Carol Lavell Introduces Sal Salvetti to Wellington

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Carol Lavel and Much Ado
Carol Lavel and Much Ado

[#24892 override="Sal Salvetti - Equine Massage Therapist" title="Sal Salvetti - Equine Massage Therapist"]

During his first year as an equine massage therapist, Sal became a regular at New England shows, working on Jane Hannigan’s horses. “Jane recognized what massage therapy could do at a horse show, so right from the start I was going to shows helping the horses,” Sal relates. “Then Carol Lavell changed everything.”

Sal first saw Carol riding Much Ado in the warm-up at a GMHA show in Vermont. He didn’t know he was watching a 1992 Olympic Team Bronze Medalist.  His first words to Carol were, “I would love to work on your horse.”  Carol agreed as she had previously worked with Mike Scott, Sal’s mentor. Impressed with the results, Carol insisted Sal come to Wellington, Florida.

Sal’s first visit to Wellington was a four-day trip over Thanksgiving in 2002. He returned in December, January, February and March of the 2002-03 season. “It’s the Mecca of sporthorses. I was star-struck to an extent by the riders, but mostly star-struck by the horses,” he laughs.     

Sal Salvetti working with a high performance dressage horse
Sal Salvetti working with a high performance dressage horse
Carol introduced Sal to elite professionals and encouraged him to use her name to contact other riders. “Because of my previous life in sales and financial services, making the cold call is not a big deal to me,” he explains. “And that’s essentially part of how I built my practice.” Sal researched names in ads, magazines, and directories, and called top riders. His proposal was simple: “I said, ‘Pick any horse in your barn and I’ll work on the horse for nothing. Then ride it. We’ll base anything we do in the future on what you feel as a result of that’.” The riders agreed to give him a shot. The test cases were the proof and the professionals began booking Sal regularly.  

Sal capped off his second year in practice by accompanying Carol and Much Ado to the 2003 Pan American Games in the Dominican Republic. He returned to Wellington for the 2003/2004 winter shows, spending his first full season in Florida.

Elisabeth Austin met Sal during the winter of 2003 and recounts how she went from skeptic to client in one session. “I had little experience with massage therapists and gave Sal quite the interrogation as he worked on my horse,” she says. “When he was done my usually very boisterous stallion just stood and rested his head in Sal’s chest. Since that first encounter Sal has worked on countless horses for my students and me with fantastic results. I truly believe he can improve any horse. He is always quiet and patient even with the most difficult or sensitive horses. When someone is as good at his job as Sal is, it is truly a magical thing to watch. Beyond being a gifted massage therapist he is also an incredibly gifted horseman.”

Sal acknowledges that his rise to the top was meteoric and points out, “If I couldn’t get results that were tangible, then I would not be where I am because while it’s the professional riders that brought my success, it’s also the professionals that can bring my demise. If I weren’t effective, I would have gotten nowhere.”

[#24895 override="Traveling with the U.S. Equestrian Team" title="Traveling with the U.S. Equestrian Team"]