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Equine Massage Clinic August 6-9, 2015: Horses at Jaeckle Centre Enjoy a Spa Day


2015/09/02







Article & photos by LaCresha Kolba

Everyone loves a good massage, even our equine friends. Greg Gage of Therasage EMC (Equine Massage Certification), hosts equine massage clinics all over the country. Greg was in Thompson’s Station, TN at the Jaeckle Centre August 6-9, 2015 for a 4-day Equine Certification Clinic. Many attendees do human massage and attend these clinics to gain continuing education credits. Others who attend his clinics are competitive riders, farriers, vet techs, and general horse people who want to do a little extra for their horses’ care, and those who want to pursue a career in equine massage. Greg keeps his clinics small with a maximum attendance of 15. This allows him to get enough time with everyone equally to ensure they get the most from his clinics. The horses that were used for the Jaeckle Centre clinic were the trail and therapy horses. It was quite apparent from the droop of the ears and head, the horses were certainly enjoying their “horsy spa day.”

During the four-day clinic attendees learned the full body massage method, trigger points, use of tools, and had classroom time and lots of hands-on work with the horses.  These clinics have a strong popularity with an appeal to a wide variety of horse enthusiasts.  This Therasage EMC clinic at the Jaeckle Centre sold out a month after it was posted in the Mid-South Horse Review.  Because of the strong interest, Greg intends to make this an annual event.  “A great benefit to attending my clinic,” states Greg Gage, owner and instructor for Therasage EMC, “is when you walk out of here you can leave as a Certified Equine Massage Therapist. Students have to pass a written and hands-on test.  We go over basic anatomy, spend time in the classroom, and 85% of the class is hands-on with the horses. The course is intensive, as we begin at 8:00 am and go until 7:00 pm each day.  Something that has been exciting for me over the past 20 years is running into former students who have started their own successful equine massage businesses.  Along with teaching you the techniques, I also share marketing information on how to get yourself out there so you can be successful.”

Equine massage has grown in popularity over the past 20 years and has become more accepted in veterinarian practice.  Greg elaborated on how he has seen the perspective change from when he began as an equine therapist. “This all started because a veterinarian told me my dog would walk with a limp for the rest of his life.  I was already doing therapy on humans and thought I would try some of the techniques on my dog.  I was able to work the tissue until there came the day that he stopped limping. That is when I knew this could go somewhere. Watching my dog live a normal life and never limp again, I began to take it to a bigger level with horses.” 

Greg explained to the students how to identify the problems and issues when it comes to lameness, or injured muscles in a horse.  “It may not always be a tack issue.  There is great importance to the correct fit of a saddle.  But, maybe that rider is coming down harder on the back of the horse than they realize.  Or there could be a performance horse with an injury and [the veterinarian] cannot pin point the area of lameness.  The horse could have strained something while playing too hard with its friends in the field.  That is where the importance of pre- and post-stretching comes into play.  On the use of tools: when you do massage it is important to know when one should and should not use them. Also, watching for the reaction in your horse is his way of communicating to you what feels good and what hurts.” 

Greg emphasizes the full body technique so you can massage these large animals all day long and still be fresh the next day.  Equine massage is utilized as secondary care, but you can establish a preventative maintenance sequence to help your horse stay healthy and reach its full potential.

Greg has been in the human massage business for 20 years and 17 years in equine massage.  He also works with John Lyons and will be at the Josh Lyons facility in Cross Plains, TN on October 1-4. Before he flew into Tennessee, he was at the McCutcheon Ranch in Texas massaging their horses.

You can find more information by going to his website: http://www.therasageemc.com/

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