For an end of year dinner for the Certificate II in Horse Studies students we had two guest speakers to encourage the students about different career paths that they could undertake with horses. Michelle Goodrick was one of these, being a nurse that also practices equine massage therapy and went with the Paralympic team to assist both horses and riders with regards to their physical wellbeing. Michelle kindly answered some questions about her professions.
Have you always been interested in horses and when did you start out in horse and rider massage therpay? What is it exactly that you do?
I have loved horses since I can remember and have been riding since I was 7 years old. I became a nurse when I left school and also a relaxation massage therapist. After years of full time nursing I decided to add equine massage to my list of qualifications so I could maintain my horses and friends. I studied with an American lady by the name of Margie McKalister who was from South Carolina.
In 2007 I decided that there was a lot more to learn about massage so I went and studied full time at the Melbourne Institute of Massage therapy and graduated with the Diploma of Remedial Massage specialising in Sports. I am currently working part time as a nurse and part time as a remedial massage therapist. Plus I treat horses on a casual basis.
How much of your day/week is related to horses?
I probably spend at least 1.5hrs with my own horses everyday plus I treat horse riders for problems associated with their riding or work on a regular basis.
In this field is it possible for someone to be a full time professional, earning a livable income?
I believe in time you could perhaps make a steady income from massage but like all new businesses it takes time to build clientele so I am really lucky to have nursing.
What are the general steps taken to be able to provide such a service to clients?
A course such as a Diploma of Remedial Massage or equivalent and an Equine Massage Course. Lots of hands on experience in human and equine touch to get a feel for variables within muscles and structures. Time and patience and some money behind you to get started.
Any advice for those interested in pursuing this line of work?
If the health industry is of great interest to you and you have a passion for massage and helping people then definitely give it a go. You need to be physically fit and strong with good posture and core strength. All of these can be improved also once you are in the profession. Being at the right place at the right time!! Thats how I became involved with the Paralympic dressage time.
Is there anything else with horses you’d love to learn about or try?
I would love to learn more about yoga for riders and suppling/strengthening for horses.
Favourite horse memory?
I have so many that are so different from one another. There are fantastic competition memories but there are also great achievement memories from massage and treating riders and having such a wonderful positive response. Working at the Beijing Paralympic games; breeding and being involved with the birth of a new foal; breaking in and training my arab as a teenager with success and the list goes on and on!!!!
To advance my riding knowledge and skill in dressage and competing EA once my mare moves out of adult riding levels.
Best thing about your sport/profession?
Being happy to get up and go to work each day because it is my choice and I love what I do. And people and horses love what I do also!!
“When in doubt, ask a horse.”