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A horse massage therapist, commonly known as an equine massage therapist, performs focused massage techniques on recreational, show, working and race horses. Properly applied equine massage enables the practitioner to discover musculoskeletal problems resulting from stress or overuse. Equine massage also helps increase the horse’s circulatory system efficiency, which increases oxygen and nutrient flow to the tissues. Massage techniques help to calm and relax the horse, which allows an owner or trainer to build rapport and handle the horse more easily.
Complete your voluntary equine massage certification. The certification illustrates your competence, as equine massage practice has no education or experience requirements. Private school training includes instruction on equine anatomy and function, as well as targeted massage techniques. Students practice techniques on live horses throughout the program. Certification programs last from three days to 12 weeks and require passage of written and practical exams.
Structure your equine massage business. Contact a certified public accountant familiar with service- and animal-related businesses. Select the proper business structure for your equine massage business. Examples include sole proprietorships, limited liability companies and S corporations. Ask about advantages and disadvantages of each format, particularly for animal-related businesses.
Complete your equine massage organizational tasks. Obtain a business license at your city or county clerk’s office, and inquire about other service business permits. Contact a commercial insurance agent familiar with animal-focused businesses, such as veterinary practices and grooming shops. Ask about business liability insurance, as well as professional liability coverage. Contact your state Department of Revenue about your need for a sales tax license for your services (see Resources).
Print your business promotional materials. Work with a graphic designer to create an informative brochure showcasing your equine massage services. Include photographs of your equine massage work with two or more horses. List proven equine massage benefits, including a professional testimonial from an equine veterinarian. List your educational and equine background, including your equine massage certification details. Work with a sign maker to create a high-quality vehicle sign that illustrates your equine massage services and serves as a mobile billboard.
Visit riding clubs and riding associations. Promote your equine massage services to recreational riding clubs and riding associations. Speak at a club meeting, or offer to write an informative newsletter article about the benefits of equine massage. Investigate thoroughbred horse owners’ organizations, as these owners regard the horses as important investments (see Resources).
Browse a race track trainer directory and call registered trainers within reasonable travel distance. Discuss the benefits of your equine massage services and consider a discounted rate for multiple trainers who book your services at the same race track (see Resources).
Contact large-animal and equine veterinarians who practice within your region. Explain the benefits equine massage can provide in conjunction with the veterinarians’ medical treatment. Ask for an opportunity to demonstrate equine massage techniques on a veterinary patient.
Based in North Carolina, Felicia Greene has written professionally since 1986. Greene edited sailing-related newsletters and designed marketing programs for the New Bern, N.C. "Sun Journal" and New Bern Habitat ReStore. She earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Baltimore.