In Memoriam - Robert Kip Altman, Equine Sports Therapist Pioneer - October 1949 - April 2016

Thursday, April 14, 2016
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Robert Kip Altman

Robert Altman

Robert Kip Altman passed away April 12th, after a 3 month struggle with pancreatic cancer. He was surrounded by his wife, Lisa, his children Molly and Eli, and their mom, Linda. He died as he lived, making his own decisions and handling life's struggles with grace and dignity. His impact in the massage world, the paddling world, and the motorcycle world will be felt throughout time.

Robert Altman was one of the pioneers of equine massage having apprenticed with Jack Meagher, the former sports massage therapist for the Boston Celtics, who in the early 80's was recruited by the US Eventing Coach Jack Le Goff to try his hands on equines. Meagher who had a flying phobia, quickly turned to his protege, Altman to take over the extensive travel assignments for the US Team. Robert was immediately entrenched in the sport of Combined Training and Combined Driving traveling internationally with US Team members, and also working with Great Britain, Canada, Bermuda and Puerto Rico.

He was a true believer in the Meagher method and under his intuitive and sensitive skills as an instructor, trained and influenced many of today's top massage therapists. Robert quickly became an integral part of the equestrian sport world, becoming a mainstay at major competitions nationally and though out the world.

His friendships ran deep and loyal, as was his love for his family. Altman moved to Washington State to be closer to his children Eli and Molly, and remained close with their Mom and his former wife Linda James. He was married to Lisa Rae Flanders.

In the last seven years of his life, he was a motorcycle safety instructor, applying his gift as a teacher, and his eye for movement, technique and form. In his spare time, he was a motorcyclist, a pilot, and an avid marathon and outrigger canoe paddler, competing across the US and Hawaii.

His impact on the equestrian world as one of the true pioneers in alternate therapy for the equine athlete laid the foundation for what would become a major movement in the sport.

What friends are saying (please send quotes

Larry Poulin - Multiple US National Pairs Driving Champion and US Team Driver

"Robert and I go back to the beginning of Combined Driving in he USA and attended many World Championships together. I have many fond memories of his work with massage on our horses made a difference in our performance. I will always remember his laughter and how much a true friend he was."

Kim Meier

"I knew Robert for thirty years, from fixing my horses to fixing my back, to being at my side from Rolex to Burghley and for six weeks after my accident. I enjoyed spending time with Molly and Eli from when they were pre-teens to adults and they reflected his calm and loving manner. We still kept in touch nearly a decade after I got hurt and I considered him a best friend that I could share anything with I will miss him forever."

Shirley McQuillan
One of the rare humans involved with the horses for all the right reasons. He will be so very missed.

Mary Lee (Razzi) Syberts

"Robert had an great eye for the gymnastic movements of the horse. He worked wonders on several horses in my business that had stumped some very good vets. He was a devout student of Jack Meaghers and in my opinion the true heir to the Jack Meagher Institute. He was in my barn every two weeks for years. And we were good friends personally as well as professionally. Robert left the New England area because of his total love for his children, Molly and Eli. They were moving to Washington state and he was sure to follow to be able to be near them. He was greatly missed. The world has lost a true treasure of a man."

Mike Scott

"The industry lost another great guy Tues eve to pancreatic cancer. Bob was a true believer of the Meagher Method until his last session. For that I admire him, just as he did Jack. We had many discussions about other modalities and treatments, many of which I've tried to learn over the years but both of us believed and still do that the Meagher Method is a solid, sound foundation and the technique I always fall back on.

He also led a full life being the very best he could be at everything he did. Be it massage, motorcycles or canoeing.

I had fun teaching with him, having him as a mentor early on and sharing some great laughs. Often at each others expense.

My sincere condolences Molly, Eli and Linda. Fly free my friend and I'll see you on the other side.

More about Robert

Certified by the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy in 1984, Robert worked with human athletes for three years before getting involved with horses. Having apprenticed with Jack Meagher, learning equine sportsmassage, he worked with equine athletes and was one of a select group of therapists in North America certified to practice and teach Jack Meagher Method Sportsmassage

Graduated Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy 1984

Certified in Jack Meagher Method Sportsmassage Certified by American Institute of Massage Therapy Sportsmassage

Licensed by Massachusetts and New Jersey Racing Commissions

Worked with United States Equestrian Team members at the following events:

1987 World Pairs Driving Championships Germany

1989 World Pairs Driving Championships Hungary

1989 Luhmuhlen 3-Day Event CCI Germany

1990 Punchestown CCI Ireland 1991 Blenheim CCI* -England

1991 Boekelo CCIN -Holland

1991 The Hague

1985-1991 Rolex Kentucky CCI**-USA

1989-1991 Fair Hill MD. CCI** USA

1991 Checkmate CCI* - Canada

1992 Olympics Barcelona - Team Canada

1993 World Pair Championships Gladstone

1996 supported USA Olympic Team - Atlanta

Additional national teams served:

Great Britain



Puerto Rico