One Woman’s Story: Langley Equine Studies Massage

One woman’s struggles to become legitimate: Langley Equine Studies Massage College in WA

Langley Equine Studies is a state-approved equine massage college that offers a full 300-hour on-campus, supervised one-on-one class in Eastern Washington. There is also an on-line and long distance study for out of State residents at


Mary Lou Langley is a legally blind woman in Washington State who prefers working over being disabled. She was raised with horses and continued on when she married and had children.

She built a business sewing girls’ rodeo costumes for 15 years, with macular degeneration. Later, she had to have cataract surgery, causing further loss of vision. Sewing was no longer feasible.

I met Mary Lou when she sought Microcurrent Therapy to help a senior barrel horse. In turn, this therapy helped her eyes and grew her interest in adjunct and alternative therapies.

In 2004, Mary Lou was awarded a grant from the Department of Services for the Blind to start a massage and therapy business for treating horses. After her company was established, a WA state law was passed requiring a human massage therapy license to offer services to animals. She went back to school and obtained her human massage license.

The law changed again, dropping the human degree element. The current rules dictate that to be a therapist in animal massage, you must attend a State-approved school with a minimum of 300-hour curriculum or, with a human license, add an additional 100 hours.

Mary Lou taught part-time at a human massage school for a couple of years and taught several clinics from Washington to New York State before she decided to open her own school.

Mary Lou asked her WSU SBA advocate and Board of Massage to help her with animal massage curriculum guidelines. The Board replied that this was the first time they had accredited a school, even though Northwest School of Massage for animals had approval status. The long process ended in 2014, starting from scratch, with Langley Equine Studies officially approved as a vocational college specializing in equine massage therapy.

Many people attend various therapy courses offered for animal application and think getting a completion certificate makes them legal when, in fact, it often does not. Certificates are provided to show completion of a particular training. Many are provided for attendance and need proof of ability or skill. As in the animal massage practice, the laws are a state-by-state situation. Other states cover the gambit of allowed, veterinarian referral, veterinarian only, veterinarian or direct supervision, and unknown as per the IAAMB at

For Washington schools and license fees: Animal Massage FAQ on