Massaging the resistant horse

Freedom is a thin-skinned horse who is very sensitive to touch. Basically, he’d prefer you didn’t touch him at all some days. He will tolerate grooming, but just can’t tolerate the stimulation of a bare hand — it’s too much energy transfer for him. He benefits greatly from massage, but of course that generally means that you have to touch him.

He does better when I supplement with magnesium (more on that later) but I also came across a video where Jim Masterson (the Masterson Method) speaks specifically about horses like this. His advice is to step way back from the horse and use your hand to direct your horse’s attention to different spots on his body. It’s a bit like Reiki — a form of energy healing.

Here are two videos that I’ve found helpful. One shows hands on techniques for getting your horse to accept treatment; one includes suggestions for horses like Freedom who sometimes need to be treated without physical touch.

One thought on “Massaging the resistant horse

  1. I wasn’t able to load the 2nd video (video unavailable msg). Maybe because everyone is busy watching it! I noticed he was massaging the facial nerves as he worked on the horses neck. I imagine this would both distract a reluctant horse so he could get into the real problem areas and possibly help relax him. Interesting!
    One way I’ve found to work on skin sensitive horses: (if needed; through a sheet of muslin or fleece) laying the hand in one spot. When horse is relaxed with the calm weight of it, I can begin slowly massaging without lifting my hand, keeping maximum surface contact. Some horses don’t seem to be able to tolerate either too much change in pressure, or the lifting and pushing down again that are common movements in a full body or pressure point massage. In my (very limited) experience, these are often very thin skinned/hot horses, or the aged. My own horse had to be taught “pressure point is good”: he hated not being sure where I was going to press next. Fixed that by laying hand on next spot and holding before pressing. Now I’ve wrecked him for life. He could care less where I’m going to press next as long as I DON’T STOP. He also will try to back up into me to show me where his butt hurts. Possibly while I’m brushing his tail. Making everyone sure he’s threatening to kick me. Bad Jane! Bad, bad Jane!

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