Equine Physical Therapy – As With That of Humans but For Horses
Athletes have benefited from sports physical therapy; just so, equestrian sports horses have been better of from equine physical therapy.
The practice is only a new one, yet for the care of our horses, it is remains important to learn what equine physical therapy can do apart from its limitations. All the same, the basic approaches of equine physical therapy are already that helpful in warming up and stretching the horse prior to competition and the application of cold and heat if such injury ever occurs – very much like sports warm-ups and injury prevention. Equine physical therapy developed from people who believe that horses’ physiological make up is also susceptible to the same injuries or disease that the bodies of human athletes are also prone to having. In fact, most practitioners of equine physical therapy are previous sports trainers and therapist or dual- specialists.
The best equine physical therapists are those referred by veterinarians and those who are affiliates of the National Equine Therapists Association, an organization formed in 1987 aiming to improve the standards of equine physical therapy by advocating the establishment of a certification exam for equine therapists as just one of their major goals.
Other goals of equine therapists are parallel to those that the physical therapists seek to reach. They include pain reduction, restoring range of motion, restoring strength, and injury prevention. Equine physical therapy for horses employs a number of methods and techniques ranging from simple stretching exercises to use of sophisticated equipment. And as these therapeutic methods and techniques are useful in many ways, they are non-invasive in nature. However, once the horse’s condition becomes visibly severe, the on-going process must be reversed and rehabilitation ensues as a much more challenging task. This is how equine physical therapy could be that sophisticated.
And while the athletic trainer or sports therapist of the human sports-med works adjunct with the sports physicians/orthopedics, the role of the equine horse therapist is also to work cooperatively with the veterinarian in the setting up and carrying out of conditioning and rehabilitation programs for sports horses. He administers first aid to the injured, utilizes protective devices or injury preventive equipment, and applies therapeutic equine modalities to ease the discomfort of injury and facilitate exercise. Horse stretching and heat and cold therapy are just among his specialties – ice, heat, water, electricity, light, sound, exercise, and stretching – very much like human sports therapy. After all, equestrian and horse-race are also sports very well- loved by humans.