How to Massage the Back of a Horse

When you massage the back of a horse, you work the three primary lines on the horse’s back: along the spine, shelf of the rib and in between the spine and the second line.

 

Problems around the withers are common, thus employ the use of percussion, rotation, sedation and cross fiber — all techniques mentioned earlier.

Ill-fitting saddles can result in certain “ouchy” areas mid-back. Address those using all techniques (percussion, rotation, sedation, cross fiber, kneading, stripping).

 

Why is it important? Freedom of movement! You’ll increase it by stretching the front leg, and bring the horse’s head back around. Reach through, and it opens up the back.

 

“Sometimes you can get an audible, popping release,” Whiting explains. (Although this may not be his intent).

 

Most work is performed at the point of hip and withers — and be sure to employ use of the cross-fiber technique.

 

Useful words of advice: “If you do a thorough job on the neck and withers, they will start to clear the issues in the back.”

 

Proceed to the tail of the horse. Raise the tail high and sweep it around three to five times in both directions, much like cranking a motor.

Take between the vertebrae of the tail and hold the tail. Using the thumb, move the tail at the joints.

 

“You will find that horses start to yawn or they start to lick,” Whiting says.

If a horse has a collic problem, you can go to the very last vertebrae and put pressure on the vertebrae. As indicated on acupressure charts, you can also come down on the top and do sedation — rotate/sedate on the top of the tail, then take and twist the tail in any direction, giving freedom to it.