thinking about doing equine massage business but...

I wanna become a certified equine massage therapist because where im from there arent any and i believe i would get good business. The thing is that there are no programs in my town for it and my only option would be to do a course online. I worry that doing a course online wouldnt give me the most experience i need to be successful. thoughts?

Back in 1992 I became a certified EMT. It was only a week long and hands on. It wasn’t enough of an education, honestly. In 2003 I spent a year in massage school for humans; hands-on, clinic hours, anatomy classes, other therapies, etc…this was a solid education for a business I worked in for ten years. There is so much more involved in massage than just doing a routine. Diagnostics, body mechanics, client/owner communication, all this can’t be learned online. I can’t imagine an online course being complete enough to begin a business.


I’d also add that as a client, I’d not be willing to spend money on someone bringing that level of education to the table. I’m not sure how long the course is, but with no practical experience, I just wouldn’t consider you qualified. There’s nothing that bothers me more than seeing people who take some weekend course and then start charging people to massage. If you take the course to try and help your own horse, that’s one thing, but to think yourself qualified to provide it as a professional service is wrong imho.

In Ontario we have a school dedicated to equine massage. It’s a 3 year course (last I had checked) and is in line with the human massage course. If I’m looking for a massage therapist, I’ll pay the one who dedicated themselves to learning their craft.


what program are you talking about? I’ve never heard of a three year equine massage program in Ontario! Wondering if I live under a rock or if it’s a newer school.

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It’s the D’AL school in London, Ontario. I haven’t looked into it in a number of years, so when I checked now it is a 2 year program and appears to have been taken over by trios college.

You should check the laws in your state for equine massage, I believe some states require it to be under a vet.

First, check that your state allows it so you don’t waste your money or time.

Don’t be put off by online courses. Some are very good and show you the basics of what you need to do. As long as you have patient horses to practice on, you can take your time to get a feel for what to do where and how much pressure to use. The online programs have you send in videos to critique, so you won’t be flying totally blind.

There are good and not so good courses. Feel free to PM me on where not to go.

Sorry, there is no way I would pay someone with only an online certification to treat my horse.


I’ve had a reasonably successful equine/canine massage business since 2009. If you want to do this professionally, you want to invest in the best education possible. Online-only courses won’t cut it. This is a kinesthetic skill; you need supervised time devloping your feel and your eye.

Nor will the myriad short courses (a week or less) develop you as a competent professional. You need a solid mix of anatomy/physioogy classroom time, applied knowledge (e.g., movement and conformation evaluation), applied practice with direct supervision, observation of/internships with practicing professionals, and time to integrate all these skill sets. A solid program will also teach you how to use your own body most efficiently so that you can have longevity in what can be a fairly physically taxing career.

You may have to travel to make it happen, but get your education from one of the established programs that is modeled on human massage training. You can even start with human training; many animal therapists do so.


I wrote a blog entry about this:

– Julie


To see if you can make a go of this, talk to your local equine vet, and find out what sort of education and experience they would want to see before they will recommend you.

I know people are saying they wouldn’t hire someone who just took an on-line course, but the truth is, that most people won’t really ask/know what sort of qualifications you have. There are some doozies working around my area who seem to get work, and they are not only not qualified, but they are also uninsured & and lack WCB. The main problem is that you might get work to start with, but if you don’t yield notable results, you won’t be able to convince people to keep spending their money that way.

There is also a Massage course being run locally, but the person who runs the course is barely qualified herself, and I think part of her course is just how to convince people everyone else is bad, and to almost bully them into hiring her…so be very careful what school you go to, and try to make sure it is a course that is somewhat recognized.

Interesting and timely post. I have a coworker who is into bodywork. She has been teaching her self through books and working on her own horse.

She started working on Horses at work And the results are really very noticeable. She has now signed up for a 3 day course, and purchased more books.

Even with only her own self guided education the differences and improvements have been very noticeable and worth the effort. It helps that I’m have been in a rider biomechanics school since 2002. And can really sense the changes in the horses. We also have a chiropractor who works on the horses once a month. And we have feedback from that person also.

Based on this experience, I would suggest that positive improvement in the horses is going to be your best selling point for clients. Perhaps offering free weekly sessions four weeks in a row. So that owners can feel the changes in the horse. At least during the start up. When you’re getting yourself established

We have found it very beneficial for her to do the bodywork before the horses are ridden. Or for her to do it immediately afterwards, if something wonky noticed when they were worked.

Frequency really seems to be the key. She works on each horse about once a week.