How Do I Become a Certified Equine Massage Therapist?

February 10th, 2022

Horses have been beneficial to humans for thousands of years and have played a key role in society. They are used for riding, transport, agriculture, trade, competition, recreation, and much more. It’s no wonder humans and horses continue to maintain a strong bond. Horses are a creature of beauty — they are powerful and independent but also patient and kind.

woman massaging horse Massages are not seen as a luxury reserved for equine athletes only. It’s widely used on horses regardless of their role and age.
Horse owners have used equine massage to help their horses warm-up and cool down before and after competitions and recover from workouts. Regular massages can help improve the physical health and performance of horses; owners have also claimed that it improves mental health and decreases vet visits. Horses have an average life span of 25 to 30 years, and like any mammal, horses can suffer from a range of health problems.

What is Equine Massage Therapy?

We know that massage therapy can have benefits for humans, but what about horses? Equine massage therapy is the practice of massage on horses. It has been around for over 200 years, but it wasn’t until the early ’90s that it started to grow in popularity.  A range of techniques is used during equine massage therapy to improve the horse’s overall health and well-being. Young, old, and performance horses can all benefit from a massage. It is a non-invasive way used by many horse owners to treat anxiety (just like humans, horses feel stress too), improve circulation, ease pain, and stimulate the motor nerves of horses. Equine therapists typically massage the main areas of a horse including the neck, back, shoulders, and hindquarters and can last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes.

Equine Massage Therapy Course in Canada

If you love the outdoors and enjoy the beauty of nature and horses, then a career in equine massage therapy may be for you! Equine massage therapy certification programs are a great first step to fast-track your career.

Choose a science-based program covering the anatomy of horses. This will cover various topics including the skeletal, muscular, circulatory, nervous, and integumentary systems of horses. The course should also cover massage techniques, treatments, and basic horse-handling skills including grooming, booting, haltering, and leading. The course should provide you with the skills and confidence to analyze a horse’s condition and apply the correct massage treatments.

It also helps if the program has a business aspect to it. Being your own boss means you need to know how to run a small business. Learn key skills such as business planning, advertising, finance, maintaining records, and business operations.

Top Tip: Register through the International Federation of Registered Equine Massage Therapists (IFREMT). This registration indicates the therapist has completed a 2,200-hour program and board exams through the IFREMT.

How Much Do Equine Massage Therapists Make?

Equine massage therapists are often self-employed or contractors. The salary for a massage professional can vary by province and the experience level of the therapist. Equine massage therapists can earn anywhere between $60 to 100 per session in Ontario.

Top Tip: While education and experience are both important, experience is key! Make sure the equine program you enroll in offers field experience.

What Makes a Good Equine Massage Therapy?

Hands-on exposure with horses is a must! A great equine therapist will listen to the horse, read their body language, and incorporate the feedback they receive from the horse’s body. If your horse shows visible signs of relaxation such as licking, chewing, dropping its head, and even falling asleep, you know the horse is enjoying their massage session! Being honest with horse owners about what issues can be resolved with massages and what requires vet visits is just as important.

When you love horses, it’s extremely satisfying when your job is all about helping horses. Every day you have the power to make their lives easier — resulting in happier, less-stressed horses.

triOS College offers an 88-week Equine Massage diploma program, which includes practical hands-on experience.