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Equine Physiotherapy

J M Parker Physiotherapy provides physiotherapy assessment and treatment to all equines, from elite equine athletes to pleasure horses and ponies, all of which can benefit greatly from physiotherapy.

Horses have an amazing ability to compensate for their aches and pains. Behavioural problems, schooling issues and loss of performance can indicate that your horse is experiencing some discomfort and requires attention. 

Horses recovering from injury often need help returning to their normal workload, even after the original injury has healed with physiotherapy helping to enhance tissue recovery and reduce the risk of re-injury.

Physiotherapy is also beneficial for horses without a specific problem or injury to detect any conformational issues or muscle imbalances that could potentially cause future problems, ensuring optimal performance and prevention of injury. 

Equine Physiotherapy is commonly used to complement the veterinary and general management of the following:
• Back, neck and pelvic pain including saddle related back pain
• Joint problems including arthritis, pain, swelling and stiffness
• Compensatory problems due to lameness
• Soft tissue Injuries to tendon, ligament and muscle
• Poor/inconsistent performance
• Muscle asymmetry
• Nerve injuries
• Maintenance of optimal performance
• Wounds and scar tissue
• Rehabilitation including post-surgery
• Pre and Post event to maximise performance and prevent injury
• Rider related problems


What to expect from your Physiotherapist

Prior to assessing your horse a full, detailed history will be taken to obtain information regarding their current condition and previous medical history. Following this a static assessment observing conformation, muscle balance and general condition will be performed.

A dynamic (moving) assessment is then conducted which includes looking at the horse move in different directions on different surfaces, wherever possible. If required a ridden assessment may also be conducted. Gait (movement) assessment is essential as movement dysfunction is often the main way in which horses communicate discomfort, soreness and compensations

A full palpatory assessment follows the dynamic assessment to identify any areas of pain, muscle spasm, heat or swelling. The limbs may also be picked up to assess joint integrity as well as muscle and tendon flexibility, comparing left to right. This thorough assessment provides adequate information and enables the physiotherapist to compile a problem list, which will be discussed with you from which an individualised treatment plan will then be provided to rehabilitate your horse in the most effective manner. 

Physiotherapy treatment generally consists of a combination of ‘hands-on’ techniques, electrotherapy, and exercises aimed at stimulating the body’s own healing mechanisms in order to promote healing.

Specific physiotherapy treatments available include:
• Joint manipulation/mobilization
• Soft tissue techniques including massage & myofascial release
• Rehabilitation exercises including stretching , strengthening & proprioceptive exercises
• Electrotherapy (ultrasound, LASER, H-wave, muscle stimulation, pulsed electromagnetic energy)
• Gait re-education
• Liason with your vet, farrier, dentist or trainer

Note – Please ensure the person handling the horse is aware of the horse’s history and is competent to handle the horse, including trot up. In order to enable a full, thorough assessment please ensure the horse is presented clean and dry and have your tack available, should we need to look at it.