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Why Equine Physio?

Equine physio along with canine physio is probably the most known about in the animal field. Read below to find out why!

Common reasons for having physio?

  • To reduce the likelihood of injury/further injury

  • To manage long-term degenerative conditions eg. osteoarthritis

  • Neurological disorders

  • Improve performance

  • Post-surgical

  • postpartum

Image by Austin Neill

Injury Reduction

Like humans, horses can be accident-prone too! However, there are things that can be done to help reduce this! Limiting work on hard surfaces such as roads or tracks, particularly at higher speeds, can reduce concussive forces, reducing the risk of osteoarthritis! This area is heavily researched therefore you can have faith that I am using research-based practice!

E.g. reducing microfractures in bones by not over-stressing the bone.

Image by Lisa Lyne Blevins

Long-Term Management

Long-term management is important for horses as it will help slow down the progression of a condition giving them a better quality of life. As well as this helping with compensatory issues, such as sore muscles.

E.g. maintaining joint health for osteoarthritis (bone arthritis).

Image by Robina Weermeijer

Neurological Disorders

Physiotherapy is a great way at improving the functionality of nerves, by using stimulation techniques. This is just for disorders, physio can help any horse improve proprioception, the animal's awareness of its legs. Improving this means that your horse is less likely to fall over therefore less likely to get injured!

E.g. maintaining muscle mass of the shoulder blade after Sweeney (suprascapular nerve damage).

Image by Giorgio Trovato

Improve Performance

Horses are athletes as well as humans, therefore also get sore muscles and performance-related injuries. Physiotherapy can help manage this, by giving you tips and tricks to aid performance. Such as maintaining joint health to keep on top of those dressage scores or improving proprioception to improve joint performance. Exercises are one way of doing this, by improving muscle mass and ensuring all muscles are used effectively.

E.g. increasing hindlimb engagement to produce a better outline and increase dressage scores.

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Although surgery is not as commonly used in horses as in small animals, it is still used greatly in certain situations. For example, kissing spines (overriding spinous processes) and colic. Physiotherapy can be used to improve the healing of horses post-surgery. As techniques can be applied to control inflammation to ensure the area heals effectively.

E.g, increasing lateral spinal flexion after interspinous ligament desmotomy (ISLD) (kissing spines surgery) to keep spinal flexibility.

Image by Phinehas Adams


Giving birth is hard work, therefore it could be expected that the horses will be sore meaning they are harder to handle. Physiotherapy can also be used to improve the healing of horses postpartum. As techniques can be applied to control inflammation to ensure the area heals effectively. By speeding up the healing process, the animal is less likely to get an infection. Exercises can also be given to create a smoother transition to ridden work when appropriate.

E.g. managing any pain or swelling that may have arisen after giving birth.

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