"A horse is the biggest, strongest, toughest athlete in the world, yet he can't tell you where he is hurt. You have to find the problem. It's kind of a study of anatomy in braille"
HISTORY OF SPORTS MASSAGE
Sports massage originated in Greece and Rome thousands of years ago. The earliest record being a Roman Physician, Galen, prescribing massage for gladiators before and after exercising.
Modern history of sports massage can be traced back to the Olympic Games in Paris in 1924. Paavo Nurmi a runner from Finland won 5 gold medals and credited it to receiving regular sports massage from his personal therapist.
It gained momentum during the 20th Century as more and more athletes realised they were able to improve their performance by having it and has been popular with amateurs and professionals ever since.
Paavo Nurmi receiving a sports massage in Paris
HISTORY OF EQUINE SPORTS MASSAGE
Equine massage owes itself to Jack Meagher, he actually coined the term sports massage although he spelled it "sportsmassage".
While in the army during World War II he wrote that he learned massage from a German prisoner who taught him about 'stress points'. He describes these as tender/trigger point formations which are sore when touched and fibrous in a way that affects the pull and strength of a muscle.
When he returned to the US he attended 2 massage schools and after a lull in popularity during the 50s and 60s Meagher emerged in the 70s working with both humans and equine athletes.
Clearly having a way with horses, he started treating racehorses forging his own path with his own unique sense. He taught others and stood by the fact that horses could not describe what was wrong and if not happy with what you were doing it could all go very wrong.
Meagher went on to treat horses at the Olympics, World Championships and many top events in North America.