Frequently Asked Questions
Should my horse have a day off following a massage?
That is the exception, not the rule. Typically I consider it optimal for the horse to be ridden. Light work, suppleing, and also exploring the improvements the massage provided are encouraged.
There is also no replacement for exercise to provide blood circulation to muscles. Work the horse taking into consideration the massage. Turnout or hand walking can provide an alternative if schedules make riding impossible.
Might my horse be sore following a massage?
It's possible, but not likely. With years of experience, working on thousands of high-performance horses, comes feel for what is just enough depth to accomplish the desired effect. However, if you have experienced an effective and successful deep tissue massage, it is possible to feel some soreness...but in good way. The key words here are "effective" and "successful".
Is it a good idea to use massage at a horse show?
It can be the difference between winning and losing. A fraction of a point, perhaps, but still the difference. It's not always optimal to work on a horse for the first time at a competition, but sometimes it's necessary. Again, I have dealt with situations related to competition successfully countless times. Unmatched experience. And success.
Why do I always see you working on a horse in a stall?
In order to be most effective, I am seeking the purest feedback possible from the horse. I want the horse to have the freedom to offer me feedback which I believe can't be done purely when a horse is tied.
Also, a horse is usually most comfortable in their stall. I like them to have freedom to eat, drink, and function as naturally as possible, and in a natural way, when I'm with them and treating them.
What should I expect from the massage?
Improved performance and more information about your horse—which can be applied immediately to your horse's program.
Want to learn more?
View Sal's three Massage Videos at DressageClinic.com
What is a knot?
A muscle comprises millions of muscle fibers which slide within each other in order to perform a contraction. These fibers then slide back out into their relaxed or elongated state. This is called the "sliding filament mechanism" and it is elemental to muscle function. A knot, which can literally be felt in the muscle tissue, is a bundle of muscle fibers stuck in a state as if contracted. A goal of massage is to release and realign these contracted fibers.
Why have you decided to offer saddle fit services?
Because I feel it's an important service that will enable me to help my clients even more than in the past. My experience as a massage therapist affords me the ability to relate to the horse's back, and to the horse's movement, and to relate to these the panels of the saddle which are in contact with the horses' back in a very unique way.
I have also ridden in poorly fitting saddles, unfortunately, and understand not only their effect on the horse and its movement, but also their detrimental effect on the rider and their position.<