Equine Massage Foundation Distance Course


1000 Hours of Recommended Study Time


This is the most extensive, professional and recreational based equine massage training in North America. This course is a wonderful investment in your future. The massage awareness method will allow you to, in a natural, actively participate way to the health and fitness of horses.

Organize your study time according to your schedule

Work you way through the practical guide and watch the video a number of times to reinforce what you have learned, then practice your movements, routines and techniques on a horse.  For your academic studying, one to two hours study sessions work best. It is easier and faster to learn and absorb little sections at a time than too large ones at once.  For your manual practice sessions, two-three hours sessions work best.  Because of the excitement triggered by the learning of this material, during your hands-on sessions remember not to rush. 

To get the best out of the massage awareness method we recommend you to focus your first 2 to 3 months of academic studying on the chapter 1, 2, 3, 6 and your hands-on practicum on your posture, your pressure, contact and rhythm.  Start practising the relaxation massage routine from chapter 9 as it is the prelude to nay massage work; then practice the SEW / WES technique from chapter 8 as it is the foundation of your work.  You need to know how to properly warm-up an area to be massaged, and you need to how to properly drain that area after your deeper massage. As you progress start practising the various other techniques (chapter 8) and routines (chapter 9).  Within three month you should feel petty comfortable in your hands-on as well as in your knowledge of your dog’s anatomy. Move on to learn about the various stress sites of the active dog as presented in chapter 10, 11, 12 and add the use of heat and cold in your massage application. Also, start keeping record as shown in chapter 13.

You can take this course chapter per chapter, as it is presented in the book, or you might consider studying the animal section per section.  For example spend your first couple weeks studying thoroughly the head and neck part of the horse, its skeleton, its joints and ligaments, its deep and superficial muscle layer, its related stress points, etc.....  Then, when you feel good and solid about this part, move on to the shoulder and foreleg structures in the same fashion for the next couple weeks.  Then the back section and finally the hip and hindquarters.  Within a couple month you should have absorb most of your anatomical knowledge and that is good as it is the foundation of your work.  The more you know the structures you work on the better the results.

Be aware not to burn yourself out in the first month.  This equine massage knowledge is with you for life.  Enjoy the learning process.  Relax, take lots of deep breathes and smile. With this course you start a new life.  Be patient in your learning process as everything takes time to mature.  With this material you will absorb knowledge that as been developed by some of the wisest in the profession.  This home study course will take you in the sunlight of equine massage practice and, combined with your instinct as a horse person, you will soon be very confident in your application of equine massage.


Time Devoted: 40-50 hours

To be efficient in massage, it is imperative you know the equine structures you will be working on. 

10 hours - Consider investing that much time in the theoretical study of the skeleton, the joints, ligaments and muscles of the horse as presented in this chapter before starting your hands-on practice.  Spend that much time studying the horse’s skeletal anatomy to know and memorize all the names and locations of these bones, joints and ligaments.  Practice writing names and drawing the bones, joints and ligaments. For you to know these structures well right from the start will be an invaluable advantage throughout the entire course. 

20 hours -  Spend that much time studying and memorizing the names and locations of the muscles of the deep and superficial layers as presented in the book.  Practice writing the names on the blank charts provided for this purpose, and consider even drawing muscles on separate sheet of paper.

15-20 hours - As you learn the names and locations of the equine musculo-skeletal system, spend that much time over several sessions throughout this course to palpate and feel these areas on your horse so you become well familiar with all his musculo-skeletal structures.  Remember to revise these anatomical features regularly throughout your course.

Within a month, you should be able to easily locate most muscles, joints, ligaments, bones and landmarks on your horse as well as comfortably spell them, so you will be better prepared when conversing with your veterinarian or another therapist, or simply when taking notes.  Remember, this equine massage knowledge will be with you for life, no need to rush. It is important for you to establish a solid foundation in the knowledge of your horse musculo-skeletal structures so you can easily absorb and easily add more massage material as you progress.


Time Devoted: 3-5 hours

Find out more about the in and out of equine massage, how your horse respond to your work, is your horse visual or auditory, how long should your massage session last for? Find out when it is best to massage your horse. Understand how to best approach your horse. Understand and memorize the contra-indications that prevail in massage, as well as the dos & don'ts of this practice.  Make sure to often revise these from time to time as they are very important to your practice, for your and your horse’s safety.


Time Devoted: 65 hours

To be relaxed and in control during your massage application, you need to master your posture, pressure, contact and rhythm.  This is the foundation to your work..   A smooth application of your massage is the gift you give to your horse, he will be Awatching@ and feeling every one of your movements.  The smoother and relax you are, the better your horse will feel and trust your work. This is a crucial section of your course.  Start with the stroking, effleurage, wringing and kneading movements as they are the foundation of your massage practice. Then build up to the other movements as you develop your confidence.  Knowing all movements in details will give your massage applications the finesse that will make your massage that much more efficient and enjoyable for your horse.

10 hours - Work on your posture by watching video and practising your stance and movement using your entire body so you will be able to give a good massage without tiring yourself prematurely.

As well it is very important for you to develop a feel for the different pressures used in massage, using a bathroom scale. You may wish to refer back to the bathroom scale from time to time as you practise your movements. This will reinforce your confidence in knowing intuitively the level of the pressure you are using at any given time during massage.

Over the next few weeks, as you will increase your hands-on practice, keep up with the following recommendations:                       

40 hours - In your early massage practice and when you study and/or review the names and locations of the equine musculo-skeletal system, as you palpate develop the sensitivity of your hands by practising the Four Ts. If possible, it would be beneficial for you to workdifferent breeds of horses, to develop a feel for lots of different and interesting feedback information. Also pay close attention to your Pressure, Contact, and Rhythm combination as it is the key to a successful massage. By developing a smooth approach right from the start you will soon relax and develop a strong confidence in your practice.

5 hours - As you read the section on massage moves, read the description of each movement individually then watch the corresponding movement on the video and practise each movement on yourself or a friend who can give you verbal feedback.  As you practice, maintain full hand contact, consistent rhythm (one stroke / sec.) and be aware on the pressure you use as you learn your movements.

10 hours - Once you become confident with your movements, practise them on your horse. Be gentle and develop the trust.  Practice each movement one at a time.  Develop a feel for each one.  Perform each movement all over your horse to familiarize yourself with the nature of your handwork in any given location on your horse.  Remember to watch you posture from the beginning.  Be smooth and take lots of deep breathes.   Remember that you are increasing blood circulation so use effleurage every 20 seconds or so as you practise your movements.


Time Devoted: 55 hours

Hydrotherapy with the heat and cold applications will greatly in hence the benefits of your massage practice.  Make it a part of your daily massage routines.

5 hours - Spend several hours over the course of several days to thoroughly study the Hydrotherapy outline. Memorize the distinct effect of cold and heat applications, as well as the various stages of application. When available, hydrotherapy is a good thing to apply, it is valuable to your work. View the video section on hydrotherapy and practice on your horse.

50 hours - with each maintenance massage routine consider practising applying the Ice cup massage technique for any acute phases of muscle tension and heat applications for more chronic phases of muscle tension.  Use the vascular flush application during the in-between phases.  If available to you, use a pool or lake to give a full bath and massage under water.


Time Devoted: 110 hours           

As massage techniques refers to specific massage moves arranged in a pattern and done in an orderly fashion to achieve a desired effect, it is important for your practice to carefully study and memorize each technique presented here.

5 hours - After reading the section concerning the thumb technique and viewing the video, practice this technique on your horse.  Consider practising over the entire neck, the withers, the shoulder, the back, the hip, the leg and lower leg of all limbs.

5 hours - After reading the section concerning the elbow technique and viewing the video, practice this technique on your horse.  Consider practising over the back and hindquarters.

20 hours - After reading the section concerning the swelling technique and viewing the video, practice this technique on your horse.  Consider practising over the neck, the withers, the shoulder, the hip, and the legs.

20 hours - After reading the section concerning the trigger-point technique and viewing the video, practice this technique on your horse.  Work all large muscles as TPs form mostly in the belly of the muscle.

20 hours - After reading the section concerning the neuromuscular technique and viewing the video, practice this technique on your horse.  Work all large muscles groups.

20 hours - After reading the section concerning the stress-point technique and viewing the video, practice this technique on your horse.  Apply the technique to all big muscle attachments on the body of the horse.

20 hours - After reading the section concerning the origin-insertion technique and viewing the video, practice this technique on your horse.  Every large muscle group should be worked on, every one!


Time Devoted: 435 hours           

Massage routines are a series of massage moves or techniques arranged in a specific order to achieve the best result in the shortest time.  It is important for your practice to carefully study and memorize each routine presented here. Once you will be knowledgeable about each routine you will be able to Acompose@ your one ones to best fit the need at hand.

20 hours - Read the instructions for the relaxation massage routine in your book, then watch the video until you understand this routine.  Please re-read the instructions from time to time as you develop your manual practice, to insure you don’t forget anything.

50 hours - During the next few days, spend up to 30 min. at a time practising the short and long version of the relaxation massage routine on your horse, until you are comfortable with both versions.

We also recommend you apply this routine on different horses so you can appreciate how different horses react. It will be good to practice this routine over a hundred times in the next couple months.

5 hours - Read the maintenance massage routine on your book, then view it on the video.  Insure to thoroughly read the instructions from time to time during your practice so you don’t forget any steps or detail.

20 hours - In the early stages of practising this routine, concentrate on the SEW & WES approach only. After you apply the relaxation routine to prepare your horse (~10 min.), it should take you about 20 to 25 minutes to apply SEW & WES on your horses= entire body for a total >hands-on= practise time of 30-35 minutes.

30 hours - Practise over several sessions of 30 -35 min. instead of going for longer sessions.

As you build up your strength and confidence, add more movements between the warm-up of the SEW and WES-ing out of an area , as suggested in the outline of the maintenance routine in your manual, and demonstrated in the video. Your total working time on the horse including a relaxation and maintenance routine should be about 50-60 minutes per session. Practice on different horses if possible.

100 hours - When comfortable in working with all aspect of the routine, practice the full maintenance massage routine on lots of different horses so you can develop as feel for the various breeds & disciplines. When working regularly on several horses, make note of the changes in the attitude and feel of the horse.

30 hours - Practice the recuperation massage routine as described in chapter 6 and shown on video.  Understand the principles behind this routine so you can assist your horse during this particular phase.

30 hours - Practice the warm-up massage routine as described in chapter 6 and shown on video.  Understand the principles behind this routine so you can add massage movements if you desire so.

30 hours - Practice the cool-down massage routine as described in chapter 6 and shown on video. Understand the principles behind this routine so you can add massage movements if you desire so.

120 hours - Once familiar with each massage routine, you will be feeling more creative in the making of your own massage routine according to the situation at hand.


Time Devoted: 50 hours           

This is a very important chapter for you to study as it will help you identify the muscle groups responsible for the various movements of the horse.  A solid knowledge of this section will greatly contribute to your practice.  It will allow you to detect and identify the afflicted muscle groups much faster as you observe the lameness in any horse.

10 hours - Spend a minimum of five/ten hours towards a thorough academic study of the kinesiology outline of the horse. Memorize the muscles involved in each of the movements of the horse. It will greatly contribute to your expertise during massage evaluation in relation to muscle lameness, muscular compensation and activities of any given horse.

40 hours - Take the time to evaluate each of the horse muscle groups in relation to its discipline and familiarize yourself with the various compensation factors found with each one. To develop a great eye and hand for muscle evaluation is an important part of your trade.  Enjoy it.


Time Devoted: 80 hours

Stretching exercises will enhance the flexibility of the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joint capsules and contribute to the overall relaxation of your horse .  It is a great benefit to your massage practice and you should make it a part of your daily massage routines.

20 hours - After reading the section on stretching and viewing the video, spend a minimum of five/ten hours (over the course of several weeks) to practice safe stretching on your horse.  Remember to always stretch your horse when warm.  Practice stretching on different horses, to better your experience.

60 hours - As you build up your confidence, add the stretching practice to each of your maintenance massage routine, either during or right at the end of the massage routine, or during the warm-up and cool-down massage routine.


Time Devoted: 40 hours

Your ability to Aread@ a horse is directly proportional to your knowledge of conformation and gaits.  Take time to study and absorb this aspect of your practice.  It will greatly help you in your evaluation of muscular problems, muscular compensation and postural and structural problems of any horse.

5 hours - Read this section on conformation assessment thoroughly and view the video. Then spend several hours over a few days practising visual evaluation on your horse, as well as others, the more the better.   Take the time to develop an eye for the overall picture of a horse, his proportions, and angles on his shoulder, pasterns, feet and thighs. Understanding the repercussions of conformation in relationship to the horse discipline will hep you better understand the distribution of his muscle tension.

35 hours - at the beginning of each practice, either on your horse on another horse, exercise your conformation evaluation awareness for 5 to 10 minutes prior to giving your massage routine.  Start with an overall eye inspection then take the time to check all body parts with a light palpation from front to back on both sides.  Use the walk and trot to assess deeper muscle problem.


Time Devoted: 70 hours           

This section is the Ainteresting stuff@ that your practice is made of, and that you really need to know.  This knowledge of all muscular stress locations will make your massage practice that much more accurate and will save you lots of time when evaluating muscular problems in any horse.

20 hours - After thoroughly reading the section on stress points and viewing the video, spend a minimum of ten hours over a few days assessing the various stress point locations on you horse. Practice on as many horse as you can, it will develop your expertise. Please insure to memorise the stress points by their names, not just by number.

50 hours - Practice over the next month, doing the full work: start with a relaxation routine, then assess all 40 stress points on each side on the horse, and deliver a full body massage, including stretching. Apply the various massage technique as needed, and consider using hydrotherapy if needed.

Chapters 11 to14 included in the revised edition of the Equine Massage,  A Practical Guide book, are not part of the Equine massage foundation course. They are provided as atonements for your practice. Please consult our list of Continual Education Courses if you wish to further your education in these related fields.


Time Devoted: 5 hours

Read this chapter thoroughly to familiarize yourself with the common stress found in each disciplines.  Repeat this from time to time throughout the course of your practice.


Time Devoted: 35 hours           

Keeping record is an important part of your practice and should not be underestimated.  It will help you collect all the important facts before proceeding.  As you upgrade your notes with each session, it helps understand the progression of your work. It also gives a more professional look in your practice.

5 hours - Learn to take proper set of notes as presented in chapter 16.

30 hours - At each massage session, start taking and compiling notes.


This suggested time schedule provides you with over eight hundred and sixty hours of study time to include both academic and practicum aspect of the EMA home study course.  Do not hesitate to spend more time studying your book and video, your charts, and practising on your horses to best suit your needs. 

At this point I want to personally thank you for helping horses around you with massage

Once you have completed the Home-study portion of the Preliminary course and feel you are ready for more detailed professional information, I will be glad to assist you in furthering your massage skills when you register in a Practical Training Session.   During this session, I will refine the movements and techniques you have studied on your own, teach you new tips and hints of the professional trade and test your abilities before you receive your Certificate of Completion from our services.

For now, ENJOY your new found awareness and see you at a Practical Training Session.

Your friend in loving horses,



Order Book Now from Animal Awareness - Click Here