There are no specific education requirements for equine massage therapists. No professional or government agency offers certification in this field, although there are some private institutions that have certificate programs. Voluntarily completing a private program may help increase job prospects for those seeking to enter this field.
Equine massage therapists help improve a horse's performance through the use of massage. Massage can help horses relax, as well as improve muscle tone, increase circulation, reduce joint inflammation, speed the healing of injuries, promote fitness and increase range of motion. There are no required educational credentials for this field, although past experience with horses is obviously beneficial. While massage certification for those who work with horses is not required, there are organizations that offer such credentials.
|Required Education||None required|
|Required Skills||Previous experience working with horses|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||11% (for animal care and service workers)*|
|Median Salary (2015)||$21,260 (for animal care and service workers)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Equine Massage Certification Information
Certification is not a mandatory requirement for equine massage therapists. In fact, there are currently no professional or government organizations that offer certification in this field. Since there are no formal requirements for becoming an equine massage therapist, earning optional certification can communicate to potential clients that a person is qualified and skilled to perform massage techniques on horses. Some private institutions offer equine massage therapy education programs which can lead to a certificate upon completion.
These private equine massage therapy programs can last as little as three days or as long as 12 weeks. Students typically learn about equine skeletal anatomy, muscle functions, massage techniques and the benefits of massage. They are also given the opportunity to practice what they have learned on live horses. Upon completion of the course, students must pass an examination, which often includes both written and practical components, before certification is conferred. A select number of community colleges and universities also offer equine science programs that include classes in equine massage therapy; however, these programs do not automatically result in certification.
Equine Massage Career Information
Equine massage therapists employ massage techniques on race, show and recreational horses. When muscles are overused or misused, they may become sore or overstretched. The horse may then compensate by improperly using other muscles or tensing up, leading to potential injury, restricted motion, discomfort and decreased performance quality. Equine massage therapists use their knowledge of different massage techniques and equine anatomy to locate and treat muscle strains, injuries and tension. By promoting muscle relaxation, circulation and healing, equine massage therapists help improve a horse's performance, balance, comfort and mental state.
Massage can be helpful in maintaining health and preventing injury in addition to addressing problems. It may prevent muscle knots and help ensure that muscles can fully contract and fully relax. It also increases endorphin release, thereby improving a horse's mental well-being. Horses may be massaged both before and after activity to prevent muscle tension and injury.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), related careers like animal care and service workers were expected to see an 11% increase in employment opportunities between 2014 and 2024.
Equine massage therapists treat muscle strains, injuries and tension. They work with race, show and recreational horses, and their skills can be utilized to help prevent or alleviate injuries.