Hands Off the Pony

Can’t a nice lady just massage a horse for a few bucks without having to sue someone for the right to do it? If you’re Mercedes Clemens, the answer, apparently, is “no.” Clemens, a certified massage therapist for humans, is claiming that the state of Maryland is “keeping her from her first love [of] massaging horses,” telling her that state law only allows veterinarians to perform such services. Now she’s suing two state agencies, claiming that “regulators are unfairly barring registered massage therapists who want to practice on animals.”

A self-described “horse fanatic,” Clemens, 40, received “private” animal massage certification recently and started practicing on a roster of about 30 horse clients, but after the state’s actions, she now only works on her own horse, Chanty. As Clemens awaits a court hearing next month, she “continues to dote on Chanty, feeding her carrots, kissing her nose and of course, massaging her knots.” As she keeps explaining, “This isn’t just a career for me, it’s my passion. If I was independently wealthy and I didn’t need an income, I would do this for nothing. That’s how much I love it.”

We have no doubt that the lady does, indeed, love horses—and we sympathize with her attempt to exploit her passion for income—but we can’t help pointing out that just because you’d be willing to do something you love for free, doesn’t mean that you should be allowed to do it for pay. Just something to keep in mind the next time, say, your local veterinarian offers to throw you on the table, grease you up, and start working a little swedish-deep-tissue combo action on your bod because of his love of touching humans.  [AP]

  • Another MT

    If my vet was also a trained & licensed massage therapist, I wouldn’t have a problem getting a massage from him/her! Clemens is trained in both horse & human massage. What is the problem?!?