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Horses can exhibit musculoskeletal problems in a variety of different ways, from a subtle decrease in performance or stiffness on one rein; through to schooling difficulties or behavioural problems; and eventually breakdown of tissue causing lameness.

Physiotherapy aims to restore normal movement and aid recovery from injury. Treatment techniques include:

• Addressing muscle imbalance with exercise
• Joint mobilisations
• Electrical Muscle Stimulation and TENS
• Cold/Heat Therapy
• Re education of normal movement
• Ultrasound
• Stretches
• Laser Therapy
• Massage
• Soft tissue mobilisations – Ellis Technique®
• Kinesio taping®

Common Equine Injuries

A study in 2004 reported that of the 805 horses which were studied 32% had symptoms of back pain (Landman et al, 2004) demonstrating the high prevalence of this very painful but treatable condition. Neck, back or pelvic pain can have multiple effects on a horse, such as altered behaviour patterns, reluctance to be saddled, bucking, being ‘cold backed’, performance changes or issues, ‘one sidedness’, inability to improve or develop top line, and tenderness when grooming.

These problems can be treated effectively with physiotherapeutic techniques. Owners and riders can be taught how to avoid equine back pain and help maintain their horse’s health.

Equine back pain can present in different ways these include:

•Joint stiffness or lack of suppleness
•Unwillingness to go forward
•Inability to maintain a round outline
•Incorrect lead to canter
•Resents being tacked up
•Shortened stride length
•Loss of performance

Performance Issues

Horses are athletes. Competition horses put vast amounts of stresses and strains on their tendons, joints, muscles and ligaments. Physiotherapy can help to maintain your horse at the peak of his fitness by treating current and preventing future injuries.

Sussex VetPhysio Services provides carefully targeted fitness regimes combined with effective warm up and cool down programmes as well as current physiotherapeutic treatments techniques to enhance performance.

Common performance issues that benefit physiotherapy include:

• Post competition soreness
• Pre competition fitness issues
• Schooling issues


Physiotherapy supports the rehabilitation of the injured Equine. A gradual programme of exercise is developed with specialist knowledge of tissue healing rates and biomechanics which aids the restoration of movement and function of your horse.

Sussex VetPhysio Services works closely with your veterinary surgeon to ensure your equines rehabilitation pathway is effective and delivered to the highest care, ensuring your equine is brought back into work without complication.

Physiotherapy supports rehabilitation following:

• Kissing spine surgery
• Tendon injury
• Stifle surgery
• Remedial shoeing