Equine Massage Therapist Sal Salvetti Lectures on Massage Techniques

Posted by admin On December - 6 - 2017

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Dressageclinic.com is pleased to present this demonstration with well-respected Equine MassageTherapist Sal Salvetti lecturing on the art of equine massage.

Sal has an extensive client list.  His specialty is the dressage athlete and provides an in depth lecture on keeping our high performance horses sound. 

Sal works on Savoie Faire, a 12 year old KWPN FEI horse by Contango and shares important information and techniques while he massages and stretches the horse’s muscles. 


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Watch Sal Salvetti lecture on massage techniques.

Sal shares that it takes a village of people like veterinarians, riders, trainers, chiropractors, farriers and often a massage therapist to keep our horses performing.   Here are Sal’s top wisdoms when massaging horses.

Touch Your Horse

Sal encourages us to consider touching our horses and working with their body.  Sal begins each massage on the left side working on the neck to familiarize the horse with you and what you are doing.   

“As a horse owner, you should feel comfortable to do anything like this with your horse.”   Sal feels it’s important we work with our horses’ bodies and to move the entire structure not simply massaging specific muscles.    

“Feel free to get into your horse,” says Sal and advises us to watch the eyes, ears and behaviour of your horse.  “Pay attention to what he says.”

Often negative feedback is an indication where you need to work.    He recommends to back off a little bit but continue.  “Don’t leave it.  Back off a little bit.  Work into it.  Go a little bit slowly and then get back into the depth, “ shares Sal. “You’ll get further into it.”

Let Them Respond

Sal explains that he works with horses in their stalls – never in cross ties.  He reminds us that deep tissue massage can feel painful, pleasurable, or anything in between.   “It’s important for your horse to give feedback,” says Sal.   

“The beautiful thing with working with horses – what makes it so easy – is the feedback that they give is pure, it’s instantaneous, it’s unfiltered,” says Sal.  

Giving horses freedom to respond allows them to express themselves.   As well, Sal says the horse will often position themselves on their own to optimize what you are doing.


Sal demonstrates many stretching exercises, which he routinely employs in his massage work.   He shares that are many ways to stretch the horse incorrectly and advises us to always stretch horses on a soft surface to protect the lower limb if it slips and hits the ground.  Sal wants the horses to feel secure and supported and strongly advises never to drop the limb and to do your best to slow the impact if the horse does pull it out of your grasp.

Often times, Sal says horses will volunteer the stretch if they are not rushed.  “At least then you know they’re ready for it and it’s their idea,” shares Sal.  “Which makes it less resistant, more effective and a lot safer.”

Call the Professional

When your horse is showing signs of tension, pain, or has a change in performance, an equine massage therapist may need to step in.  

Sal recommends talking to your veterinarian or other people in your neighbourhood.  “The first thing I think is to go by referrals,” says Sal and to consider the credentials that massage therapist may bring.   “I think it is really crucial to have horse massage therapists to be trained in human massage as well.”   

Watching Sal and listening to his wisdom brings us all a step closer in learning how we can keep our high performance horses happy, loose, and sound.    Excellent work Sal.


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