Conditions Treated

Back Pain

Back pain is commonly seen in performance horses and can be due to a primary problem such as overriding dorsal spinous processes (‘kissing spine’) or can arise secondary to a number of issues including lameness, ill-fitting tack, in-correct schooling or mis-use of schooling aids or an unbalanced or crooked rider. Muscular damage can also easily occur in the muscles that extend the back or flex the spine following a fall, slip or a poorly executed jump.

Following veterinary diagnosis to determine the initial cause of the problem, equine sports massage can be used to reduce the pain associated with back problems and restore normal locomotion. Targeted stretches applied during the body work session and during follow-up exercises increase the strength of the muscles responsible for supporting the spine, helping to prevent further injury.

Our therapist will work alongside your vet to develop a follow-up exercise program to increase core strength and relieve tension in the horses back.

Navicular Syndrome and Chronic Foot Pain

Horses suffering from navicular syndrome or with chronic foot pain will often alter both their gait and posture in order to relieve pressure on the feet. During movement, the horse will attempt to land ‘lightly’ on the feet, and will be seen to hold the body more rigidly in front, with tension being held in the muscles of the neck and shoulder. Gradually, the myofascial tissues of the upper body become tight and associated muscles contract and shorten. Movement is restricted and the horse develops a short, choppy stride.

Equine Body Work can be used to release muscle tension and spasm created by the altered gait, allowing for free movement and alleviation of the muscular pain associated with these conditions.


The typical stance adopted during bouts of laminitis results in the horses weight being shifted backwards onto the hind limbs, which are placed further forwards underneath the horses body. This altered weight carriage, whilst helping the horse to unload their painful front feet, causes a pelvic tilt and puts strain on the muscles of the hindquarters and lower back.

The head and neck carriage of the horse is also distorted, with the muscles in this region becoming shortened and contracted – resulting in stiffness and discomfort throughout the body.

Alongside appropriate veterinary care and remedial farriery, Equine Sports Massage can be used to relieve the muscle spasm and tension that occurs with laminitis. Massage will also increase circulation and improve lymphatic flow – thereby helping the body to remove toxins, a process believed to be important in recovery from laminitis.

Arthritis and the Veteran Horse

Older horses can suffer from a range of problems associated with the ageing process. Years of use can cause muscles to become fibrotic, resulting in stiffness and restricted movement throughout the body. Changes in joint surfaces due to arthritic conditions combined with shortening and stiffening of the connective tissues around joints can also result in movement becoming painful, thereby exacerbating the problem.

Massage of the major muscle groups of the shoulders, back and hindquarters can reduce this muscular stiffness whilst helping to prevent the lack of muscle strength and muscle wastage that occurs during ageing. Relaxation of the tight muscles and connective tissues surrounding painful joints can relieve the associated discomfort and reduce inflammation, breaking the pain-tension-pain cycle. Blood circulation to the area is increased, warming the tissues and making movement more comfortable. The use of appropriate stretches and range of motion exercises also maintains joint motion and flexibility and suppleness of the horse.

Box-Rested Horses

Equine Body Work is beneficial in maintaining a healthy musculo-skeletal system during extended periods of box rest. Equine Sports Massage combined with appropriate stretches, mobilisation techniques and range of motion exercises will help to increase circulation to the muscles and improve lymphatic flow, helping injury recovery and improving muscle tone. Muscle wastage is reduced and exercises can be provided to help maintain strength and flexibility.

Equine Body Work also reduces tension and anxiety in the horse, promoting mental relaxation and a more calm demeanor.

Our therapist can also work with your vet to devise a suitable rehabilitative exercise programme once your horse is ready to be brought back into work.

Improving Performance for the Competition Horse

Equine Body Work can be used throughout training to keep the competitive horse functioning at its best. Regular sessions by our qualified therapist, along with the follow-up exercises provided, will help to enable even muscle development, improve gait, stamina and overall performance of the horse.

A full body work session up to 72 hours prior to an event will release any restrictions which have built up in the body during training. A short pre-event massage can also be used on the day of competition to warm-up and stimulate the muscles ready for work, as well as promoting mental relaxation of the horse.

Following strenuous exercise during competition, a post-event massage will encourage removal of waste products such as lactic acid from the muscles and relieve any muscular tension and spasms which have developed during the event. Musculo-skeletal stress occurring during transport to and from the event can also be addressed.

To book an appointment or for any enquiries, questions or queries please call us on 07793 768835 or email

Equine Therapy
Equine Therapy
We provide expert care to both leisure and competition horses throughout East Sussex, West Sussex and Kent.

Equine Body Work
Equine Body Work
Equine body work is beneficial for box-rested horses, competition horses and veteran horses.

Equine Sports Massage
Equine Sports Massage
A horse has 700 muscles, when these muscles become tight it can restrict the horses movement and become uncomfortable.
Equine Bit Fitting
Equine Bit Fitting
We specialise in bit fitting. It is very important that a bit is fitted correctly, preventing discomfort and health problems to the horse.