddle fitters out a tonne cos' all of our horses have weird backs.
I'm definitely planning to look into saddle fitting classes, even if only for my own knowledge.
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post #8 of 12 Old 06-29-2019, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horselovinguy View Post
I think having the knowledge of those equine trades is great....
Marketing them might be something different...
Location is going to be everything...and not as widespread as you think.
Horses are a expendable luxury and need expendable $$.
Certain areas of the country at certain times of the year may see a need, but otherwise...
Many of those specialists are affiliated with vet practices that do more specialized care issues than a generic horse vet.

My biggest one is....you are taking a class in being a massuese equine.
You said, " My instructor is telling us all about how people have gotten the certification and quit their corporate jobs and now do massage full time"
So if the money is so great why is she teaching a class instead of raking in the $$$$$$ she makes claims of?
And the other side to that is...
She can tell you all she wants, but she isn't living it herself.
More apt that people made their money being in the corporate world, retired they look to make cash money in the pocket...
A far cry from being led to believe they make so much they live completely on this money...
If you refer to living a comfortable life with a home, car, a vehicle for business travel {truck/SUV}, business insurance, bills paid, money for travel expenses to make more $ and some savings...well to me that puts you needing to bring home "clear" no less than $3,000 a month every month minimum.
Hence why I bet your instructor is teaching classes and not out their full-time doing the trade.

You need to open your eyes and see the reality of horses without rose-colored glasses...
Few really, really make the kind of money you are led to believe...most in the industry get by but have another income either their own or significant others who is able to pick up the void your salary leaves.
Truth. sorry.
...
jmo...
I do live in a very marketable area, I'm right in the middle of boutique hunter/jumper land in Massachusetts where at least half the commercial barns in the area go ride the Florida circuit in the winter and the majority have a several hundred dollar "minimum" of additional services you must purchase each month on top of the $1200+ for board alone. Not to say I plan on quitting my job tomorrow expecting to be able to cover my bills on massage, but I do think down the road with marketing and connections it's possible to get there.

The instructor teaches the classes throughout the nation in addition to going to WEG, Congress, etc and raking in the cash at those shows. This guy is always on the move. For what he charges at shows it sounds like he must pull in at least $800 a day, which isn't something I'd personally scoff at since I'm currently not even making $15 an hour. He makes even more teaching $1000 per student and the classes are always filled. I'd probably teach too if I was in that position. That's just common sense.

I went to the course with the mindset of even if I never massage for others I at least have the knowledge and skills to apply to my own horse. Then again if I can build up a client list at some of the elite barns in my area (there's 4 in my hometown alone) I think I'd be doing pretty well for myself. Doing 9 massages a week would replace my current income, I think within a years time thats a reasonable goal.
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post #9 of 12 Old 06-29-2019, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boots View Post
One can support themselves doing massage if they a) live in a "horsey" area, b) make connections with competitors through successes with horse clients, and c) are good at marketing and customer service with a dash of schmoozing.

I know a few people who do well, financially, with massage and offer additional non-traditional therapies.

I work in human rehab and will work for very few horse people. For even my own horse, or ones I'm riding, I get another woman to work on them. For an objective, unbiased view.

So I'm definitely a supporter.

Where I do get annoyed is that so many who work on horses have no idea why they are doing what they are doing. Massage, magnets, pads that promise this and that. All merely increase circulation and lymphatic drainage. No magic to any of them.

Most of the alternative approaches were developed for humans. Lots of research behind them on benefits and limitations. But, too many who work on horses just know the info from a glossy advert and nothing about conjunctive treatment or contra indications.

Go for it. Working on horses is very rewarding, but continue to learn why and how, and why not, to do something
I'm always trying to learn something new, I became a paramedic a few weeks ago and transitioned right into this class. I love having my mind engaged and learning. Most of my days are spent browsing both medical and equine literature. Today was amazing working on a horse who got so "in the zone" he went from leaning into the stall door to buckling his knees and almost laying down, I had to kind of slap him to wake him up so I wouldn't get crushed. It is very rewarding.
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post #10 of 12 Old 06-29-2019, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACinATX View Post
We get bodywork done for our horses. She primarily uses the Masterson Method. She charges $75 per session, and something like maybe $125 for the first evaluation. She is doing an amazing job with Moonshine and very well with Teddy, but I never would have gotten in touch with her if someone whose opinion I greatly respect had not recommended her, from personal experience. Knowing someone is out there is one thing, but bringing yourself to pay this sort of money (for a while, she was coming out twice a month) is hard. If not for this recommendation, I doubt I would have gotten in touch with her. Point being, yes, you need to be able to market yourself. If you train with someone who already has a good recommendation in your community, and they have too much work, they can recommend you to people.

I think @horselovinguy has a great point about why this lady is teaching and not "working" full time. I think it would be tough making a living out of it because if you live somewhere where there are a lot of horses and people can pay for this sort of thing, then you will have a lot of competition. If you live somewhere where there aren't a lot of horses, there isn't as much competition but there also aren't as many potential clients.

One last thought I had was that, to me, if you offer a lot of "therapies," then I am less likely to use you. Why? Because the more therapies you offer, the more likely it is that you're going to offer something I think is a bunch of hooey (like, I don't know, putting crystals on my horses chakras or something like that) and that then colors my perception of the possibly legitimate treatments you offer. Also, it seems like the more therapies you offer, the less likely you are to be really good at any of them.
I'm planning to run a start up special rate, in addition to say referral bonuses of $10 off your next massage for everyone who books and says you referred them. I'm a big believer in word of mouth. Even walk into the bigger barns in the area and offer a free massage or two and hope I get called back for more.

Surprisingly most of my competition is far enough away that they're charging for mileage. I haven't found any competition in my immediate area so I'm hopeful that I will be able to get business through word of mouth and meeting the trainers and managers.

I think crystals and essential oils and such won't be coming into my practice. I'm thinking along the lines of cold laser and TENS to start. Hopefully progress to PEMF as the business grows.
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