Horse Health

Equestrians from around the country are buzzing about the benefits massage therapy provides for their horses. W. F. Young, Inc., makers of Absorbine® products, has discovered that when their trusted Absorbine Veterinary Liniment is applied with massage therapy, it enhances the therapy’s benefits – providing a revolutionary, effective spin to a venerable product and treatment.

More than 60 percent of a horse’s body weight is made up of muscle mass. Countless reasons can cause these muscles to become sore, including symptoms of an injury or disease, or strain from a strenuous workout or a long trail ride. Tracing back as early as the Egyptian empire, massage has been used on both animals and people as a safe alternative to medication or surgery. Massage therapy provides a great deal of value to horses, people and companion animals, including enhancing muscle tone and range of motion, reducing inflammation and swelling in the joints, promoting the healing process by increasing the flow of nutrients to the muscles, aiding in carrying away excessive fluids and toxins, and stimulating circulation1. For over 116 years, Absorbine Veterinary Liniment has been used as a natural way to relieve sore muscles, stiff joints and tendonitis. A multifunctional formula, the liniment is made up of a natural blend of herbal extracts and oils including calendula, echinacea, and wormwood.

“Absorbine Veterinary Liniment is a great, age-old product that enhances the benefits and effectiveness of massage therapy at no risk to the horse or person,” said Lee Williams, BA, BS, EqPTM, LMT, Structural Integrationist from Monson, Massachusetts. “Using the product allows you to better work into the muscle tissue, especially if the area of application is clipped.”

In addition to equine and human massage, Williams is certified in Structural Integration – a form of bodywork named after Dr. Ida Rolf, a biochemist who was influenced by osteopathy, physical therapy, and yoga2. The purpose of Rolfing is to improve health by bringing segments of the body, for example the back or legs, into proper alignment. It is based on the idea that fascia – the fibrous layers covering muscles (connective tissue) – stiffens, shortens, and loses its elasticity after prolonged poor posture or conformation in the case with a horse2.

“The importance of fascia in the equine structural system has been underestimated for a long time,” said Williams. “Absorbine Veterinary Liniment is useful because it penetrates into that subcutaneous layer of the muscle tissue, aiding in the effectiveness of the therapy. It is also a non-abrasive formula, therefore it’s soothing for the horse.”

There may not always be a scientific reason why certain techniques such as equine massage work, but proof in performance makes people believe that it does. For example, Mary Schreiber, massage therapist and founder of Equissage, Inc. in Round Hill, Virginia, uses Absorbine’s Veterinary Liniment with massage therapy on her Belgian Draft to help relieve the pain of his ringbone and on her race horses.

In July 2008, Schreiber bought a three-year-old Thoroughbred filly named Still of the Night. Prior to each race, the filly got a massage, but was running respectively 4th or 5th each time. That is until one Wednesday night, in Charles Town, West Virginia. Running at 30-1 odds, Schrieber used Absorbine’s Veterinary Liniment with her massage before the race. Still of the Night came in first, beating the favorite to a major upset.

“Everyone knows any number of factors go into horse racing that can influence the outcome of the race,” said Schreiber. “We are a team of horses, grooms, riders, Tim Shanley the trainer, and me – a massage therapist. I am so fortunate to be both a horse owner and massage therapist. Now Absorbine products are a part of the team as well. I believe in the product – it enhances my massage therapy program while also providing a nice aroma therapy.”

Marketed by W.F. Young, Inc., Absorbine products are available nationwide in tack shops, farm supply stores and catalogs. Founded in 1892, W.F. Young, Inc. has produced quality health care products for the equine industry for over a century. From their headquarters in East Longmeadow, MA, the company is committed to extending this heritage into the new century. For a dealer near you, or for more information, visit

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