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Equine Rehabilitation Courses

Advanced Diploma In Equine Rehabilitation

Become an "Equine Rehabilitation Therapist"

Equine Rehabilitation and Performance Industry

The equine rehabilitation and performance industry is growing faster than ever before.  We know many of you feel you are getting left behind.  We often hear from equine massage therapists who are frustrated that they cannot provide a holistic treatment for their patients which includes a rehabilitation programme.  Even those therapists who studied exercise prescription as part of their original training come to us confused about the rehabilitation aspect.

  • How do I know when a horse is ready to be ridden again after spinal surgery?
  • What surface is best to use during rehabilitation of proximal suspensory desmitis? 
  • How do I know if a horse is resisting a particular exercise through pain or a lack of understanding or strength?

These are just some of the common questions we get from therapists like you who are seeking to provide the best for their patients and clients but who feel lost for answers.

Our Equine Diploma will:

  • Provide you with answers and the frameworks so that you can create and deliver targeted rehabilitation programmes for your equine patients
  • Award you with the additional title of Equine Rehabilitation and Exercise Therapist which will demonstrate that you are a specialist in rehabilitation for horses

Equine Rehabilitation Bitesize CPD

Equine Physiotherapy
Horse Exercise equine rehabilitation
Equine Rehabilitation

What is Exercise rehabilitation and why is it necessary?

Exercise Rehabilitation is a branch of equine physiotherapy where the horse is rehabilitated through movement, specific exercises, strength training and gait retraining. Following injury and/or surgery, horses are often rested in the stall or stable and then gradually brought back into work over a period of a few months. Traditionally, this progression would consist of hand grazing, followed by unridden work such as lunging and then gradually move towards ridden work. This is a sensible plan, however there are many variables within this loose framework and owners often feel lost as to what exactly they should be or shouldn’t be doing. For example, a basic plan might look something like this: week 1-2 walking, building up to 1 hour a day; week 3-4 introduce trotting, increase by 5 minutes a day; week 5 start canter work. A plan like this will probably get a horse from A to B but often its not enough to prevent reinjury. To give the horse the best chance of returning to previous performance levels, or even better, a more sophisticated rehabilitation programme is necessary. This is where an Equine Rehabilitation and Exercise Therapist comes in!

A rehabilitation plan should start with assessment of the horse as a whole. You cannot and should not focus solely on the injury as this is most likely to be a symptom of the real problem. When planning rehabilitation for a horse with sacroiliac injury for example, you may consider the repair of the ligaments involved, the joint and the supporting muscles. But you have to ask yourself, why is this horse injured in the first place? That sacroiliac joint is a mighty structure, it doesn’t just break! There must be some underlying reason as to why this problem occurred. If you focus solely on the injury, without addressing the cause, then reinjury is more likely. A specialist in equine rehabilitation will identify the postural, biomechanical and neuromuscular dysfunctions behind the injury and provide a rehabilitation plan which addresses the horse as a whole.

What is exercise therapy and why is it necessary?

Exercise therapy lies in the prevention of injury. Appropriate exercise initiates positive change; improved fitness, improved strength, improved skill and agility. Inappropriate exercise however, initiates tissue degradation, muscle imbalance and incorrect movement patterns. Working with owners and trainers/coaches, an exercise therapist can provide guidance on what is an appropriate level of exercise for an individual horse at any stage of its training and development. The therapist can identify where the horse has a weakness and where he is struggling to perform an exercise in good form and can help to correct neuromuscular pathways at the baseline level.

The fact that a horse can physically carry out a movement doesn’t mean he is doing it correctly. There are many horses who can clear a 1.20m oxer or complete an acceptable half pass, with poor biomechanics. If the horse is using incorrect movement patterns and has poor dynamic posture through the exercise, then injury is more likely to occur. As well as predisposing the horse to injury in real time, over months and years these changes in the horses natural biomechanics may cause chronic inflammation and repetitive strain injuries. The exercise therapist will help correct the often subtle sub-optimal biomechanics, which will improve performance and reduce injury.

For those who have completed equine massage courses, bodyworker courses or similar vocational courses in MSK therapy:

The goal of any therapist is to improve the comfort and performance of the horse. Although this can be achieved in the short term with hands on treatment, it is not sustainable without addressing the underlying course. With massage and mobilisation you can tackle what you find on the day and you can provide great relief, but unless the underlying cause is corrected then the body issues that you find will simply return. The underlying cause of the issues that you treat on a daily basis will usually be linked to a movement dysfunction. If you add rehabilitation and exercise therapy to your treatments then you can achieve long term improvements for your equine patients. You will also learn new skills so that you can expand your services and improve your income.

For those who have completed undergraduate or postgraduate study in veterinary physiotherapy, chiropractic or similar:

As part of your degree or masters programme, you are likely to have studied a unit on this subject. You will also have studied related areas such as exercise sport science and performance. We have experience in developing and teaching these higher education modules, so we know how challenging it is to cram all of this information into a 15 or sometimes a 30 credit module. On top of that, it is likely that this topic was spread between horses and small animals so the dedicated equine information may have been further diluted. The Diploma is equivalent to 60 credits dedicated to equine rehabilitation. We are experienced in delivering content that is relevant to graduates of university programmes as well as those with vocational certificates so the level of study will always be right for you and allow you to dive deeper into what you already know.