Nebraska Latest State to Require Licenses to Practice Equine Massage

Lawmakers are trying to overturn the law that currently requires equine massage therapists to be licensed in the state of Nebraska.

Equine massage therapists can be found in many different states, and the practice is growing in popularity among horse owners. But if you want to have your horse massaged in Nebraska, you'll probably be out of luck. Nebraska's licensure requirements for massage therapists make practicing equine massage therapy impossible in the state - but Nebraska lawmakers are working to change that.

Under current Nebraska law, equine massage therapists must hold a veterinarian degree and be licensed to practice massage. Alternatively, they can complete 1,000 hours of classes in order to be licensed as a human massage therapist. Then, they must complete another 150 hours of classes to earn their animal massage license.

The requirements are impractical for many would-be animal massage therapists who aren't already veterinarians. Completing 1,000 hours of school is costly, and there are no Nebraska schools currently offering animal massage therapy courses, so additional travel - and expense - would be involved.

horse shiatsu massage

Once licensed, the income isn't necessarily great. Massage therapists would be self-employed, so they would face high taxes and the need to cover their own health insurance, retirement, and other benefits typically provided by employers. Business may be slow to start with, and then there's the expense of vehicle upkeep, the wear and tear on your body, and the general challenges of being self-employed and needing to build up your clientele.

But practicing equine massage without a license in the state runs a high risk, too. If caught, massage therapists may face significant fines and even hefty jail time. 

The licensure issue goes up for debate this week in the Nebraska Legislature. Other states - 13, to be exact - don't require licenses for equine massage. Removing the licensure requirement could create opportunities for massage therapists, potentially boosting the equine industry economy in the state.

Do you think that equine massage therapists should be licensed? Tell us in the comments below. 

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