Physiotherapy for your horse
Horses are natures athletes and they deserve to be treated as such. Horses of all abilities will benefit from our services to keep them pain-free, supple and moving well. Horses, just as with humans and dogs, compensate for pain by adapting their posture and movement. This can often mean that these subtle changes allow pain to go unnoticed. Therefore it is good practice to book in for routine physiotherapy treatments even if your horse has no specific injury. Regular checks enable early detection of issues.
Common signs of discomfort in horses can include:
Schooling issues including disunited canter, unable to achieve the correct canter lead, rushing, poor transitions, struggling to work in an outline or lack of bend
Decline in performance
Behavioural issues such as rearing, bucking and napping
Change in temperament
Lack of gait symmetry and/or straightness.
Loss of muscle/uneven muscular development
Uneven shoe wear
Horse & Rider Assessments
Because we treat people as well, we are perfectly placed to treat both you and your horse. After all, you are a partnership. We assess you both on and off your horse using joint measurements, biomechanical assessment and screening tools.
Our aims are to optimise your riding position by improving posture, optimising your core stability, therefore, allowing your limbs to be in the best position possible.
Treatments can take place in your yard or at our clinic. Want to find out more, book in for a free chat with one of our physiotherapists or book your rider assessment here.
Frequently Asked Questions
I haven’t heard of physiotherapy for horses before. What is it?
Physiotherapy for horses is exactly the same as physiotherapy for humans and has exactly the same uses. We aim to:
Rehabilitate from injury, illness, surgery and disability
Restore movement, function and independence
Reduce secondary issues and future complications
Why would my horse need physiotherapy?
Let’s turn that question on its head - why would my horse not need physiotherapy? As humans we can vocalise when we get an achy shoulder, or an achy knee. We then make a choice as to what we do about it. We might decide to rest from our usual activities for a couple of weeks, take a paracetamol, use some heat, or we might go and see a physiotherapist. Horses can’t tell us when something is aching or sore, instead they subtly change their movement and behaviour over time, often in a way that we don’t see until it becomes very obvious, for example, lameness or moving away from the saddle. Often the naughty horse label is used, when in fact the horse is in pain. We can help you get to the bottom of behavioural issues, often in conjunction with your team of professionals including your vet, saddler, farrier and trainer.
My vet hasn’t suggested physiotherapy, does that mean my horse doesn’t need it?
No, it absolutely doesn’t. Vets are incredibly busy. They have minimal time during routine yard visits and often have a lot to talk about. We have a great relationship with the vet practices local to us and they are almost always, very happy for their clients to contact us to ask for physiotherapy.
Is it beneficial to have my horse’s back checked on a regular basis?
Yes absolutely. There are so many variables that can contribute to your horse, none more so than a saddle and you sitting on its back. We get back ache and we don’t have anyone sitting on our back, so it will really help for your horse to receive some regular treatment.
Can I just book for you to come and see my horse?
Yes. You can book directly with us either by calling 01823 426490 or emailing us at email@example.com. In most cases, we will then contact your vet to gain consent to see your horse. By law, we have to get consent from your vet if they have not made a direct referral, but we will sort all of this for you.
Is physiotherapy covered by my insurance?
Most insurance companies include cover for physiotherapy, but as with anything, it’s always best to confirm with your insurance company.
How are you qualified to treat both humans and animals?
We have all completed a three year fulltime BSc Hons degree in physiotherapy, this is our human qualification and is a protected title. We have all worked within the NHS and/or private practice for a number of years, and have a combined total of over 25 years experience. We have then completed an MSc in Veterinary Physiotherapy. This enables us to work with animals as well.
Why does having a human qualification make you a better animal physiotherapist?
Our human qualification was a full-time three-year course. This is where we learnt the art and science of physiotherapy. We learnt about illness and injury and how the different tissues within the body heal. We learnt how to feel, how to work as part of a team, and how to treat certain tissues for certain types of injury. We learnt about biomechanics, body systems and their interactions. These skills are transferable between people and animals, we are all made up of the same stuff. Physiotherapy is a profession, not just a parttime course or a set of skills you learn as an added extra over a few weekends. For more information please see here.
How can you help me as a rider?
We offer a range of services for riders including combined assessments, with you both on and off your horse. The position of you as a rider and how you are able to stabilise and move your limbs has a huge influence on the balance and harmony of the horse. Our aim is to:
Optimise you and your horse’s movement
Reduce unnecessary forces and pressure going through saddle and bridle
Increase efficiency and performance of you as a partnership
Increase competition scores
Reduce the risk of back pain and other musculoskeletal pain for your horse
Reduce any aches and pains you may have
Promote balance, stability and mobility to optimise your partnership with your horse
To gain optimal outcome between horse and rider, the partnership needs to be in true harmony. Any slight imbalance within your musculoskeletal system can have a detrimental effect to perhaps an already underlying issue in your horse. Ever wondered why your horse keeps getting sore in one area of their back? Correcting our postures and ensuring we have optimal core stability will promote improved movement and balance between horse and rider.
Do I have to come to the clinic for a rider assessment?
There are a variety of options for you to choose from. We can assess you and your horse in your yard, or you can come to the clinic.