Interview – Barefoot Farrier Goes To Massage School.

“Gray” a patient model for learning about muscle groups

Athens local barefoot farrier recently went back to school to invest in her future and in the health and happiness of the horses in her life. We sent her a few questions to get her take on massage school.

Why did you choose to go to massage school?

I have been a farrier for 16 years; last 10 years have been barefoot trimming. While I’ve enjoyed helping horses in that aspect, I knew there was more I could be doing or something that’s missing. Quite often if horses are having problems with their feet this can create issues elsewhere up throughout the body to compensate. We as humans ask a lot of our horses; to go above and beyond at times. When you relieve tension or give relief to a horse that was in pain, it is an amazing feeling. You feel like you made a difference in that horse’s world. 

What are a few things you learned that blew your mind?

You know, growing up I had never even heard of equine massage therapy. Frankly, I wasn’t too familiar with it until a few years ago. I didn’t think it could possibly be that beneficial but I was wrong. Horses have a lot muscles similar to us humans. They also experience pain, tightness, and sensitivity at times from issues within a muscle or group of muscles. I was amazed at the difference in the horse after a massage. When you’re working a muscle and releasing tension, the relief that the horse feels is instant. You can see the change in their eyes, their face, their body; it’s like flipping a switch. We worked on one broodmare who was so tense and apprehensive before we started. Afterwards, she was soft, relaxed; totally at ease. Completely different horse. 

Do you have any cool pictures to share?

A few pictures I’ve attached are of Ms. Corrine Bowie and Gray (gray QH gelding). Although Gray is a flea-bitten gray gelding, you’ll see he is a range of colors in these photos. One of the best ways to learn about muscles their locations and functions are to draw and color them in of course!

What school did you choose and why did you go there? Would you recommend it?

I chose Equissage for my instruction. They have been established since 1989 and introduced the nation’s very first Approved Provider program in Equine Sports Massage Therapy. Equissage is based out of Virginia but they do offer other school locations such as NC, TX, CA. I would most definitely recommend Equissage for massage school. You have class work but also get a lot of hands on experience. I chose the NC location as it was closest. Along with training under Mary Schreiber, Ms. Corinne Bowie has trained with Jack Meagher (Mar) and Jean-Pierre Hourdebaigt.

What are your future plans?

Lots of plans! First and foremost, I’m working on getting my business established. I’m now certified in equine sports massage therapy. I also plan to complete classes in equine kinesiology taping and acupressure before this year is over. I look forward to introducing ESMT to our local horse community and help as many horses as I can.