Equine Physiotherapy is another way to improve your horses performance or to aid in their recovery after injury. Physiotherapists use a number of different techniques and therapies to manage injuries or conditions and will often use machines to treat an area.
When a horse is in pain, in the same way as we do, they will find a different way of moving which is less painful. They are prey animals and in the wild it is vital that they hide any injury which would make them an easy target - this is innate. Unfortunately, this also means that problems can go unnoticed by owners for some time, muscle and soft tissue changes will take place and if untreated these changes will become permanent and often affect performance.
Conditions which physiotherapy may help include:
- Neck, Back and Pelvic pain
- A 'cold back'
- Muscle asymmetry
- Bucking, rearing or napping
- Stiffness on one rein
- Head tilting
An equine physiotherapist will begin by assessing the horse. This includes observation and assessment of the horse's conformation, posture and muscle development when standing but also when moving. They will also then use palpation to feel for any spasms, tenderness or muscle pain and to assess the range of movement of the joints.
A treatment plan will be developed to help reduce pain, help tissues to heal or to promote muscle function and strength.
This plan might include ground schooling, stretches and gymnastic exercises to help develop the correct muscles. It also may include the use of electrotherapy treatments such as:
- Therapeutic Ultrasound
- Pulsed Magnetic Therapy
- Red Light Therapy
Look out for a future blog about these machines!
Some of these treatments may require the horse to be sedated to ensure they are completely relaxed.
Physiotherapists require a vet referral and always ensure they are fully qualified!
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