How does physiotherapy work for my horse?

Physiotherapy involves the detailed assessment and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. An array of treatments and rehabilitation techniques are used, aiming to restore injured tissues and joints back to full strength and function. Whether your horse is used for pony club, dressage, eventing, polo, western or racing each horse will be thoroughly assessed and treated accordingly.

A thorough history will initially be obtained from the owner. This is vital in order to gain a clear picture of where the issue may be, which underlying structures may be affected and whether the issue is worsening or improving. If a veterinary diagnosis has been made all physiotherapy assessment findings and treatment interventions will be liased with the treating veterinarian, working together in order to gain the best possible outcome.

A full gait assessment involves observing each horse’s movement and transitions in a straight line, on the lunge, possibly ridden, reversing and during an array of proprioceptive and neurological tests. A head to tail palpation is then undertaken involving soft tissue structures, followed by spinal and joint range of motion testing.

Treatment techniques may include soft tissue mobilisation, joint mobilisation, dry needling, stretching, reflex inhibition and neuromuscular electrical stimulation. A specific home exercise program will be given to each owner aimed at further enhancing your horse’s progress once your physiotherapy session has ended.

Indications for physiotherapy intervention may include:

  • Back, neck or pelvic pain
  • Specific muscle, tendon or ligament injuries
  • Joint problems (arthritis/degenerative joint disease)
  • Poor performance
  • Asymmetry due to muscle imbalance
  • Stiffness on one rein
  • Disuniting canter
  • Working hollow
  • Lameness (secondary compensations related to lameness)
  • Behavioural changes (bucking, rearing)
  • Post-surgical rehabilitation
  • Rider related issues
  • ‘Cold backed’ tendencies
  • Head tilting
  • Saddle-fit problems
  • Uneven shoe wear

If you would like to address any of these issues please call Fiona on 0406 188 297 or email her your questions

Find out more

Physiotherapy for Dogs
Physiotherapy for Riders
Find out more about Fiona