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FAQ's and Terms and Conditions

Selecting a Certification Programme, why Equissage Europe?
What exactly is Equine Sports Massage Therapy?
Equine Sports Massage Therapy is the therapeutic application of hands on massage techniques for the purpose of increasing circulation, relaxing muscle spasms, relieving tension, enhancing muscle tone, and increasing range of movement in high performance horses.
Who/what is Equissage?
Equissage was formed in 1989 for the purpose of offering massage therapy services to the equine athlete. Founded by two certified massage therapists, the company initially marketed its services to major East USA coast racetracks and show barns. In early 1990 the company gained national media attention and was featured in Sports Illustrated, (July16, 1990) and on ABC television’s National Health Show.
In 1990 Equissage produced its first full-length instructional video. This led to the invitation to appear at ‘Equitana’ in Essen, Germany in 1991 to participate in demonstrations.
The company went on to introduce the first American training programme in equine sports massage therapy. The programme has been a huge success training over 10000 therapists from around the world.
Equissage Europe teaches the same intensive 5-day course with pre course study period, as Equissage. Helen Woolley, the course director and chief instructor has worked as a Chartered Physiotherapist for 25 years before training with Mary Schreiber in 2004. Equissage Europe was created to increase the ability for would be students to undergo the Equissage programme within Europe and become Certified massage Therapists.
Is massage therapy recognised in Europe as being valuable to the horses well being?
Yes, increasingly so. Just as holistic approaches are becoming more popular with humans, so too have these procedures and methods become acceptable in the care and treatment of animals.
What kind of demand is there for equine massage therapy?
Every equestrian- owners, trainers and riders of racehorses or show horses- wants his or her horse to have the edge on the competition. Massage therapy can help provide this. Similarly, every owner of a pleasure horse wants the best for that animal. Because of the health promoting qualities of massage, as well as its curative properties, knowledgeable equestrians as an integral part of their horses’ total and continuous health care programme are incorporating this therapy.
Must an individual be licensed and insured as a Certified Massage Therapist to work in the UK?
All Equissage Europe Graduates must abide by the law of the country they work within. Within the UK this is governed by the 1966 Veterinary Health Act

The Veterinary Act

As a result of the Veterinary Act (1966) and the subsequent exemptions; it is ILLEGAL for any person, other than the owner of the animal, to treat an animal unless the permission of the animals Veterinary Surgeon is SOUGHT and OBTAINED.

The implications of the Veterinary Act (1966) are to safeguard the WELFARE of HORSES.

As a direct result the Equine Masseur must contact the Veterinary Surgeon used by the client and gain permission to treat the animal.             

There are many therapists of varying specialism working outside the parameters of the Veterinary Act (1966).

These individuals are BREAKING THE LAW. They are often not INSURED, or members of a professional body.

The Veterinary Surgeons Act, passed in parliament in 1948 to protect the welfare of sick and injured animals from treatment by unqualified persons.

The practice of veterinary surgeons in the UK is governed by the Veterinary Act (1966). Under that act (with certain exemptions noted below) no one may practice veterinary surgery unless they are registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

The exemptions to the general rules of The Veterinary Act (1966) are as follows:

1. A doctor or dentist may carry out any treatment, test or operation on an animal, provided he does so at the request of a registered Veterinary surgeon.

2. A doctor may also perform an operation on an animal for the purposes of removing an organ or tissue for use in treatment of a human being.

3. The treatment of an animal by Physiotherapy; if carried out under the direction of a registered Veterinary Surgeon who has examined the animal and prescribed such a treatment.

4. An owner of an animal (or his employees, or other members of the owner’s household) may administer minor medical treatment to his own animal.

5. An owner of an agricultural animal (or anyone engaged or employed in caring for agricultural animals) may carry out medical treatment or minor surgery (not involving entry into a body cavity) on such an animal provided that it is not done for reward.

6. A Veterinary Nurse whose name is entered on the list of Veterinary Nurses maintained by the college may carry out any medical treatment or minor surgery to a companion animal; provided that the companion animal is for the time being, under the care of a registered Veterinary Surgeon.

7. Lay persons may administer first aid in an emergency, for the purposes of saving a life or relieving pain and suffering.

By training and becoming certified with a recognised long standing programme you are protecting your professional standing.
— The Veterinary Surgeons (Exemptions) Order 2015 (which revokes the Veterinary Surgery (Exemptions) Order 1962) allows the treatment of an animal by physiotherapy if the following conditions are satisfied:
—(1) the first condition is that the person providing the treatment is aged 18 or over
—(2) the second condition is that the person is acting under the direction of a qualified person who—
—(a) has examined the animal, and
—(b) has prescribed the treatment of the animal by physiotherapy.
—19.20  The Order specifies that a qualified person “means a person who is registered in the Register of Veterinary Surgeons or the Supplementary Veterinary Register”.
—19.21  'Physiotherapy' is interpreted as including all kinds of manipulative therapy. It therefore includes osteopathy and chiropractic but would not, for example, include acupuncture or aromatherapy.
All Graduates must obtain relevant Professional Liability Insurance before practicing as an ESMT and maintain appropriate levels of CPD
Are all Equissage Europe Graduates listed on the website?

No. Many Graduates do not wish for their details to be published on the internet. If you have a query concerning a Graduate then please contact Equissage Europe to confirm their registration.

What subjects are covered in the curriculum?
The major emphasis in the ESMT programme is on the application of massage techniques and massage strokes. Students learn the basic physiology of muscles, the location of major muscles and muscle groups and skeletal anatomy, equine basic neurology, equine rehabilitation theory and practice and principles of tack assessment and gait analysis. Students will also learn to be aware of the specific conditions which may affect the horse if those muscle groups become strained, pulled, sore, tense, tired or not adequately nourished through blood and lymphatic circulation. Legal considerations and correct record keeping are also covered.
What qualifications or background are considered important for success as an ESMT?
The most important qualification for success as an ESMT is a love of animals, empathy for suffering animals, and a sincere desire to help alleviate that suffering. While it is helpful to have some background knowledge of massage it is certainly not mandatory. The Equissage Europe Certification Programme starts with the basics of massage therapy and thoroughly schools the student in every aspect of the discipline. As a graduate you will be confident that you know everything you need to administer equine massage in an effective, therapeutic and professional manner.
How long will it take to become certified by Equissage Europe as an ESMT? Where is the training conducted?
Equissage Europe’s certification programme consists of five days intensive classroom study and individualised practical application. Class sizes are limited to a maximum of 8. There is a pre course pack distributed on registration which students are expected to study for approxiamtely 50 hours prior to starting the 5 day course.
 Venues currently offered are:
Norfolk, Kimblewick Equestrian Centre,N.Tuddenham
N.Yorkshire,Catterick Garrison Saddle Club
Hampshire, Inadown Fram Livery, Newton Valence
Wiltshire, Tidworth Equestrian Centre
White Gate Stables Lowton, Cheshire
Ferne Animal Sanctuary Wambrook, Somerset
Bodiam International Arena East Sussex
 For details of accommodation please contact Equissage Europe
What kind of Income can I expect as an ESMT?
The amount you charge will depend on where you are working. On average a minimum of £40 -£70 is suggested for a session, lasting approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour. As a professional it is up to you to set your fees- often the initial assessment and massage will last longer as you will have many questions to answer, so you may wish to charge more for the first appointment and then a set lower fee for follow up massages.
What is the Cost of the programme?
Exclusive of your travel costs and accommodation, the cost of the Equissage Europe ESMT certification programme for 2019 is £950 for group classes and £1100 for private tuition inclusive of tax.  Reductions of 10% are available for military personnel and their spouses. For more information contact us.
The fee includes all books, materials and tuition. A £150 non refundable booking fee is required on enrolment, this includes The How To Manual of Sports Massage for the Equine Athlete and the pre course notes. 
Terms and Conditions: We often have a waiting list for courses therefore all group course cancellations received with less than 4 weeks notice to commencement date will be charged at £400 as it is too short notice to fill your cancelled booking. Cancellations with more than 4 weeks notice will be able to transfer to any group course with spaces available within 1 calender year. For full T&c's please see below.
As a graduate of Equissage Europe’s ESMT Certification Programme, may I use the name in marketing my practice?
No, Equissage is a copyrighted name and cannot be used in the name you select for your business; however, you may advise your client that you are a graduate of the Equissage Europe School and that you are a certified ESMT.
Code of Conduct?

Every member of the I.A.A.M.T (International Association of Animal Massage Therapists) and graduates of Equissage and its subsidiary schools, works in accordance within the associations’ strict ‘Code Of Conduct’, ensuring high levels of competence, skill and professionalism, serving the public with trust and confidence.

The following ‘Code of Conduct’ provides a framework for the Equine Massage Therapist to safely and effectively practice their work and treatment.

By working within this framework, members of the I.A.A.M.T seek to protect all parties involved in their work, with every member holding recognition, understanding, respect and duly abiding by the following agreements.

Every Member Of The I.A.A.M.T. agrees to:
1.            Obtain prior veterinary diagnosis and permission before the commencement of treatment under veterinary direction as appropriate to that countries legislation
2.            Treat all clients with care, consideration and professionalism
3.            Explain all treatment procedures and techniques in a clear and understandable manner
4.            Respect all confidential information and work in accordance with current data legislation
5.            Work within their own recognised level of competence and, where appropriate, refer clients to another appropriate practitioner(s)
6.            Never diagnose any medical condition, ailment or injury
7.            Never make any guarantees as to the outcome of any treatment
8.            Refer the horse back to its veterinary surgeon should they suspect any negative medical condition, ailment or injury
9.            Never undertake any other form of manipulative therapy other than sports and rehabilitation Massage Therapy and routine free and assisted stretches
10.          Never use any medical device during their treatment of the horse
11.          Never use any other mechanical device during their treatment of the horse
12.          Every massage therapist will adhere to, and, work under their 'Duty of Care' and hold relevant insurance in order to protect themselves, their clientele and members of the public

Instructor Helen Woolley
Helen Woolley was born in Cambridgeshire, UK in 1969. She graduated from the Queen Elizabeth School of Physiotherapy in 1990 and worked in the N.H.S. for many years, specialising in Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics. Helen went on to work for the army as a Chartered Physiotherapist before moving into Private Practice firstly in the UK then in Germany.
Helen’s interest in horses developed after working at an army polo stables in Germany and then at the Paderborn Equestrian Centre.
On a posting to the United States she was fortunate enough to train with Mary Schreiber, qualify as an Equine Sports Massage Therapist and become a member of the International Association of Animal Massage Therapists.
She has worked at yards in Kentucky, USA and Germany, assessing and treating many types of sports horse, including polo ponies, dressage horses, racehorses and three-day-event horses.
Helen also co-ordinated the Rheindahlen and Elmpt Special Needs Riding Group and is County Physiotherapist for Norfolk RDA.
Helen continues to practice as a Chartered Physiotherapist combining this with treating horses and teaching Equissage. She is also a qualified Chartered Physiotherapists in Hippotherapy and Therapeutic Riding qualification. (Hippotherapy)
Equissage Founder Mary Schreiber
Mary Schreiber is the founder of Equissage, Americas leading training organisation devoted to muscle rehabilitation and fulfilling the potential in the equine athlete. As a pioneer of equine sports massage therapy, she has appeared on ABC’s Health Show and in leading equine publications around the world. For her achievements she was recognised with a listing in the Who’s Who of Executives and Professionals.
Selecting a Certification Programme-why Equissage Europe?
When selecting an equine Sorts Certification Programme, make sure you check the credentials of anyone offering such a course. Some questions you should ask are:
How many articles have appeared about either the course you are considering or the course founder?
How many books or videos on equine massage the founder has authored?
How many veterinarians have chosen to enrol in that programme or school?
What are the average earnings of a graduate of the programme and how many graduates are there?
What support does their Governing body provide
Equissage Europe is the only recognised Equissage course outside the United States of America supported by Mary Schreiber. 
A number of International Graduates of the Equissage Programme have been selected as official massage therapists for their country’s Olympic equestrian teams.




The following expressions shall have the following meanings:


1.2 “Customer” means any party who enters into a contract for Services with the Tutor;

1.3 “Pupil” means the person to be tutored;

1.4 “Application Form” means a booking document, registration form, letter of engagement, quotation or other written instruction describing the Services and requesting a contract for those Services;

1.5 “Services” means the tutoring services as described in the Application Form and these Terms and Conditions;

1.6 “Fees” mean the payment for Services as outlined in these Terms and Conditions and the Application Form;

1.7 “Terms and Conditions” means the terms and conditions of supply of Services as set out in this document and any subsequent terms and conditions agreed in writing by the Tutor;

1.8 “Agreement” means the contract between the Tutor and the Customer for the provision of the Services incorporating these Terms and Conditions.


2.1 These Terms and Conditions shall apply to the Agreement for the supply of Services by the Tutor to the Customer and shall supersede any other documentation or communication between parties.

2.2 Any variation to these Terms and Conditions must be agreed in writing by the Tutor.

2.3 Nothing in these Terms and Conditions shall prejudice any condition or warranty, express or implied, or any legal remedy to which the Tutor may be entitled in relation to the Services, by virtue of any statute, law or regulation.


3.1 The Application/ Booking Form is attached to these Terms and Conditions.

3.2 The Application/ Booking Form must be accepted by the Customer in its entirety.

3.3 The Agreement between the Tutor and the Customer, incorporating these Terms and Conditions, shall only come into force when the Tutor confirms acceptance to the Customer.


4.1 The Services are as described in the Application/ Booking Form and in these Terms and Conditions.

4.2 Any variation to the Services must be agreed by the Tutor in writing.

4.3 The Tutor shall take all reasonable measures to keep course information correct
but may alter course details at any time. The Tutor shall notify the Customer in writing of any such changes.

4.4 The Services shall commence on the date the Application/ Booking form deposit payment is received.

4.5 The Services shall be carried out at the location described on the Application Form or other location as agreed by the Tutor.

4.6 Dates given for the delivery of Services are estimates only and not guaranteed. Time for delivery shall not be of the essence of the Agreement and the Tutor shall not be held liable for any loss, costs, damages, charges or expenses caused directly or indirectly by any delay in the delivery of the Services.

4.7 Lessons shall be conducted on an individual or shared basis as agreed with the Tutor and specified on the Application Form.


5.1 The price for Services is as specified in the Application/ Booking Form and is inclusive of VAT.

5.2 The terms for payment are as specified in the Application Form.

5.3 The minimum duration for a tutoring course group session is 4 to 5 days dependent on previous agreement

5.4 In the event that a lesson, at the Customer’s request, is conducted at a place other than the Tutor’s normal place of business the Customer is responsible for the expenses incurred by the Tutor when travelling to and from the lesson.

5.5 The Customer is responsible for the full costs of any books and materials provided or otherwise required by the Tutor for the purpose of providing the Services.

5.6 The Customer must settle all payments for Services on the last day of the tuition period minus the deposit /booking fee.

5.7 The Customer will pay interest on all late payments at a rate of 8% per annum above the base lending rate of Lloyds Bank plc.

5.8 The Tutor is also entitled to recover all reasonable expenses incurred in obtaining payment from the Customer where any payment due to the Customer is late.

5.9 The Customer is not entitled to withhold any monies due to the Tutor.

5.10 The Tutor is entitled to vary the price to take account of:

5.10.1 any additional Services requested by the Customer which were not included in the original Application Form;

5.10.2 any reasonable increase in rates, if applicable;

and any variation must be intimated to the Customer in writing by the Tutor.

5.11 The Tutor shall be responsible for the payment of National Insurance contributions, Income Tax, VAT or other liabilities arising out of remuneration for providing the Services.


6.1 The Customer agrees to cooperate fully with the Tutor with regard to the obligations set down in these Terms and Conditions.

6.2 The Customer is responsible for the prompt attendance of the Pupil at the lesson. If the Pupil is late the Tutor shall not extend the time of the lesson.

6.3 The Customer must ensure that regular practice of learned material should be undertaken by the Pupil between each lesson and any homework tasks set by the Tutor are completed in full.

6.4 The Customer agrees to pay the Fees as specified on the Application Form and in these Terms and Conditions.

6.5 The Customer must ensure that the Pupil behaves in a respectful and appropriate manner at all times. Disruptive or threatening behaviour by a Pupil will result in dismissal. In such cases no refunds shall be payable by the Tutor to the Customer.

6.6 The Customer must bring to the attention of the Tutor any dissatisfaction with the Services as soon as the Customer becomes aware of such issues.

6.7 If the Customer uses car parking facilities at the place of business of the Tutor or chosen venue of the Tutor the Customer is solely responsible for any damage or loss to the vehicle or its contents.

6.8 Persons other than the Pupil are not permitted to attend a lesson unless the prior consent of the Tutor has been obtained.

6.9 The Customer must remain on the premises at all times when the teaching venue is not at the Tutor’s normal place of business. The Tutor is not responsible for guarding a house or its contents at any time.


7.1 The Tutor shall supply the Services as specified in the Application Form and in these Terms and Conditions.

7.2 The Tutor shall perform the Services with reasonable skill and care and to a reasonable standard and in accordance with any recognised codes of practice and government guidelines.

7.3 The Tutor shall hold all professional qualifications required to provide the Services.

7.4 The Tutor does not guarantee exam success for the Pupil.

7.5 The Tutor must hold all necessary insurance policies required to provide the Services.


8.1 In the event that the Pupil is a minor the Tutor cannot be held responsible for chaperoning the Pupil. In such situations a responsible adult must remain at the teaching venue at all times.

8.2 The Tutor shall complete all necessary vetting and barring processes required for adults who work with children and young people and shall provide evidence of this to the Customer prior to the commencement of the Services.


9.1 Payments for course fees are non-refundable and non-transferable between courses unless by prior arrangement with the tutor.

9.2 A course date transfer is only considered in exceptional circumstances where the Customer contacts the Tutor within 4 week period of a booked Group Course session. Any such arrangement is made at the discretion of the Tutor.


10.1 Fees are non-refundable in the event of cancellation of a lesson or course of lessons on the part of the Customer. Customers are advised to hold insurance to cover such circumstances. A late cancellation fee of £400 will be claimed on the Customer cancelling a Course place within one calendar month of course commencement.

10.2 If the Tutor is unable to hold a booked lesson all attempts will be made to provide an alternative tutor of the same professional standard or to offer an alternative date that is suitable to the Customer.

10.3 In the event that the Tutor cancels a lesson a full refund of Fees shall be made to the Customer.


11.1 The Tutor shall comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 and any other applicable data protection legislation concerning the processing of the Customer’s or Pupil’s personal data.

11.2 Photos and/or videos may be taken during a lesson for publicity purposes or for recordings to be used for Pupil or Customer feedback. Any Customer or Pupil not consenting to this must inform the Tutor prior to the commencement of the Services.


12.1 The Tutor many terminate this Agreement with immediate effect if the Customer demonstrates any physical or verbal abuse towards the Tutor.

12.2 The Customer may terminate the Agreement if the Tutor fails to comply with any aspect of these Terms and Conditions.

12.3 The Tutor may terminate the Agreement if the Customer has failed to comply with the Equissage Europe Code of Conduct

12.4 Either party may, with immediate effect, terminate the Agreement by notice in writing to the other if:

12.4.1 the other party commits a material breach of these Terms and Conditions and, in the case of a breach capable of being remedied, fails to remedy it within a reasonable time of being given written notice from the other party to do so; or

12.4.2 the other party commits a material breach of these Terms and Conditions which cannot be remedied under any circumstances; or

12.4.3 the Tutor passes a resolution for winding up (other than for the purpose of solvent amalgamation or reconstruction), or a court of competent jurisdiction makes an order to that effect; or

12.4.4 the Tutor ceases to carry on its business or substantially the whole of its business; or

12.4.5 the other party is declared insolvent, or convenes a meeting of or makes or proposes to make any arrangement or composition with its creditors; or a liquidator, receiver, administrative receiver, manager, trustee or similar officer is appointed over any of its assets.

12.5 In the event of termination the Customer must make over to the Tutor any payment for Services incurred up to the date of termination.

12.6 Any rights to terminate the Agreement shall be without prejudice to any other accrued rights and liabilities of the parties arising in any way out of the Agreement as at the date of termination.


Both parties warrant their authority to enter into this Agreement and have obtained all necessary approvals to do so.


14.1 The Tutor shall not be liable under any circumstances to the Customer, Pupil or any third party for any indirect or consequential loss of profit, consequential or other economic loss suffered by the Customer, Pupil or other third party howsoever caused, as a result of any negligence, breach of contract, misrepresentation or otherwise.

14.2 Nothing in these Terms and Conditions shall exclude or limit the liability of the Tutor for death or personal injury, however the Tutor shall not be liable for any direct loss or damage suffered by the Customer, Pupil or third party howsoever caused, as a result of any negligence, breach of contract or otherwise in excess of the sum insured under the insurance policy held by the Tutor in the insurance year in which the claim is first notified.


The Customer shall indemnify the Tutor against all claims, costs and expenses which the Tutor may incur and which arise directly or indirectly from the Customer’s breach of any of its obligations under these Terms and Conditions.


Neither party shall be liable for any delay or failure to perform any of its obligations if the delay or failure results from events or circumstances outside its reasonable control, including but not limited to acts of God, strikes, lock outs, accidents, war, fire, breakdown of plant or machinery or shortage or unavailability of raw materials from a natural source of supply, and the party shall be entitled to a reasonable extension of its obligations.


The Customer shall not be entitled to assign its rights or obligations or delegate its duties under this Agreement without the prior written consent of the Tutor.


Nothing in these Terms and Conditions intend to or confer any rights on a third party.


If any term or provision of these Terms and Conditions is held invalid, illegal or unenforceable for any reason by any court of competent jurisdiction such provision shall be severed and the remainder of the provisions hereof shall continue in full force and effect as if these Terms and Conditions had been agreed with the invalid, illegal or unenforceable provision eliminated.


The failure by either party to enforce at any time or for any period any one or more of the Terms and Conditions herein shall not be a waiver of them or of the right at any time subsequently to enforce all Terms and Conditions.


Any notice to be given by either party to the other may be served by email, fax, personal service or by post to the address of the other party given in the Application Form or such other address as such party may from time to time have communicated to the other in writing, and if sent by email shall unless the contrary is proved be deemed to be received on the day it was sent, if sent by fax shall be deemed to be served on receipt of an error free transmission report, if given by letter shall be deemed to have been served at the time at which the letter was delivered personally or if sent by post shall be deemed to have been delivered in the ordinary course of post.


These Terms and Conditions supersede any previous agreements, arrangements, documents or other undertakings either written or oral.


These Terms and Conditions shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the law of England and the parties hereby submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.