How To Become An Equine Sports Massage Therapist

How to Become an Equine Sports Massage Therapist in 10 Steps

Equine massage therapy is a growing industry, which means that there’s lots of potential for career growth. And while you don’t need any special education to start practicing as an equine sports massage therapist, it can help to know the basic steps you should take to become one, including what education and licensing are necessary, how long it will take to complete them, and how much it will cost in total. This article will go over the 10 steps you should take in order to become an equine sports massage therapist and give you some resources to help you along the way.

Step 1: Understand the foundations
It is essential that you fully understand what massage therapy is and how it works. Not only that, but you need to be comfortable with some of the basic techniques and treatments involved. If you’re looking for a career where your hands will be one of your most valuable assets, then equine sports massage could be ideal for you. However, there are many different techniques within sports massage so it’s worth being clear on exactly what kind of career path you want to take before venturing into your first lesson. There are several options available: hot stone, Swedish bodywork and shiatsu just to name a few! You can find out more about what each method involves by doing some thorough research before choosing a course that fits your requirements.

Step 2: Learn about insurance and business basics
Insurance is one of those important topics that can be a little overwhelming. The good news is that you don’t need to know everything there is about insurance coverage; instead, it’s a good idea to understand how it works and what kinds of things are likely to be included as your business grows. Insurance matters are further complicated by state regulations, so start with your state’s requirements (your state department of insurance will have information). The more time you spend understanding insurance and taxes for small businesses, the less stressful these issues will be down the road.

Step 3: Find out about equine massage course options
After completing your education, it’s important to take further courses or certifications. In particular, equine sports massage therapists need extra training on how best to treat injured animals. You may also want to consider finding a part-time job as a massager at a riding center while you are completing your training. This way, you can start practicing and building up experience as soon as possible after graduation.

Step 4: Choose your equine sports massage program
There are two types of equine sports massage programs available: distance-learning and on-site. While attending school for equine sports massage, you’ll learn about anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and therapeutic modalities. You may also gain skills in foreleg assist and deep tissue therapy. Some schools offer on-the-job training where students can gain hands-on experience working with live horses while under supervision by a licensed horse therapist. Graduates of either type of program will have earned licensure as an equine sports massage therapist through organizations such as EVA or NAIMS.

Step 5: Get support from friends and family
Reach out to loved ones who can help you through. Your friends and family members are there for you not only when you are starting a new career but also when you have disappointments and need support. If a big part of your success is going to depend on them, it is important that they understand exactly what you will be doing so they can see how it will affect their lives. They should also know about any sacrifices that will be necessary for your career, such as having less time for social activities or not being home as much. By having them on board early on, you will get all their help and support rather than learning about resentment later down the road when things have already started off rocky.

Step 6: Book your first appointments with horses, always safe!!
Before you can begin treating your first client, there are a few things you need to know. First and foremost, hire a lawyer who specializes in equine law. You’ll also want to go through state and federal hoops of getting certified as a sports massage therapist or have your college or university help you with that process. Most states require some form of continuing education for physical therapists who work with horses; find out what it is and make sure you meet their requirements before attempting any treatments. And lastly, be smart about whom you treat—if it’s at all possible, have your trainer recommend them or do reference checks yourself by talking with their groomers or stable staff beforehand.

Step 7: Network with other professionals who are passionate about horses
It’s important that you surround yourself with other professionals who love horses and have experience in equine sports. Not only will it help you improve as a therapist, but you’ll also have people who understand what it’s like and can give you advice. The best part is that these are most likely great people with whom to form friendships. If you don’t know of any professionals in your area, contact your state association for tips on networking. You might even consider joining their association. There are also several Facebook groups that serve as online communities for horse massage therapists, so reach out to them as well!

Step 8. Continue your education through workshops, conferences, associations etc.
Continuing education is vital. Many massage therapists never go back to school after their education, but as an equine sports massage therapist you will want to continue learning and expanding your body of knowledge and skills. There are several continuing education opportunities for equine sports massage therapists like conferences, workshops, webinars, educational groups etc. Make sure you keep up with it so that you are aware of any new techniques or changes that happen within your field. At first you may need to take some time off from riding, but if you keep learning you will be able to do it all without jeopardizing your passion or personal goals and achievements!

Step 9. Start marketing yourself via social media, email campaigns etc.
With your degree, certifications and other credentials in hand, it’s time to get out there and start marketing yourself. Start by using LinkedIn and join any equine-related groups (hint: ask for introductions from your professors). Also create a profile on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Use these networks to build a rapport with potential employers or clients. Get them familiar with you and what you have to offer before ever reaching out via email or phone call. Include lots of pictures of yourself working with horses in action — clients love that kind of visual information!

Step 10. Join the AEA to connect with likeminded therapists across the world
You can join at one of four levels, with Gold being for working/practicing therapists and Silver for students and enthusiasts. In addition to receiving regular news bulletins about developments within sports massage, you’ll also be able to chat about cases with fellow therapists and learn from their experiences. There’s also an excellent career section on their website where you can see what’s out there. For example, if you search equine sports massage on Google jobs, you’ll see that several stables across Britain are looking for qualified sports massage therapists who are experts in equine massage. Some sites even list salaries! An important point here is that registering with organizations like these will make it easier for future employers or clients to contact you regarding work opportunities.

Final Word
While you’re getting your degree, start taking notes. Write down your professors’ names, contact information and what skills you can gain from them. Once you graduate and find a job, leverage your personal relationships to get access to these people on a regular basis. One of my colleagues came from a program that taught her how to do equine sports massage. Because she knew my background was primarily in endurance sports, she asked me if I would let her practice on me during her internship at Sea Otter Classic. By letting her practice on me regularly for those few months, I was able to evaluate whether or not it was something I wanted for myself. And yes, it was worth it!

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Lynn has been writing at our blog for over two years. She currently writes about topics such as sleep, massage therapy, and cooking. Recently, she has teamed up with other bloggers to write about their life stories. Lynn is also a certified massage therapist who loves to express herself through cooking recipes she finds on Pinterest or food blogs. Lynn's blog is an outlet where she can share her passions with others while encouraging them to live the best version of themselves.

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