This weekend Apollo got a full body massage. Am I jealous? A little.
The massage was not because I love to spoil my horse with a day at the equine spa (he got his hooves trimmed too - a massage and a pedicure! Now I really am jealous).
The massage was to see if Apollo had any sore spots (yes, don't we all) that could be corrected (yes again), and whether getting rid of the soreness could help his training and overall behavior.
When training a horse, we of course expect that the horse will do whatever we ask them to, regardless of how they're feeling that day. But no body is perfect, be it a horse body or a person body. Any flaws in conformation, bad habits that cause imbalances in posture or overuse of a muscle, etc, can all lead to tender spots, soreness, or outright pain. This can in turn lead to training issues, unwillingness to do what is asked if it hurts, or behavior problems when the horse is just trying to tell us they hurt.
With just one session, Apollo is already standing with better posture. Some further work is needed, and it's too early to say if one massage will help his training progress and bad habits. I'll also be doing some horse yoga with him, using some essential oils, and of course lots more training!