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As an equine sports massage therapist, you'll most certainly be working outside year-round. You'll spend a lot of time in barns and at horse shows. You'll be around horses all the time. If you like horses, this may be one of the best jobs in the world. The work is tough. It's physically demanding, often exhausting, after a full day of work. Horses are big animals, with big muscles. Rubbing these muscles requires good technique, but it also requires some strength. But don't worry—if you're not strong now, you will be with practice.

The only equipment you'll need is a sturdy stool to help you reach high spots on big horses, and your hands and arms. You'll spend an hour or more on each horse, working on problem areas and responding to their subtle reactions to your touch. The owner might be there with you, explaining how the horse feels when she rides it and how she hopes you can help through your massage.

Equine sports massage therapists are almost always self-employed. That means when they're through giving massages for the day, their job is not over. They have to spend time running their businesses—taking care of billing, making phone calls, doing paperwork. They distribute their business cards to local tackle shops and feed stores and go to jumping competitions and other equine events to do demonstrations and to pick up new clients. The equine sports massage therapist spends just as much time finding work as she does doing work, at least in the beginning.

As business picks up, the equine sports massage therapist might find that more and more of her work comes from referrals. Horse owners that know she does a good job might recommend her to other horse owners, and so on down the line. Eventually she might get so busy that she can pick and choose which horses she will and will not work on; she can specialize, say, in rodeo horses or jumpers. At this point, she'll know she's succeeded. She's making a living working with horses!

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