The Secret Life of McKenna: Kinesio Tape… for horses?

A recent riding accident left junior blogger McKenna Oxenden pretty banged up, but one physical therapy strategy got her to thinking: Could Kinesio Tape have crossover appeal?

From McKenna:

During my recent excursion into physical therapy in hopes to cure my extreme shoulder pain, I have been shown an amazing new tool: Kinesio Tape. You may think you have not heard of it but I guarantee you’ve seen it! Think back to the 2012 Olympic Games… remember that crazy looking tape stuff all over the athletes? Well that, my friends, is Kinesio Tape.
Kinesio Tape at work during the Olympic Games. Link (Photo credit: Alexander Hassenstein)

What exactly is Kinesio Tape? It is a therapeutic stretchy tape that is supposed to mimic human skin. What does it do? There are multiple uses for Kinesio and the most common uses are for pain relief, stability and help with swelling. How does it work? Kinesio pulls the layers of the skin up, creating more room between the dermis and the muscle to allow room for relief and healing.

Now I know exactly what you’re thinking. This is HORSE Nation, NOT Tape Nation…but you see the cool thing about Kinesio is that it is beginning to be used on equines!!!


Kinesio is therapeutic. In order to help aid soreness and prevent it, we give our horses massages. But how long do those last? Maybe an hour. With Kinesio you are able to have the same lasting effects from anywhere between 24 to 48 hours or more!

The practice of equine Kinesio is fairly new. An education program was recently launched in August of 2012 with the first official course being offered in Austria; however, many people have been practicing it for much longer. Because of Kinesio’s wide range of capabilities it works especially well with horses. From tendon strains to soreness or even a weak muscle, the possibilities are endless.

So now you’re probably saying to yourself, “Tape on my horse?! No way.” But Kinesio’s special type of adhesion is actually ideal for use on horses. Dr. Kenzo Kase, the creator of Kinesology tape, worked with horses and jockeys in the 2010 Kentucky Derby and taped both participants. The new phenomenon is making its way to the United States, with formal seminars.

Coming from somebody who is actively using Kinesio, I think this is absolutely amazing. You may think there is a placebo effect, and to each his own, but I have found this tape to be insanely helpful in helping me get through a less painful day. If it can help me this much, why not my horse?! I think we are for sure looking at a huge phenomenon that is on its way.


So Horse Nation: What do you think of Kinesio Tape? Would you use it on your horse? Why or why not?

If you’re interested in learning more check out the Equine Kinesio Homepage.

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