B. Nicole Wilson

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In every barn there is sure to be one horse or pony in particular that always earns the infamous nickname of being the ‘grumpiest horse in the barn’.  You know this one; the horse always has a look of irritation on its face and constantly acts ornery no matter what they are asked to do. Now ask yourself – Is this YOUR horse?

Have you ever wondered if there was a rhyme or reason to why they continuously act this way? Consider the possibility that they are sore and in pain from their everyday activities (riding, standing in a stall for too many hours, being too rambunctious in their paddock, etc.). Since horses can’t tell us what is going on verbally, their only option to do so is with body language. Even something as subtle as pinning of the ears when you tighten up your girth can be a signal that something isn’t right; whether the cause be the saddle fit, sore muscles from a previous ride or something as simple as the horse rolling the wrong way (maybe even over a protruding rock) in their paddock.

Perhaps the horse has some conformation issues that puts extra pressure on areas of their joints and surrounding tendons and muscles. Imagine, how you would react if you were in the horse’s shoes? For sure you would let your handler know that you aren’t too fond of what is happening.  Horses that give these kinds of reactions can be easily classified as being difficult, unruly or grumpy, which may not be truly what is happening. Further investigation needs to be done before it can be certain that the horse is actually misbehaving or just acting out due to pain.

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Massage therapy is one great tool in a horse owner’s proverbial belt that can be used to reduce common reasons for the horse to be sore and therefore lessen reasons for the horse to be grumpy. Things such as muscle spasms, increase flexibility, reduction of scar tissue, increase of circulation, increase elimination of waste products within the muscle, decrease recovery time needed for fatigued muscles, identification and treatment of trigger points and relaxation can be addressed – which can help reduce discomfort, therefore can make for a much happier horse.


So if your horse happens to have the title of ‘grumpy horse of the barn’, why not give massage therapy a try. You just might be able to pass on the title of ‘grumpiest horse in the barn’ to someone else, leaving your horse feeling better and in a much happier overall attitude and mental state.

Author Bio – B. Nicole Wilson

Equine massage is much more than just a career for Nicole, it truly is her passion! She began riding when she was ten and purchased her first horse when she was fourteen and has done much training, massage and Reiki treatments with him. The massage and Reiki treatments proved to be very effective as he experienced a serious injury in September of 2008, giving her vital hands-on practical experience with her massage therapy training. Her education includes an associate Diploma in Agriculture – Equine Option and successfully completed courses such as: Equine Anatomy and Physiology, Alternative Therapies, Conformation and Lameness, Equine Health, Feeds and Feeding, and Conditioning. She successfully completed an equine massage course and became a Certified Equine Massage Therapist in June of 2008. This certification led to Nicole starting her own equine massage business: Equine Serenity Massage Therapy www.equineserenity.webs.com.