What is Bodywork?

“Bodywork” refers to hands-on therapies that release accumulated muscle tension.

Why does my horse need bodywork?

  • Bodywork can provide overall comfort to the horse
  • Bodywork can reduce accumulated muscular tension created through the horse’s work
  • Tension in the muscles causes:
    • Uneven torque on the skeleton that can result in misalignment
    • Increased stress on tendons and ligaments
    • Reduced range of motion and suppleness
    • Pain
  • Injuries, illnesses and stall rest can cause compensation patterns which also result in tension
  • Relieving tension decreases resistance behavior, making handling and training easier.
A Masterson Method Certified Practitioner reads and follows the responses of the horse
Tension accumulates in key junctions of the horse’s body that most affect performance

What is the Masterson Method®?

Developed in 2005, the Masterson Method® is a unique form of equine bodywork.
  • It uses the nervous system to relieve tension in the junctions of the body most important for performance
  • It is appropriate for any horse regardless of level or competition…or not
  • The Masterson Method® works with the horse to gain trust (not on the horse)
  • The Method identifies body language that shows:
    • Where the horse is holding tension
    • When the tension is released
    • When a performance-limiting issue might be developing
  • It is not chiropractic, but works well with chiropractic.
Working with the horse not on the horse


How the Masterson Method® Uniquely Improves the Horse’s Comfort & Performance:
  • Masterson Method techniques address all bodywork targets:
    • The autonomic nervous system
    • Muscles
    • Joints
    • Energetic elements
    • Fascia
  • Tension is released in deep core and postural muscles, allowing the horse’s spine to realign naturally
  • When deep tension is released and the muscles controlling major joints of the body can fully relax and contract:
    • Range of motion is restored in the major joints
    • Increased range of motion improves length and evenness of stride, lateral reach and overall gymnastic ability
    • Suppleness and strength needed for proper impulsion, collection, bend and the core ability to lift through the withers and back are enhanced.

Areas of impact

Muscles & Joints

Work creates tension in the gymnastic muscles of the horse thereby limiting range of motion and inhibiting performance. Masterson Method® techniques move key junctions of the body through ranges of motion in a relaxed state, releasing tension in the muscles and connective tissue that operate those junctions.

Autonomic Nervous System

Masterson Method® practitioners use levels of pressure that bypass the horse’s natural fight or flight (sympathetic) response, allowing the natural regenerative (parasympathetic) part of the horse’s nervous system to release deeper core and postural muscle tension.


Gentle movement and manipulation of this highly innervated and interconnected system of connective tissue allow the horse’s musculoskeletal system to relax and realign itself naturally.


Masterson Method® practitioners are taught to recognise subtle changes in the horse’s body language that allow them to adjust to levels of pressure that bring down the horse’s energy state. This interaction works with the horse’s energy rather than against it and allows the horse to release even deeper levels of tension.


The Masterson Method® is accredited and approved by a number of professional organisations including:
  • National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork Organisation (NCBTMB)
  • National Board of Certification For Animal Acupressure and Massage
  • International Institute for Complementary Therapists
  • Equine Therapies Association of Australia.