LiveryList Focus On… The Advantage of Equine Physiotherapy Services

Posted on 5th February 2021

This article has been written by Sinead Anglin, a Cotswolds based Equine Physiotherapist who runs Anglin Equine Physio. Sinead completed her exams in November 2019 and is currently completing her dissertation for completion of diploma in Animal Physiotherapy. 

 Whilst studying as a Animal Physiotherapist, Sinead worked as a travelling groom to world class riders such as Zara Tindall, Lauren Hough and Ben Maher. She has experience of accompanying and caring for some of the worlds top class horses  around the world to events such as the Longines Global Champions Tour, Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida, Bramham and Burghley. 

 Here, Sinead explains the benefits of physiotherapy care within your horses care routine:

What does an Equine Physiotherapist do? 

Physiotherapy assists a horse’s body in natural healing but does not speed up the process. This involves working with multiple systems within the body, including, skeletal, muscular, lymphatic and circulatory systems. Routine physiotherapy treatments can be beneficial to assist the body in this natural process. Working alongside your veterinary team, this can be achieved using various techniques. Equine physiotherapists are specifically trained in equine physiology to give specific guidance and treatment for these animals.

Working as part of your horses’ care team is paramount to overall success, wellbeing and happiness of the horse. Communication between veterinarians and therapists is essential. Occasionally the physiotherapist may refer back to your veterinarian, but this is always on the best interest of the horse.

As a physiotherapist, there are many tools that can be used to help your horse. Massage is greatly beneficial to any animal. The depth of muscle, especially in horses, is too great to treat by hand alone. Specialist physiotherapy equipment is used, not only to treat muscle conditions, but bones, skin, tendon and ligaments.

The therapies, I provide can keep regular maintenance checks, or be carried out as part of bespoke injury therapy:

  • Massage and stretching
  • Therapeutic ultrasound
  • Magneto pulse
  • Laser – Class 3B
  • Personalised rehabilitation and exercise programs
  • Phototherapy

When can your horse benefit from a physiotherapy session?

Physiotherapy can be beneficial when your horse:

  • has undergone surgery to help a damaged limb or joint
  • Reduced mobility
  • Is stiffer on one side when riding
  • Suffers from muscle spasms or tightness
  • Needs to strengthen certain muscle groups
  • Wounds, lesions and mud fever
  • Pre and Post competition

As well as the physiotherapy session itself, your physiotherapist will be able to advise you in exercises you can undertake between sessions on your own, such as stretching and massaging, they can also help advise you on ridden or groundwork exercises to help assist the physiotherapy treatments, and how day to day equipment, such as well fitted tack and correct use of equipment, can affect a horse’s recovery or day to day wellbeing.

How does Physiotherapy work on the horse?

 Depending on the cause, injury or severity will depend on the treatment plan recommended by your vet and/ or physiotherapist. However, depending on what treatment methods are used, physiotherapy can:

  • Treats soft tissue, tendon and ligament injuries
  • Relieves sore, tight and painful muscles
  • Relaxes contracted tendons
  • Helps break down scar tissue
  • Increases elasticity of muscles before stretching

What to look out for when grooming and handling…

Grooming or handling the horse can tell you a lot about the overall health of the soft tissue or any unusual signs that problems may be afoot. That is why it is important to check horses daily, and to handle them regularly. If you handle and groom the horses regularly, you should easily be able to spot any changes in their body, condition or behaviour.

  • Does your horse dip their back when brushing it?
  • Are they stiff when lifting their legs to pick out their feet?
  • Are they visibly less defined on one side?
  • Do they hold their tail to one side?
  • Do they shiver when brushing certain areas?
  • Has there been a change in their temperament?

Particularly if a horse is showing signs unusual to their behaviour, or are showing signs after what may be deemed a minor injury whilst ridden or in the paddock then it may be worth seeking advice as to whether a physiotherapist may be able to help.

Most physiotherapist treatments are covered by insurance companies as long as they are referred by a vet. It is advisable to speak with your vet and check with your insurance provider before any treatments take place, and to ensure that the physiotherapist is suitably qualified and insured before treating your horse.

For more information or enquires contact Anglin Equine Physio:

Telephone: 07842633284


Instagram: @anglin_equinephysio

Facebook: @anglinequinephysio 


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