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Equine Massage Therapy Certificate


The Equine Massage Therapy Certificate has been developed to promote and provide standardization within the industry.

Students will learn theory and gain hands-on experiences to allow them to be employed in the Equine Massage Therapy field. The Equine Massage Therapy Certificate will provide students with a certificate in Professional and Continuing Education.

Delivery: Olds College Campus


  • Application Fee: $500 + GST
  • Semester 1 Tuition: $3500 + GST (due one month before semester start date)
  • Semester 2 Tuition: $4000 + GST (Due January 5, 2024)

Students wishing to access stand-alone courses would be charged $899 + GST per course plus any horse-related costs providing space is available.

Program Dates:

  • 2023/2024 Program:
    Semester 1: September 5 - December 15, 2023
    Semester 2: January 8 - April 26, 2024

Credential: Non-credit. Graduates will receive an Olds College Continuing Education & Corporate Training Certificate in Equine Massage Therapy.

Registrations: Registrations are accepted as long as seats are available, however, it is recommended that you register early as this class is limited to a small number of students to ensure your safety and an optimal learning experience. Apply now to avoid disappointment.

Admission Requirements: Students must have basic horse knowledge and be comfortable working in and around horses.

Graduation Requirements: Students must complete all course requirements. In addition, they must complete a Field Placement where they are required to complete a theoretical exam and then perform massage routines on 50 horses before being eligible to take a final practical oral exam with a live horse. Students will be required to have their logbook signed off by the client which guarantees they have successfully completed the routine. Additionally, they will organize all evidence (session forms, assessments) into a portfolio of work. Students will complete the practical exam on a live horse with an instructor and students must achieve a mark in this course above 65% to pass the course and graduate.

What will you learn?

In the first semester of Equine Massage Therapy, students will learn about important aspects of equine anatomy and physiology, they will gain knowledge about important equine health management practices. Students will be introduced to the industry’s scope of practice and will learn how to do an initial horse assessment to find areas of pain and create a mindset for critical thinking and problem solving when it comes to evaluating the horse’s situation. Finally, students will be introduced to introductory massage theory which includes modalities, strokes, techniques and routines and apply these within a lab setting.

In the second semester of Equine Massage Therapy students will be familiarized with common infectious diseases and parasites in horses.  They will learn different advanced massage approaches and treatments for the horse’s health and performance.  Students will dive more in-depth into equine neurology and the different neurological problems and diseases which can have an effect on a horse’s health and performance.  Students will gain knowledge on approaching different types of equine injuries and how modalities such as stretching and mobility training trigger point therapy, pre and post-performance massage routines, lymphatic drainage and myofascial release work to improve the horse’s condition and performance.  Additionally, they will learn how to manage a business and work professionally as an equine massage therapist.

Course Details

Semester 1:

Equine Management and Horse Care | EQN 7065
Dates: September 5 - December 15, 2023

In this course, you will demonstrate knowledge and skills in stable management, horse behaviour, and nutrition. You will explore stable cleanliness and organization, haltering and handling horses and fitting and using blankets appropriately.  You will also be introduced to the theory and practice of feeding to maximize the performance and health of the horse. By the end of the course, you will be able to create a comprehensive stable plan including nutrition, housing, and general daily care for a horse.  (5 hrs lab)

Massage I: Introduction to Equine Massage Theory, Techniques, and Routines | EQN 7040
Dates: September 5 - December 15, 2023

This is an introductory course that will provide you with a theoretical basis as well as hands-on learning in the lab portion to massage strokes, techniques, routines, and modalities. You will learn introductory massage strokes, stretches, and exercises on different areas to improve health and performance. You will be introduced to dynamic and static assessment as part of a horse treatment plan. You will massage live horses applying theory, strokes, and techniques in routines in a lab setting to identify areas of conformation, contraindications, soreness, tightness, asymmetry, or muscle fatigue. This course will include guest speakers, scenario-based learning, hands-on labs and experiential learning. You will utilize this knowledge to think critically to identify areas of soreness and muscle fatigue taking into consideration the disciplines the horse is used for.

Equine Biomechanics | EQN 7056
Dates: September 5 - December 15, 2023

In this course, you will explore the biomechanics of muscles underlying horse movement (forelimb, hindlimb, neck, and trunk). You will analyze conformation and movement to understand compensation patterns, lameness, and asymmetries in the horse. You will examine the biomechanics of horses in different disciplines and identify subsequent issues and problems.

Saddle fitting will be examined in relation to conformation and its impact on movement. By the end of the course, you will analyze compensation patterns and choose acceptable exercises, massage routines, and techniques to improve performance.

Textbook Requirement: Biomechanics and Physical Training of the Horse by Jean Marie Dubois

Equine Anatomy and Physiology | EQN 7050
Dates: September 5 - December 15, 2023

Anatomy is pivotal to the study of massage therapy. This course will focus on the anatomical makeup and function of the horse’s body by system including the integumentary, muscular, skeletal, lymphatic, circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems with physiological applications related to its function and management. This course will underpin your understanding of massage theory, techniques, strokes, routines, and modalities. In addition to understanding how the systems function, you will learn why dysfunction impacts the equine and its ability to perform.

Semester 2:

Equine Massage Therapy Business and Relationships | EQN 7041
Dates: January 8 - April 26, 2024

This course aims to equip you with the knowledge and skills of how to run a small business in the equine industry. Topics include business planning, marketing, bookkeeping, financing, and government regulations. You will discuss your role as a massage therapist and the scope of practice that you will be required to work within. You will also classify other professionals’ areas of practice. You will be able to explain your role as a professional, covering ethics, values, standards (code of practice), and education (professional development) as part of being a therapist and small business owner in the equine industry.

Equine Health Management and First Aid | EQN 7051
Dates: January 8 - April 26, 2024

In this course, you will be familiarized with the characteristics of a healthy horse which enable you to identify a horse that is unwell. You will gain an understanding of common infectious diseases and parasites. The use of dewormers and general medications, when prescribed by a veterinarian, will be explored. You will also be introduced to first aid protocols and wound management to safeguard a horse’s well-being and performance. Finally, you will explore equine behaviour and safe handling while performing bandaging and general health care. (6 hrs)

Equine Neurology | EQN 7055
Dates: January 9 - April 28, 2023

You will gain an in-depth understanding of the nervous system and the senses. You will focus on symptoms and causes of neurological problems and how to identify neurological issues in a horse. You will demonstrate the explore relationships between the nervous system and muscles and explore how to assess a horse’s condition using a grading system to distinguish between asymmetry, conformation, lameness or neurological issues.

Massage Care for Injury | EQN 7042
Dates: January 9 - April 28, 2023

This course teaches you how to tend to different injuries within an equine massage therapist's scope of practice. You will also be able to discuss common equine injuries including stress points, scar tissue, tendonitis, swelling, muscle strains, and tears. You will learn techniques that mobilize limbs, joints, and the axial and appendicular skeleton. You will understand how to identify swelling caused by performance and activity and be taught swelling reduction techniques, stretching, and massage therapy routines to reduce swelling. You will understand other forms of treatment and be able to provide recommendations in relation to veterinarian consultation for that particular horse within your scope of practice.

Massage II: Advanced Massage Therapy Techniques and Routines | EQN 7043
Dates: January 9 - April 28, 2023

In this advanced massage course, you will study more advanced therapy including post and performance massage, stretching, and mobilization techniques as part of the scope of practice. The course will also focus on the purpose and application of lymphatic drainage massage, stress point therapy, and myofascial release to improve equine health. You will learn how to implement massage routines, and different techniques, and maneuver the horse so it accepts treatment before and after the performance. By the end of this course, you will develop a program to improve the health and performance of the horse.

Field Placement:

Equine Massage Field Placement | EQN 7066

The directed field study course will allow students to further develop and refine their knowledge and skills in Equine Massage. Students will also demonstrate knowledge and skills of the program outcomes by completing three different tasks. These tasks are meant to ensure that students leave the program with a level of competency (knowledge, skills, and attributes) in Equine Massage Therapy. The main part of the field study is the completion of 50 massages on horses and a portfolio of work to show evidence of this (approximately 100 hours). Additionally, students will complete a written and oral practical exam. Throughout the field placement, the instructor will provide guidance with field study placements and learning.

  • Final Written Exam (achieve above 65%)
  • Completion of Field Study portfolio (50 massages)
  • Practical Exam (Completed no later than 6 months after the last day of class)

Students have six months to complete the field study requirements after the last day of classes.

Supply List:

  • Suitable attire for the weather  
  • Leather work gloves 
  • Appropriate barn footwear for handling horses

Technology Requirements:

It is required that you come to Olds College with the following technology:

  • A laptop capable of running Microsoft Office programs

Do you need more information?