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Why Does My Horse Need Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy is often seen as a luxury rather than a necessity.

If you are in pain or discomfort you take a pain killer or see someone about it. Your horse cannot do this therefore having someone regularly assess your horse for discomfort can help prevent it turning into something more problematic.

The problem

Often pain and tension stem from an area of weakness. When there is weakness, ie muscle or movement dysfunction, other areas over compensate, resulting in hypertrophy, muscle spasm and pain.

Regular physiotherapy can help identify areas of weakness early on such as, dysfunction, changes in muscle tone and symmetry, and correct it which in turn will prevent it becoming a large vet bill and will improve longevity in your horses career.

Physiotherapy Process

First we look at your horse standing, called static assessment. Posture, conformation, muscle asymmetries, hoof angles, general demeanour, are all areas we assess.

Then we move onto the dynamic assessment. This gives us a view of how your horse moves; is he/she lame, dragging a toe, reduce flexion though a joint, lack of propulsion from the hind end, stepping through on a circle, coordinated etc?

Palpation is next and often pieces the puzzle together. We feel and assess muscle tone, texture, temperature, joint range of motion, restrictions and pain reactions.

As we gather all the information above, are brains are working to formulate a treatment plan.

Depending on the findings we combine multiple therapies to gain the optimal results. Combining massage, ultrasound, laser, PMFT, stretching and joint mobilisations, to name a few.

Exercise prescription is the most important part of the job. Advising and demonstrating appropriate exercises for the horses to be incorporated on a daily/ weekly basis is soo important. You see, the onsite direct treatment is often temporary relieve for their discomfort however it is the exercises YOU do at home that make the big difference.

Never a quick fix

If you don't address the cause of the problem and work on it over time then your are more likely to end up with reoccurring pain/ injury which results in more time off.

You might try a once-off yoga session to fix your sore back and gain temporary relief however it will likely return within the week. To truely help your back you need to strengthen the weak areas that are the source of the problem, and only then will you start to notice a reduction in the occurrence of the back pain.

Strengthening takes time. It’s takes roughly 4 to 6 weeks to develop neurological adaptations and around 8 weeks to see a noticeable growth in muscle. A knowledgeable physiotherapist will design a unique exercise plan to get optimal results for your horse.


Prevention is better than cure!

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