Muscular problems, such as muscle tension, occur in many horses. Accordingly, many riders rely on massages to treat these problems. Recently, many horse owners have been using massage guns for this purpose. But can I actually use these devices to massage horses? And if so, what is the right way to proceed with the massage? Or do I really need an equine massage gun? The answers to these questions and everything else you need to know on the subject I show you in this article.
Yes, massage guns are suitable not only for the treatment of muscular problems in humans. The massagers can also be used effectively on horses to relax tense and hardened muscles. Massage guns can also be used to promote muscle regeneration. In the meantime, even numerous equine physiotherapists swear by massage guns as part of their treatment.
However, you do not need a special equine massage gun. These are often simply normal massage guns that have been branded for horse owners and are much more expensive. I would recommend to use a normal human massage gun instead.
You have now learned in short form that massage guns can be used very well for the treatment of horses. In the following, I will go into more detail. So I will explain to you what the massagers can be used for, what are the signs of muscular problems in horses, and what horse therapists say about the use of the massager. I will also explain how to use the massage gun on the horse and how to choose the right massager model.
What can I use a Massage Gun for on a Horse?
Massage guns are commonly used to relieve pain, loosen muscle stiffness, promote regeneration and loosen stuck fascia. The areas of application look the same for horses. For example, many horses are plagued by muscle hardening in the back and neck area. These hardenings can be loosened with a massage gun. The massage can also help to improve muscle recovery after training so that the horse becomes fit faster.
How can I recognize muscular Problems on a Horse?
There are several signs that indicate muscular complaints in horses. In general, horse owners should regularly check their four-legged friends for tension and muscle hardening in the area of the back and neck. Here, it is often very quickly noticed if muscular problems are present.
On the other hand, another sign is often the behavior of a horse. The following behaviors can indicate muscular problems:
- banging with head and tail
- reluctance to be saddled
- stiffness (e.g., lack of back swing)
- bucking while riding
- attempts to push the rider away
Experience of Equine Physiotherapists with the Massage Gun
You have now learned what massage guns can be used for with horses. So that you don’t have to rely on my knowledge alone, I would like to present the experiences of two equine physiotherapists in this section:
German equine therapist Andrea Kuster explained how she uses the massage gun in an interview with Orthomechanik. There she reported that she “likes to use the massage gun regularly for muscle relaxation and loosening fascial adhesions.” She uses the gun on her own horse as well as her four-legged patients. Her own gelding liked the massage with the pistol so much that he almost fell asleep in the stable aisle. Her colleagues have also become aware of the use of massage guns on horses through her and also use the device.
Julia Reitter, an Austrian equine physiotherapist, shared her experience under a Facebook video. There she explains that she is “totally thrilled” with the massage gun on horses. She has also used the massage guns on her own horses as well as on horses of clients. In the process, according to her, “everyone has really enjoyed the massage so far.”
How do I use the Massage Gun on a Horse?
When massaging, basically proceed as if you were massaging another person. This means that horses do not need more pressure on the muscles than humans. You should therefore try out what pressure feels comfortable on your skin. This is the pressure you should use to massage your horse.
Before you start the massage, you should make sure that the horse is clean and dry. Especially dirt, such as sand, but also sweat should be removed before the massage.
Furthermore, you should make sure that you have firmly attached the attachment to the massage gun. At the beginning of the massage, turn the gun on at the lowest setting and approach the horse carefully. Most horses are relaxed. However, if your horse is very sensitive or even skittish, you should proceed with great caution. Do not massage at all in the following cases:
- circulatory diseases
- open wounds
- infectious diseases
- skin diseases
- paralysis symptoms
- pregnant mares
- heart diseases
However, to be on the safe side, you should always talk to a veterinarian if in doubt whether the massage may be performed with a massage gun.
The actual massage is quite simple: The desired muscle areas are carefully worked with the massage gun. You should make sure that you do not stay too long on one spot but always move the massage gun (e.g., in circular movements) over the muscles. Bones, ligaments, and tendons should be avoided, as these can otherwise be injured or cause pain.
How often and for how long should I massage a Horse with the Massage Gun?
This varies quite a bit from horse to horse. As a rule, it is enough if each muscle group is massaged for a few minutes. A too-long massage is counterproductive and can even worsen the regeneration of muscles.
Within a week, a horse can be massaged several times without hesitation. However, the massaged muscles should be spared after the massage. For this reason, about 72 hours should have passed between two massages of the same muscle.
Should I use a special Equine Massage Gun, or can I use a Human Massage Gun on Horses?
In my experience, the use of a horse massage gun is not necessary. In fact, the opposite is true: every horse massage gun I have seen so far has simply been a classic human massage gun rebranded for horses. In terms of functionality, it is no different from classic massage guns. Instead, it is rather the inferior massagers that are also overpriced to make profits on horse owners. In my opinion, this applies to the massage guns from Brandenburg Equine, Equi-Fix, HorseCares, and EquiRelease.
Instead, I would advise you to use a very good human massage gun. These are often less expensive and have better features. I myself have held more than 30 massage guns in my hand and tested them. I can recommend these to you:
What are the best Massage Guns for Horses?
When choosing a massage gun for horses, pay attention to the same aspects as for humans. Accordingly, the device should have the following characteristics:
- Low Volume – There should be a relaxed atmosphere during the massage. A too-loud motor would disturb this. In addition, the loud noises could cause restlessness in the horse.
- Powerful Motor – The motor of the massage gun must be not only quiet but also powerful. If it is not, it will stall even at low pressure. This is often the case with cheap devices.
- Versatile Attachments – The massage gun should be delivered with different attachments so that different muscles can be worked optimally. You can find a guide on this topic here: Massage Gun Attachment Guide – which Attachment to use for each Muscle.
- Low Weight – The gun should not weigh too much either. Especially during long massages, holding the massager can otherwise become very tiring.
- Long-lasting Battery – Most batteries last for several hours. This is easily enough for several massages. However, you should make sure that the battery is as long-lasting as possible or even replaceable. This is especially true if you want to massage many horses with the massager in one day.
In addition, the following massage guns, for example, are very suitable for use on horses:
All of these devices scored positively on my test.
Conclusion – Can I use a Massage Gun on Horses?
Massage guns can be used very well, not only for humans but also for horses. Here there are similar things to consider when you massage another person. What these are, you have learned in the article. I also explained how to choose the right massage gun. I hope that I could help you with it!