IMPROVE BLOOD FLOW: When we massage it acts to draw blood into the tissue, increasing circulation. Blood acts to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the cells which is crucial for cellular health and function. With the increased flow in, there is an equal increase flow outwards which acts to remove the waste products (lymph circulation) and improve the absorption to excess fluids thus reducing swelling on soft tissues.Essentially your horses system will not get the chance to function optimally; your engine will be restricted!
MUSCLE PERFORMANCE: Muscles do not always return to their relaxed state when being worked to excess. This leads to contracted fibres and ‘knots’ of muscle which decrease the efficiency, range of motion and function of that muscle. In turn this can add additional stress to other muscle groups which are trying to compensate – leading to a chain reaction of imbalance and inefficiency. When you realise that your horse has over 700 skeletal muscles which makes up 60% of its body mass, it becomes apparent how important these restrictions will become. If you continually ask your horse to work hard with muscle restrictions you are not only impeding performance but heading for muscle injury.
STRESS RELIEF: It is undisputed that massage encourages relaxation. Horses live in a higher state of anxiety and anything we can do to lower this will improve their wellbeing. Massage acts to decrease heart rate, breathing, blood pressure and decrease production of stress hormones. This positive effect on the nervous system allows the horse to experience a significant state of relaxation, mental clarity and self healing. A stressed out horse cannot wholly focus on what is being asked of it and thus will never perform to its full potential.