Odd Jobs: Horse masseuse - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Odd Jobs: Horse masseuse

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CHARLOTTE, Vt. - You could call her a horse whisperer. Her clients call her Creepy.

"It's not every day you meet a horse masseuse. But when you need one, Creepy is your go to person," said Sage Tallman, a horse owner.

Krietta "Creepy" Phillips knows when horses are in pain.

"I'm looking for signs from him. He'll flinch. He'll flick his head," said Phillips, who owns Vermont Equine Bodyworks.

Today, she's at Northfork Horse Farm in Charlotte working with Sage Tallman's 10-year-old thoroughbred, Percheron. Bo is a competitive jumper with a back injury.

"Bo's been really receptive... he basically just got his first massage and had a really good response to it. Now he's just on a maintenance program," said Tallman.

"When I first get a referral on a horse, there are three areas I check: atlas pull, neck and shoulders and back area," said Phillips.

After 30 years in a kindergarten classroom, Phillips hung up her teaching hat to take on a new project. She got certified in equine sports massage and electro-acupressure. Five years later, her business Vermont Equine Bodyworks is booming.

"I've done up to 10 a day and after that there's not much left of me," said Phillips.

It’s hands-on work. A typical session takes an hour. To get horses performing at their peak, she evaluates massages and stretches each one.

Reporter Jennifer Reading: Will any horse let you do this?

Phillips: Yeah, yeah.

Of her equine clients, 90 percent require a more intense form of therapy called electro-stimulation. Creepy places electrodes on specific accu-points. Then the electric current goes to work, deeply penetrating the affected muscles.

"Some horses don't mind it at all. Some it takes a few minutes to just figure out what's going on with their muscles here," said Phillips.

Bo's were bouncing within seconds. Then there was a deep relaxation.

"His eyes will start to droop. Their head starts going down, they'll start yawning," said Phillips.

Reading: Do some people think this is hocus-pocus and it doesn't work?

Phillips: I think there are. I just say, let me work on your horse and then go see how it performs.

Despite their size, Phillips says horses' muscles are much more sensitive than humans' and require less electric current. We put her therapy to the test.

"We're going to set you up at the same setting. That was Bo's setting," said Phillips.

My muscles barely moved. Then Phillips cranked it. With the human setting, the shock and twitch were intense.

Phillips grew up racing and understands the demands of competition.

"It's the most incredible feeling I get throughout my body. It's almost like I've gone an done a race, it's a whole endorphin high for me," said Phillips.

Knowing her way around the horse show world helps business too.

"One horse has sort of led me to another. There are a lot of people who don't do a good job so when you're good, the word gets out there," said Phillips.

It's an odd job that rakes in a solid paycheck. Phillips says equine bodywork specialists can earn upward of $50,000 a year.

"The vets will tell you it's something that's more new than chiropractic is. It's sort of coming into itself," said Phillips.

It's an emerging equine industry gaining acceptance in Vermont.

If you know someone who has an odd job and may want to be featured on our series, email us at news@wcax.com.

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